SOUTHINGTON — With a new menu every week, the owners of a new sandwich shop in Factory Square are hoping to keep their selections fresh.
James Brown and Larry Tapley opened The Lab @ Kraftwich about two months ago. They started as a food truck, which they still use, but added the brick-and-mortar location at 168 Center St.
“Everything has been booming,” Tapley said on Friday. “We didn’t have to do too much promotion, everyone was already there waiting for food.”
Tapley and Brown have built a following through the food truck, which is often set up in beer halls. Now they host more private events and weddings with the mobile kitchen.
“We get a lot of people who saw us at the breweries,” Tapley said. “We’ve been all over the state, we still do.”
Tapley calls Mondays “lab days” because he and the chefs brainstorm menu ideas. Offers change weekly and sometimes mid-week. This helps keep people interested in coming back and means the store uses very little frozen food.
“With us changing the menu all the time, I can use fresh ingredients,” Tapley said. “So I can keep everything fresh and I think that’s something customers can really say.”
Sometimes a sandwich will be offered for part of the day, according to Tapley. The lab’s website and Facebook page are regularly updated to let people know what’s available.
This week it’s a braised beef sandwich and a cooking club flatbread taco with grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, bacon and cranberry aioli sauce.
Tapley has a list of 300 menu ideas, some he’s tried and some he hasn’t. He plans to make a “fan favourite” every few months and bring back some of the best-selling items.
Kraftwich is on the first floor of the Factory Square building on Center Street and close to Perkatory Coffee Roasters, Rosie’s Royal Chocolates, Witchdoctor Brewing Co., GameCraft Arcade and Bar, and Montana Nights Ax Throwing. These other businesses all help attract people who might want a bite to eat with their drinks and entertainment, Brown said.
“Everyone should go out and buy things or order,” he said. “It seems to work in our favor that people stay longer at other businesses and really appreciate the opportunity to have really fast, good quality food at home.”
Brown said Kraftwich could add food trucks and even franchises if they can find the right people to run them.
“(The vision is) to expand and do things, be other food trucks with other dynamics, possibly a brunch truck,” he said.
Brown was the former head chef of Sherman’s Taphouse, which had a location on Center Street. Tapley worked in a factory, but after working on his cousin’s food truck, he realized he wanted to make a change.
It was Tapley’s cousin, one of the owners of Hardcore Sweet Bakery in Factory Square, who suggested the location. Hardcore Sweet Bakery owners Jeremy and Nicole Braddock opened their Southington branch last year.
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