The new neon sign in front of the old yellow house next door might have passers by wondering if the newly famous burger bar will be opening a hot dog haven to complement the current restaurant. Not the case. Terry's Turf Club
owner Terry Carter says the house will be down within the next week and an expansion of the restaurant will be complete by next spring.
Plans to further develop the space had been in the works before they were featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives
" which Carter says increased revenue by around twenty to thirty percent; they serve around 400 guests a night. They are currently meeting with the architects and moving forward with zoning and permits. "We'll have the same motif. It's a honky tonk but it works with the mix of being casually elegant. This is a joint," says Carter.
The new space will double the restaurant's size to become roughly 1,000 square feet including 22 more feet of bar space and seating for 40 more guests. The kitchen will be expanded with new grills and fryers. A large outdoor terrace will be also be added with garage-style doors.
Terry will be bringing in 100 more signs from his neon collection, including more of the bottle-shaped Bevador coolers that stopped production in 1955 but "work wonderfully," shoe-shaped carnival ride cars and Crack the Whip seats. "Grown ups love it more than the kids. You'll be able to sit in them and have dinner in a little shoe," says Carter.
He claims he only works fifteen hours a day, seven days a week so that he can travel the world and fish in Belize and Africa four times a year. His travels inspire new creative menu items that appear every two to three months. New menu items will also be added with the expansion, including numerous items that the restaurant will be the first in the United States to use including Baobab tree fruit from Africa (a thickening agent that helps natives make a living by using the fruit rather than letting it fall and rot). He's also bringing in moose milk cheese from Sweden that sells for $500 a pound and French snail caviar that retails for $225 a tin. But these delicacies won't cost the customer. Terry understands he has people who want foie gras and people who want American cheese on an all-American style burger.
"Innovation is what we do, in a nutshell. We don't skimp. If it costs I don't care. I want the best product out there and I can't please everyone out there. Most of everything I have doesn't come out of a can- all herbs are fresh and top of the line. The chili is made with filet mignon and it's one of my best sellers," explains Carter.
"My business has grown to the point where it's almost unsellable because it's too good, which is a good problem to have," says Carter. "I'd be a fool to sell it."
Terry's Turf Club will stay open during renovations although it will be untidy for a few days.
Terry's is located at 4618 Eastern Ave and is open Monday through Thursday, 4:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Kitchen closes at 12:30; Saturday, 12:00 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Kitchen closes at 1:30. Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-1-:00 p.m. Kitchen closes at 9:00 p.m.
Writer: Rene BrunellePhotography by Scott Beseler
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