Matt Meininger, of Nampa, has owned the Nampa Gusher Sinclair gas station on the corner of 3rd Avenue South and eastbound Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard for 31 years.
He had been renting space on the property to a coffee hut owner. He recently bought the coffee business from the tenant and turned the hut into Grub Hut, which sells food prepared with vegan, gluten-free, low-carb and/or paleo recipes.
It’s a fast-food foodie food hut. Cheryl Richard, a restaurant consultant for the Grub Hut, says the idea is to give people with special diets the kind of attention they want in Canyon County.
“We are the only restaurant I know of that uses no dairy, sugar, flour in our food,” she says. “We are feeding people who have not eaten in a restaurant for months or years. They are thrilled to have this choice and, so far, everyone is loving the food.”
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Richard answered questions about the business.
Q: What did you do previously?
A: I published The Urban Liaison Magazine for seven years, and Matt was one of my advertisers. I sold the magazine, and we happened to meet up and come up with this idea. We were in talks for several months before we moved forward with the opening.
Q: What led you to open this business?
A: I was looking for a new creative venture, and Matt was looking for a brilliant food idea and someone to run with it. I have catered for over 25 years and have the experience to do something on this smaller level.
Q: What makes your business unique and sets it apart from your competition?
A: No one in Nampa is catering to the special diets so many Americans have. So far, our No. 1 customers are people who eat gluten-free. All of our food is homemade from scratch. Organic and as chemical-free as possible.
Q: What challenges have you faced?
A: Getting the word out.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in the next three to five years?
A: We will be expanding inside the Gusher store and offering take-and-bake gluten-free, paleo and vegan meals to go. We will be offering gluten-free baked goods, such as cinnamon rolls and cookies. We are going to do specialty salads in glass mason jars and offer lunch items inside the store, so people can pick up their food more hours in the day. I would also like to see the Grub Hut grow into Boise and Meridian.
Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey. This story appears in the Jan. 20-Feb. 16, 2016, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine.
About Grub Hut
Legal name of business: Nampa Gusher Grub Hut
Address: 324 3rd Ave. S., Nampa
Opened: Oct. 22
Type of business: LLC
Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday
Products: Gluten free, paleo, vegan, low-carb food. Organic teas (Divine Lotus, made in Boise), smoothies, breakfast, lunch and snack items.
Prices: $6 average price for an item
Startup costs: $7,000
How did you finance your business? Cash
Projected first-year revenue: $90,000
Expect to turn a profit: In the first year