Story and photo by Lindsey Chester.
Cary, NC – The Luihn Family has been a force in the Cary business landscape for years, operating all of the Taco Bell and KFC restaurants in the area. Their latest venture, Hurricane Grill & Wings in Cary, breaks the mold with a sit-down family friendly atmosphere located in a long vacant spot on Kildaire Farm Road near Trader Joe’s.
Hurricane Grill Brings Beachy Style to Cary
This is the first Hurricane Grill in North Carolina and owner Cindy Luihn Toma hopes after the Cary location gets established they will roll out to more locations. The franchise is based out of Florida and has a decidedly laid back beachy style. The emphasis is on the grilling more than the wings, although those are hugely popular and offered in a jumbo size.
Why did she choose to open this particular franchise in Cary? Cindy told me that the family has strong ties to Florida. One year, they ate at a Hurricane restaurant during a Florida vacation and the family was hooked. When they wanted to expand their business, they thought the Hurricane concept would be a good fit for Cary. Cindy’s oldest brother, Jody, looked into the franchise and decided to get the exclusive rights to Wake, Durham and Wilmington areas.
The Luihn family liked the variety and the unique atmosphere that Hurricane offers its customers. There are surf boards on the walls and mahi mahi on the menu. One of the most popular menu items is the 100% angus beef burger which manager Susan Miller recalls a customer calling “the best burger he’s ever eaten!” The restaurant offers a full bar with 20 beers on tap.
With her degree in restaurant and hotel management, Cindy always wanted to open a full service restaurant. With Hurricane Grill she got her wish. The space had sat empty for over 3 years as first a bank and later a mattress store tried to make the location work, but ultimately walked away. As the former Applebee’s was already zoned for a restaurant and this franchise had no need for a drive thru, the location was a perfect fit. In December they started renovations and opened in March. It’s handy that Dad also runs a contracting business as part of the Luihn empire.
Luihn Foods – Cary Restaurant Powerhouse
Luihn Foods is a family business: Cindy’s Mom and Dad, Donna Mae and Al Luihn,began opening Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bells back in 1965. Now brothers, Jody and Jamie, and sisters Cindy and Sandy, are all involved with managing over 85 restaurants in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. Jody is the current president of the Franchise Association for Taco Bell Nationally. Cindy’s twin daughters work as hostesses at Hurricane.
With over 2500 people employed by Luihn Foods, they are one of the biggest employers in North Carolina! Next time you pass a KFC in Cary, you’ll know its owned by Cary natives.