Often the ultimate restaurant experience involves trying something new. At Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse, you can try a rare craft beer or a twist on the Philly cheesesteak.

Both the beer and food menus are vast, detailed and extremely tasty. The attention to detail creates the perfect dining and imbibing environment.

Rob Duckworth began his career with convenience stores. He owned the land and the store that is now Circle K next door to the restaurant. He was trying to lease the land for a restaurant and received many inquiries about it. The interest was in buying the land, but Duckworth was not interested in selling. 

So, he decided to open up a restaurant himself – a sub shop. Before jumping into the business, he did some research, driving to Philadelphia, home of the cheesesteak.

“My father, uncle and I tasted Philly cheesesteaks for an entire weekend,” Duckworth said. “I remember having a beef hangover while watching a Rocky marathon in the hotel room.”

The trip really helped him narrow down how he wanted his cheesesteaks and other subs to taste. Then Duckworth worked with Institution Food House Inc., a test kitchen in Hickory. At IFH, Duckworth tested all his recipes for a year before even opening the door to the restaurant.

In 2004. the restaurant opened as a sub shop on steroids. Customers ordered at the counter and watched the food being prepared, plus there was a huge ice cream cooler with high-end frozen treats.

The restaurant went through several more modifications: the drive through closed, the ice cream cooler became a beer cooler, the menu expanded and the restaurant went full-service rather than counter ordering.

Duckworth opened another restaurant in Charlotte in 2007 and then another in Ballantyne in 2011.

Another is slated to open in Huntersville, Exit 25 off Interstate 77, in the old O’Charley’s building in June.

The restaurants all have extensive craft beer lists that are organized by type and given a thorough description. A specific Duckworth iPad  application for the beer and wine list is in the works to let customers find more information on the drinks.

The beer is not the only special thing at the restaurant; the food is also crafted with care. They make their own pico de gallo, ranch and barbecue sauces. The French fries are homemade, starting with the potatoes and then fried in peanut oil. Everything is cooked to order, including the hand-molded burgers. The meat for the fajitas is marinated for more than 12 hours. The pizza crust is simply sublime and loaded with fresh sauce and toppings. 

Duckworth is happy to cultivate his two favorite pastimes: good food and good beer. And the customers directly benefit from his passions such as Andy Jay, of Davidson.

“I come no more than 4 times a week,” Jay jokes. “I just love the beer selection, the personality of the staff and the food is so nicely done.”

When asked for his favorite thing on the menu, he said

“Oh I have at least 6 favorites. Maybe more!”

Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse

560 River Hwy., Mooresville