WNB Factory plans to open this month in Big Lots shopping center


The restaurant has been built out. Hiring is underway. At this point, there's only a few more building inspections and then WNB Factory will be ready to open here in Milledgeville.

Located in one of the corner parcels in the Big Lots Shopping Center, WNB Factory will offer a relatively wide variety of menu options, including cheesesteaks, fried rice, numerous plant-based menu items and, of course, "wings n burgers." At its core, though, the franchise is a "craft burger kind of concept," according to Robert Bales, the company's vice president and chief operating officer.

"It's all certified angus beef. We do smash burgers. We like to think of our burgers as 'upper-scale burgers,' but we also try very hard to keep our price points in line with the other restaurants in town," he said, adding that "the burgers will start at $5.99."

One of the franchisees of the Milledgeville WNB Factory is Allisha Gray, who's probably the best female basketball player ever to come out of this part of Georgia. Gray was a middle Georgia basketball legend at Washington County High School, where she only lost four games during her entire high school career and averaged 32 points per game during the 2010-2011 season, leading Waco to a state title. Gray then went off to college and won a college national championship at South Carolina and was the fourth overall pick in 2017 WNBA draft. She also is an Olympic gold medalist.

Off the court, meanwhile, Gray also is making history, as she will become one of only a small handful of African-American female restaurant franchisees in Georgia.

The local WNB Factory is a family affair. Brother A.J. Gray also is one of the other franchisees and will oversee the Milledgeville restaurant. A.J. Gray also was an elite athlete, once scoring five touchdowns in the first half against Baldwin while quarterbacking the Golden Hawks. Gray then went on to start in the secondary in college for Georgia Tech. Meanwhile, the third franchisee is Tim Mangum, Jr., who is Allisha's boyfriend.

Al Bundy once scored four touchdowns in one game against Andrew Johnson High, while A.J. Gray once scored five touchdowns just in the first half against Baldwin High!

WNB Factory is targeting Sept. 19 for a "soft opening" in Milledgeville, although nothing has been set in stone. The restaurant will seat 45 and eventually will file for a "beer and wine license" with the city government.

It's not immediately clear if the franchise's Milledgeville location will have the exact same prices as its two in Macon. For whatever it's worth, however, HERE is the Macon menu and prices.

WNB Factory also will offer carryout and direct delivery, while also partnering with all of the different third-party delivery services here in Milledgeville, according to Bales.

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