Denison residents will have a new home for hamburgers and frozen treats later this year. Representatives with Culver’s restaurant said they expect to be serving the chain’s signature “butterburgers” and frozen custard in Denison by early December.
The chain held a groundbreaking ceremony for the latest location Friday with members of the Denison business community, city leaders and community members. The Denison location will represent the 13th location in Texas for the Wisconsin-based chain, which currently has more than 700 locations across the U.S.
“We are really proud of this day,” Covenant Development President Tom Johnson said. “As you all know, Gateway Village has been a legacy development for my family for some years and we’ve been very selective in who we’ve picked to come here.”
Culver’s opened the doors to its first location in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984 and has since expanded across 25 states. Among its menu items are butterburgers, featuring buttered buns that are grilled alongside the burgers, frozen custard and cheese curds, among other dishes.
The company first announced plans to build a location in Denison’s Gateway Village in February when it submitted plans to the Denison Planning & Zoning Commission for approval. Outside of Denison, the chain has a location in McKinney and most recently opened a restaurant in Round Rock.
“We’ve been in Texas many years, nearly 20 years, but the growth just hasn’t been what it has been in other places,” Culver’s chairman and co-founder Craig Culver said.
The Denison location will be managed by Brad Bishop, nephew of Culver, who recently left a 20-year career in engineering to join the family business. Bishop grew up in Graham, Texas but moved up to Wisconsin years ago for work. His parents helped bring Culver’s to McKinney years ago in one of the state’s first locations.
“It is something I always wanted to do and I always wanted to be my own businessman,” Bishop said. “So this is what I decided to do.”
Culver’s in Denison will have a staff of about 60 when it opens. The store is currently accepting applications for manager positions and expects to conduct a seven-week training course at the Round Rock location leading up to the opening. Other positions are expected to begin accepting applications in the next month.
Once construction starts, it typically takes about four months before a location is ready to open, however, Bishop said he is optimistic that the franchise can open its doors before year’s end. Crew has already begun early site work by Friday’s ceremony.
Bishop said there have been talks of opening other restaurants in the region, including the possibility of Oklahoma’s first location, but it is early on in the process.
Johnson said that Culver’s was a good match for what Gateway Village has planned for the development. The location is right across the highway from Texoma Medical Center and other medical employers with an estimated workforce of nearly 5,000 with no other nearby dining options.
“They are literally sitting on the doorway to Gateway Village, so they are setting an image that is important to Gateway when you come into it,” he said.
Culver’s represents one of two restaurants currently open for business in Gateway Village alongside a Starbucks coffee house. Johnson said having Culver’s break ground should help generate interest in the other sites open for development in Gateway Village.
Another announcement on future development could come within the next 30 days, he added.