Jeff Milliken, co-owner of the Nekillim Foodservice Group, has announced that his company has received corporate approval to open Wilmington’s first Steak n’ Shake location at The Collection at Independence this fall.
The location in The Collection at Independence (formerly called Independence Mall), 3500 Oleander Drive, will offer counter service, as opposed to the full-service model available at stand-alone locations nationwide. Although the menu will have to be scaled back somewhat, it will still feature all the company’s bestselling “steakburgers” and milkshakes, Milliken said.
“We’re really excited about all the changes that are planned and feel it’s a great time to be a part of Independence Mall,” he said.
Rouse Properties, the company that bought much of the mall last year, has announced redevelopment plans
for the property that include demolishing the Sears building, establishing exterior-facing retailer spaces, the construction of green spaces, a restaurant streetscape and the addition of residential units, a hotel and a medical office building.
The Nekillim Group had been pursuing a stand-alone location for Steak n' Shake in Wilmington for some time, including considering a property on Market Street, a potential deal that fell through at the end of last year.
“We were really hoping for a full-service Steak n’ Shake in Wilmington,” Milliken said. “And that’s something that we’re still pursuing. I feel confident that Wilmington could easily support one or two additional locations down the road.”
The Nekillim Group opened a Jacksonville location in January and will break ground on a Shallotte location in late June.
“We have opened with great support in Jacksonville and are hopeful that we will do just as well in Wilmington,” Milliken said.
Milliken, whose company owns the rights to Steak n’ Shake for all of southeastern North Carolina, as well as the Greenville/Spartanburg region of South Carolina, said that in addition to pursuing additional Wilmington locations, his company is looking to open in Brunswick County as well, perhaps in Leland or Southport.
Construction on the Steak n' Shake mall location is expected to begin in the next 30 to 45 days and an early October opening is expected.