When you want great American food for a great price in Lubbock, Something Different Grill is the place to go. Why are they so great? Because the owners have put customer service as a number one priority. We had a chance to speak with Kelly Sickles, the office manager, to learn more about the Something Different Grill story.
How did you get started with Something Different Grill?
I have a personal relationship with the owners– Leonard Vandenberg and Christy Vandenberg. I’ve known them for about seven years. I used to eat there all the time before I started working here. I actually live in Portales, NM which is where the flagship Something Different Grill is. It opened in 1999, and it’s one of the best choices here in Portales in terms of a family atmosphere and affordability.
Tell me more about how the owners got started?
They started this business after they graduated college from Eastern New Mexico University. They had worked in the food service industry in various capacities, so they really had an understanding of the industry before opening their own restaurant.
What have been some of the highlights of being a part of this business?
Opening Lubbock was a blast. It was my first time being part of opening a restaurant. There were a lot of moving pieces and it took a lot to learn how to meet needs and make people happy. Lubbock is much bigger than Portales. We knew in Lubbock we would need to put out a good product, and do it quickly, but also very well.
Something Different Grill has been open for almost 20 years now. How have things changed over the years?
The volume that we can serve has dramatically increased. Leonard and Christy both talk about how they never thought they would be producing as much as we are today. That’s a big change. We’ve also added new menu items, and over the years we’re able to do things better than we were when it first opened.
What’s something you’d want customers to know about the business?
We’d like people to know more about our teas. It’s a good product and comes in a lot of flavors. The teas weren't popular back when we first started serving them, but people are really into them now. You can get so many different flavors: peach tea, strawberry tea, coconut, and really any variation. It’s a special offering we have.
What do you love about the Lubbock community?
Even though I’m located in Portales, I come to Lubbock often to see how things are doing and I check to see if improvements can be made.
I love the uniqueness of the Lubbock community from what I've seen in person, but also through social media. We like to post photos of customers on our Facebook. It’s cool because people will recognize themselves, and we’re building a local following here in Lubbock through social. It’s nice to see pictures of repeat customers, and it's great when people recognize themselves and their friends. That’s been really cool for us.
Where do you see the business going in the future?
We’d like to have more locations in Lubbock for sure, and continue to grow our following here. It’s a big city and very spread out– we’d like to be able to deliver to more of Lubbock. To serve the entire city of Lubbock through more locations would be the dream. We love this city and we’re excited to grow here.
We’re also excited to see Something Different Grill grow! Local restaurants help give Lubbock its charm AND its taste. Want to stay in touch with businesses like this in Lubbock? Download Towny. It’s totally free and connects you with all things local.