CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A popular area restaurant is opening a new location in Chesapeake. The fourth The Dirty Buffalo will be the company’s first franchise location.
Franchise owner Kevin Wagner was a customer at the original location on Colley Avenue in Norfolk when he bought the franchise just months before the pandemic.
“I [was] nervous, absolutely, but I’m excited too,” he told WAVY.
Wagner has every reason to be both.
“People say I’m crazy to leave a corporate 30 company during a pandemic,” Wagner said.
But his Dirty Buffalo franchise was already charging ahead and the three existing locations — Colley Avenue in Norfolk, East Little Creek Road in Norfolk, and South Independence Boulevard in Virginia Beach — have weathered well.
Founding partner Ryan Lynn told us it’s been a “challenge, after a challenge, after a challenge, and that’s the restaurant industry … that’s what Kevin signed up for.”
It was a goal of Lynn’s before he co-founded the company nine years ago to create a brand he could franchise.
“We want to grow in the Hampton Roads area with the goal of being a national franchise,” Lynn said.
That’s a tall order during this challenging time when Wagner has run into roadblocks due to COVID-19.
“You order your material, they say it’s going to be in then its three weeks longer,” he said.
Along with construction delays are hiring headaches, there are issues with finding people to work.
“It’s tough, some of our positions, we can’t pay more than the government is paying,” said Wagner.
Lynn explained there is also an issue with getting chicken wings because of staffing issues and pop-up restaurants selling wings.
“When we started this company in 2012, a case of chicken wings was $69 a case. Right now, they’re around, they’re hovering between $130 to $140 a case,” Lynn said.
Despite the challenges, Lynn said he’s confident that things will right themselves over the course of time.
Hopefully, they say that time will be sooner rather than later.
The Chesapeake location will open for dinner on Wednesday, May 19 at Grassfield Parkway and Dominion Boulevard.