The Brothers Behind Holy Grill Expand Their Grilling Empire
Growing from the success of Holy Grill
The concept is simple: provide people with an inexpensive option for breakfast or lunch and get them in and out swiftly. Customers order their food right from the grill and, when it’s done, their name is yelled out in a “come and get it!” sort of fashion. Not because they’re rude, but because people are busy and want to be fed fast. And, well, it’s Americana cuisine made with local ingredients, so your regular burger, panini or even breakfast Benny is whipped up with naturally raised, hormone-free beef and seriously tasty, fresh veggies.
If you haven’t heard of the Yee brothers, (Nicholas, Jonathan and Andrew) and their homestyle diner-esque restaurant across from Mountain Equipment Co-op, you soon will with their new food truck out for the summer (SteakOutTruck), as well as a serious setup at the Calgary Stampede’s “The Range” food court. They are also working on installing a patio in the space behind the 40-seat restaurant where they hope to offer a happy hour dinner menu for the sun-lovers of Calgary.
The Yee brothers grew up in the restaurant business
It’s one thing to know the restaurant business and it’s another thing to be raised in it. Their father was a restaurateur for many years, with 13 restaurants in Calgary. In fact, around the corner from the current Holy Grill location is Bonterra Trattoria — formerly Virginia’s, their dad’s last restaurant venture.
“We worked with my dad in restaurants since elementary school,” says Nicholas. “We were busing tables in junior high and at the front door; you know, ‘Smoking or non.’ We were bartenders, managers, cooks, dishwashers … everything.”
The brothers even learned how to make yam fries from the former executive chef at Virginia’s, Mario Spina — now a fellow food trucker and owner of Pimento’s Pizzeria.
How they help the community
When not running an ever-increasing grilling empire, the trio works with Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids Society to provide school lunches to their neighbour, Connaught School, at no cost. Nicholas is happy ATCO gas has stepped in to transport lunches from Holy Grill to help feed a student population of more than 90 per cent ESL students. “We hope everyone can work as a village,” says Nicholas.