SOUTHINGTON — With a new menu every week, owners of a new sandwich shop in Factory Square hope 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 Friday. “We didn’t have to do too much promotion, everybody was already here waiting for food.”
Tapley and Brown built a customer base through the food truck, which is often set up at breweries. Now they’re doing more private events and weddings with the mobile kitchen.
“We get a lot of people who came in who’ve seen us at the breweries,” Tapley said. “We went all over the state, we still do.”
Tapley calls Mondays “lab days” because he and the chefs brainstorm menu ideas. Offerings change every week and sometimes mid week. It helps keep people interested in coming back and means the shop uses very little frozen food.
“With us changing the menu all the time, I can use fresh ingredients,” Tapley said. “Then I can keep everything fresh and I think that’s something the customers can really tell.”
Sometimes a sandwich will be offered for just part of a day, according to Tapley. The Lab’s website and Facebook page are updated often to let people know what’s available.
This week, it’s a braised beef sandwich and a kitchen club flatbread taco with grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, bacon and a cranberry aioli sauce.
Tapley has a list of 300 menu ideas, some of which he’s tried and some he hasn’t. He’s considering doing a “fan favorites” every few months and bringing back some of the top selling items.Factory Square
Kraftwich is on the first floor of the Factory Square building on Center Street and nearby Perkatory Coffee Roasters, Rosie’s Royal Chocolates, Witchdoctor Brewing Co., GameCraft Arcade and Bar and Montana Nights Ax Throwing. Those other businesses all help draw people likely to want a bite to eat along with their drinks and entertainment, Brown said.
“Everybody would have to go out and get stuff or order in,” he said. “It’s seeming to work out in our favor that people are staying longer at the other businesses and really enjoy the option of having food that’s very quick and good quality in house.”
Brown said Kraftwich could add food trucks and even franchise locations if they can find the right people to run them.
“(The vision is) to expand and do things, either other food trucks with other dynamics, possibly a brunch truck,” he said.
Brown was the former head chef for Sherman's Taphouse, which had a location on Center Street. Tapley worked in a factory but after working on his cousin's food truck realized he wanted to make a switch.
It was Tapley's cousin, one of the owners at Hardcore Sweet Bakery in Factory Square, that suggested the location. Hardcore Sweet Bakery owners Jeremy and Nicole Braddock opened their Southington location last year.