Tampa Bay In-N-Out fans: Get ready to buy bigger sweatpants.
Seminole Heights’ Nebraska Mini-Mart is paying homage to a fast-food burger chain that simply won’t come to Florida by opening the “NMM-N-Out Burger” pop-up at 4815 N. Nebraska Ave. starting Friday, April 24 at 5 p.m.
“There aren't any In-N-Out Burgers in Florida, and that's just a sin,” Ferrell Alvarez, told Creative Loafing Tampa.
The “NMM-N-Out Burger” pop-ups will happen on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. and will be available for pickup only. UberEats and GrubHub will deliver the goods as well.
Alvarez, 41, is chef and partner at Proper House Group, which owns Nebraska-Mini-Mart, Gallito Taquiera and Rooster & Till. The three concepts are currently operating as a new restaurant, “Rooster Redux,” during the coronavirus pandemic, but the new pop-up lets Alvarez hire back 10 more employees after having to lay off 41 when the fallout began.
"That means we started with 11 people on payroll, quickly jumped to 21 with Rooster Redux and will now be at 30 and possibly more if the demand is as great as what we've experienced," Alvarez said in an email to Creative Loafing Tampa. It also means that Nebraska Mini-Mart gets greased back up after having the lights off for the last month.
“We thought it would be pretty well received and we're toeing some lines in marketing but all in good fun,” Alvarez added.
The menu includes single and double beef burgers and a single Impossible burger option—all available with or without cheese and/or fries.
But what if people start ordering things “Animal Style,” during the pop-up?
Alvarez said that for now, “NMM-N-OUT Burger” is going to hold back on In-N-Out fan-favorites like “Animal Style” options, slushies and milkshakes.
“We want to do specials like that on different weeks to keep up engagement,” Alvarez told CL. He’s privy to a lot of the specials In-N-Out runs, but he knows he won’t be able to do all of them since there’s limited space at the restaurant.
“There are a lot of logistical complications. But nonetheless, we'll have the ability to add certain things to certain foods based off of what In-N-Out offers,” he added. “We’ll know more as we go week by week.”
And when asked about that week-to-week outlook—and if his restaurants can open if and when the pandemic clears—Alvarez is cautiously optimistic.
"We feel very positive that we will be able to open up our restaurants again—intelligently, concisely and methodically," he told CL. "I'm not sure how normal dining will become after this, based on what we're experiencing now," Alvarez said.
He envisions the industry accommodating the demand for more carryout and even better standards of cleanliness and open space, and he most certainly doesn't feel like Proper House Group is close to being out of the woods when it comes to the fallout surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
"Don't get me wrong like we're fortunate in this situation, momentarily but it's all because we're grinding and we're earning all of it," Alvarez added. "But we're still not like out of the clear—no way. It's still a very very tight line."
Have a look at the “NMM-N-Out Burger” menu for Tampa’s Nebraska Mini-Mart below.
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