New Owner Takes Helm at Belly Buster Subs in Brookfield

By Hannah Werle
BROOKFIELD, Ohio – When Matthew Chu first started looking at properties to buy in Brookfield, he never imagined that he’d end up owning a restaurant in the town center. 

Before buying Belly Buster Sub Shop, he initially wanted to buy the house next door and the two greenhouses behind it, but he would only be allowed to buy as long as he bought the Belly Buster as well. He ended up buying not only the house and the greenhouses, but also the Fireball Motors and Belly Buster.

Chu was only recently introduced to Belly Buster. Despite his unfamiliarity with running a restaurant, he jumped at the chance when the opportunity to purchase came around. 

Chu is relatively new to business, especially the rigors of ownership. He learned mostly from his father, who owns his own company in California. Before Belly Buster, Chu’s main income came from day trading and working in the stock market. 

“I wanted to find a house and settle down. I love growing plants and working with hydroponics, so the greenhouses really caught my eye. Day trading gets old after a while, and I’m the type of person that likes to do a lot of things.” He continued, “There’s so much potential in this property that it just kinda called to me.”

After touring the property in February, Chu eventually got to know Tracey Mills, the former owner. She then coached him through her process and showed him what it looks like to run Belly Buster. Chu and the shop’s employees are throwing a going away party for Mills on July 11 to mark the end of her tenure.

Despite the new ownership, Belly Buster will see very few overall changes. Beyond an electronic register, Chu is not looking to change anything involving the making of the subs. As for renovations, he claims that any major changes will likely happen in 2022; Chu hopes to use this year to gain his footing in the restaurant.

Chu hopes to eventually move beyond owning Belly Buster, but for now he is working alongside fellow staff to assure a smooth running business. 

“This isn’t the long term goal … but for any business, especially new, you need to be able to put your nose to the grindstone,” Chu said.

Amy Porter, a manager at Belly Buster, has been working at the sub shop for about 15 years and has chosen to carry on through Chu’s transition into ownership. She says the shift has been seamless and credits Mills’ effort to show him the ropes as well as his desire to have the shop remain the same.

“We have a lot of regular customers, so you know from day to day what their lives are going to be like and the changes that they go through. We’re almost like friends with a lot of the community,” she explained.

Pictured: Matthew Chu is the new owner of Belly Buster Sub Shop in Brookfield.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.