— By BRIAN SMITH
Brian Zaltsberg was tired of going to work at a job he hated.
Zaltsberg and his wife Stephanie had been running a computer repair shop on Azle Highway for a number of years and had always liked the idea of running a restaurant someday. The couple had had a taste of restaurant and food service by running a food truck at First Monday for about five years on the weekend, serving tacos and quesadillas. After a few years, the couple began offering hamburgers out of their truck as well.
Brian, who had spent 17 years in the computer business, and Stephanie finally had enough of the constant barrage of people being angry at their computers and what it would cost to fix and decided to take a leap of faith and open Outskirtz Grill about 100 feet from where their computer shop once stood.
“Who’s not happy when they’re eating a cheeseburger?” Brian asked. “Cheeseburgers make people happy.”
Not to say there weren’t some stressful days before Outskirtz opened. The couple worked some very long days before opening, working at the shop during the day and the restaurant, which they built from scratch at night.
“The only thing we didn’t have a hand in installing was the air conditioning,” Stephanie said. “We learned a lot about construction in those 18 months.”
Brian said sometimes the couple would be working in the restaurant during the day and a buzzer would sound that someone was at the shop.
“I’d have to go take off and run over there with my tools and all of that,” Brian laughed. “It was all worth it.”
The couple closed the computer store in April 2013. With no restaurant experience, both agreed they wanted a very soft grand opening, not letting anyone know what was going on in the “outskirtz” of Weatherford.
“We had trashbags over our windows and simply had coming soon signs in the area,” Brian said. “We put the now open signs out that morning.”
The support the first day was simply overwhelming, as the couple had standing room only crowds all day and by 2 p.m. were sending Brian’s mom out to get more provisions.
Outskirts served not only burgers, but wraps, salads and Mexican food as well from their small facility. Because of the response, the couple says they are going to have to expand in the very near future just to keep up with the demand.
Both insist the thing that makes their burgers are the soft, slightly sweet buns they discovered at another restaurant on North Padre Island. They began asking around, found the salesman for the bread and buns and the rest is history.
“There’s nothing worse than being half ay through a good burger and find the bun has disintegrated,” Brian said. “Our buns don’t do that.”
Everything is fresh made every day, including the french fries. They didn’t start out that way, however.
“We had a salesman tell us to use frozen french fries, telling us fresh cut fries were too much hassle,” Brian said. “We gave it a shot and found that while our burgers were being eaten, our fries simply weren’t.”
“We went out and bought a 50-pound bag of potatoes one day and told everyone who had a minute to spare to start cutting potatoes before we got a machine to cut them,” Stephanie said. “Now we know our fries are being eaten.”
The bacon cheesburger is the most popular burger, Brian said. “Despite the lack of any advertising with the exception of word of mouth and Facebook, word is quickly spreading about the place with people coming from Fort Worth, Mansfield and Springtown on a regular basis.
“Our repeat customers are like our extended family, which is what we wanted when we opened,” Stephanie said. “We get hugs from them and they come in and talk family, which is just great.”
Outskirtz Grill is open 11 a.m, to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For coupons and other specials, visit facebook.com/outskirtz.