Many people dream of owning their own restaurant.

And because so many restaurants closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, now many people dream of owning their own restaurant again.

Own Your Own is a new company that has launched a nationwide competition to find a new restaurant owner.  It’s a pretty good deal – the winner of the competition receives $1 million to design and build a new restaurant.

However, there is a catch.  The new restaurant has to be built in downtown Burgaw, North Carolina.  Burgaw, the county seat of Pender County, is right off I-40 about 30 miles from the coast and 30 minutes from downtown Wilmington.  The location of the new restaurant is right across the street from the historic Pender County Courthouse.

Burgaw has a population of a little over 3,000, and one of its selling points is that it has a well-preserved downtown area that is making a comeback.

The million-dollar restaurant contest is the brainchild of Richard Johnson, who founded Hotjobs, which he took public and then sold to Yahoo.

Johnson has already built two new eateries in Burgaw: Fat Daddy’s, a pizzeria, and the Burgaw Brewing Company.

Rather than build another restaurant in Burgaw, Johnson decided to provide the funding for an entrepreneur to build it.

In the press release, Johnson said, “I guess it’s not every day that someone comes up to you and says, ‘Can I build you a restaurant?’ But it works. I find someone who wants to own a restaurant, build it for them and hand it over with a reasonable lease.  They get their own restaurant, and the town has a new gathering place.”

Johnson says the best part about his model is that it can be used to help other small towns and that’s why he launched, a site where would be entrepreneurs can enter to own their own restaurant.

Anyone who is interested can go to to get all the details about entering the contest to win $1 million to build their own restaurant in Burgaw.