A MOMENT in Hawthorn seven years ago changed everything for Aaron Bones and Marietta Thompson.
It was the day they each devoured their first Grill’d burgers.
The pair will recreate the moment when they open Ballarat’s first Grill’d franchise store on Friday.
“We always loved the brand and would travel to Melbourne to eat Grill’d,” Ms Thompson said. “Ballarat was missing something and it wasn’t until 18 months ago that we acted on it.”
The Sturt Street store will be the largest Grill’d restaurant in Australia, seating 180 people.
“We are really excited,” Mr Bones said.
“We’ve hired 40 young people from 600 job applications.”
Ms Thompson said the opening of Grill’d would not contribute to Ballarat’s obesity problem.
“Absolutely not, it is a healthy alternative for the Ballarat community,” she said.
“You have the option of ordering salad ... it is fresh and healthy.”
About 20 community groups have registered to be a part of the Grill’d Local Matters program.
“Every month Grill’d Ballarat will give $500 to local community groups,” Ms Thompson said.
Customers can select a community group to be in the running for the prize when they purchase a main menu item in store.
“We are trying to give some of the smaller groups an opportunity to get funding,” Ms Thompson said.
Free burgers will be served for dine-in customers at the Sturt Street restaurant between 11am and 2pm.
Grill’d Ballarat will open between 11am and 11pm on weekends and 11am and 10pm on weekdays.