NEWBURYPORT — Lexie’s co-owner K.C. Cargill took Tuesday afternoon off from the burger restaurant’s food truck, known as the Burger Bus, and instead was inside his State Street location whipping up menu items for the first of two pop-up sales this week.
The pop-up sales are being offered after the restaurant announced last week it was closing temporarily because it could not find enough staff. But Cargill said Tuesday he hopes to reopen the restaurant soon and that he purchased its location at 88 State St. on May 1.
“The community has been great, it has been nothing short of perfect,” Cargill said.
The pop-up sales, running from 3 to 5 p.m., will feature new menu items that Cargill and others hope spur additional traffic to what is typically known as a teen hangout.
“I’m trying to keep relevant in Newburyport, trying to keep the kids happy,” Cargill said.
He hopes to reopen the restaurant as soon as they hire a manager to oversee what is typically a very young staff.
“We need a manager, we need an adult,” Cargill said.
Another big challenge has been the popularity of online ordering, which slowed down an already-taxed staff to the point where mistakes were being made and orders not being fulfilled, Cargill said.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” he said.
Lexie’s is part of a small chain of burger restaurants with locations in Portsmouth, Dover, and Exeter, New Hampshire, and a seasonal location in Newington, New Hampshire.
Cargill said staffing issues are also plaguing the other locations, including Dover, where the eatery is open only four days a week. The seasonal location is also struggling to find enough help.
What is thriving is the Burger Bus, which is chugging along full steam ahead seven days a week and sometimes “eight,” Cargill joked.
Kathleen O’Connor Ives, president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry, recently called staffing issues an “identifiable challenge” for local eateries as they geared up for the state’s full reopening last weekend after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions.
Lexie’s first opened on Islington Street in Portsmouth and expanded to Newburyport, Exeter and other locations by 2016.
Cargill said Lexie’s fans can visit its Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on future pop-up sales and its other locations.
“We’re not leaving Newburyport,” he said.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.