New owner. Same subs.
That’s the message the new owner of the Belly Buster Sub Shoppe in Brookfield has for the community.
But, don’t interpret that as meaning that Matthew Chu doesn’t have plans. He’s already promising something “pretty neat” coming to the former Brookfield Gardens portion of the building at 6949 Warren Sharon Road, and has his eye on at least one more piece of property he would like to buy.
“For me, the Belly Buster is just one part of the whole,” said 24-year-old Matthew Chu. “This property has so much potential. So many different things to do. I want to diversify and do a lot of different things.”
Chu bought five connecting parcels at Warren Sharon Road and Route 7 from Tracey Mills, who has run
the Belly Buster, which was started by her mother, Nancy, since Nancy died in 2009.
The land includes the Mills home, which Chu will live in after Mills moves out, the greenhouses, and the
old gas station property at the corner.
Mills, who is moving to Athens County and is building a log home of Oregon white cedar, said she is
ecstatic at being able to sell the property, and that the Belly Buster will live on.
“Thank you Brookfield,” Mills said, wanting the spotlight to be on Chu.
Chu, the son of a native of Taiwan, is from California, but grew up in the Akron area, where his mom
returned after she and his dad split up.
Business runs in his family, he said.
“My father, he came to the United States when he was 19 years old,” Chu said. “He studied hard and
worked hard. He started his own company and built it and then sold out.”
After graduating from Otterbein College, Chu day traded and, “It treated me well,” but he wanted to do
Chu got to know the Brookfield area while visiting the family of his girlfriend, Josey Kirila, and saw the
for-sale sign on the Belly Buster property after eating there.
“What brought me out here to Brookfield was, I was honestly looking for a house, that was the first
thing,” he said. “I wanted to build some equity. I saw the house. The greenhouses were a big selling point.
There’s two tenants upstairs and the Belly Buster that pays the bills. It was like, this is probably a pretty
Chu said he has been amused at the rumors going around town about who bought the property and what
might happen to it. Truth is, he’s keeping the Belly Buster as it has always been, and is keeping on Mills’s
employees, who helped see the business through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s no reason to change a working formula,” Chu said. “There’s a lot of history behind this place. I
look at this place as a pillar of the community, and I wish to grow and develop this community.”
Customers have asked Chu about gluten-free products, and he is looking for a supplier of gluten-free
rolls, he said.
“The Belly Buster is one thing,” he said. “I would first like to get that understood, get that working,
operating seamlessly, and then move on to other ventures.