If you were to walk into The Pfunky Griddle, you will quickly notice that it’s not your typical breakfast eatery. Here, you’re handed a series of items including a pitcher of all you can eat batter, your choice of toppings and a spatula to make your own breakfast. The restaurant also offers alternatives for those with milk or egg allergies, a gluten free menu and a special griddle for those with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes sufferers’ bodies to have a negative reaction when they consume gluten.
This new breakfast eatery is owned by former Middle Tennessee State University student, Matt Pfuntner.
“Does it look okay in here? Don’t laugh,” said Pfuntner with a look of uncertainty, inspecting the dining room décor of the new Murfreesboro location, which opened in August.
The family owned restaurant originated in Nashville where it first opened its doors for business on Bransford Avenue in 2007, before it was handed down to Pfuntner by his mother, Penelope.
“I was in the middle of a management class at MTSU and I had a missed call on my phone from my mom,” he said with a look of astonishment. “I called her back she was like, ‘Hey, Matt I don’t want to mess with this restaurant anymore. I just want to focus on catering.”
Ms. Pfuntner gave her son the restaurant with only one stipulation: that he would have to pay $10,000 over the course of three months, which he ended up paying through money he made working in the restaurant.
“We had our busiest day ever in Nashville last Sunday,” he beamed. “We were on a two-hour wait, and we also just recently had 80 girls from a sorority rent out the Nashville location.”
Pfuntner spent his time juggling school and working under his mother before he was handed the reins of the business, and when he got his hands on it, he already had plans for new whereabouts and renovations.
“When it was hers, it was untapped potential,” he said, and pointed to the carefully carved grey table in front of him, “I made these tables,that tile was cut by me, I shaved the legs down and made them in my garage and stained it. It took about two and a half weeks to make 24 tables.”
Pfuntner said that his vision was to have a more industrialized restaurant. He described the Nashville location as one that planted the seed for opportunity to expand overtime. The Nashville location was his place to see what needed to be changed.
“This place is built to handle more than Nashville, and this is the way I want the company to go,” he smiled about the Murfreesboro location. “It’s a more well thought out place here, but Nashville’s where we started, and the Nashville location allowed us to do this.”
The idea for The Pfunky Griddle stemmed out of an idea that his grandmother had while working for a woman in Florida.
“My grandmother worked for a lady named Patti who had a place called the Sugar Mill,” he started. “My grandma and my mom worked together to come up with a plan because they wanted to bring the concept to the Nashville community. Patti didn’t have the set-up to franchise and my grandma was supposed to handle the restaurant, but my mom was more business savvy and eventually bought her out, before it came to me.”
When asked where he sees himself in the next ten years he jokes, “Hopefully retired. Actually, I hope to have a franchise.”
Once Pfuntner has things in order in Murfreesboro, he plans to open up a third location in Hendersonville.
“This place is set-up for success,” he said with a smile. “It’s a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that has replay value.”
The Pfunky Griddle is open Monday through Tursday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and and weekends from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and located at 525 N Thompson Ln, Murfreesboro, TN 37129 and 2800 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204.
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