05 Feb Opening weekend brings diners, lessons for Fishers Test Kitchen Chefs
As anyone who opens a business knows, the first few days after opening can bring the unexpected. Despite working 16-plus hour days while they work to build their teams and fine-tune menus, the Fishers Test Kitchen chefs survived, and dare-we-say-thrived, during their first forty-eight hours of business. Here’s a quick report from each of the concepts:
Lil Dumplings, Chef Carlos Salazar
With a smile and a shake of his head, Chef Carlos Salazar says the first two opening days were a “crazy, sh$#-show”. But, he expected as much. “It wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be, but we got through it,” Salazar said. Super Bowl Sunday is typically a day when restaurant crowds are thinner, which “helped us catch up,” he said. “We are taking it minute by minute, figuring it out as we go.” Ultimately, Lil Dumplings will employ four full-time and two part-time staff members.
Chef Carlos has been happy with the response diners have had to his menu. One lesson he learned over opening weekend was his fryer space can only accommodate one fried menu item. The item he’s most likely to keep due to popular response? Avocado Huarache.
Korave, Chefs John and Kim
Chef Kim said, “the first day was crazy busy, and people loved it.” Although they were prepared for the crowd waiting in line to taste their Korean barbeque dishes, Kim was glad customers took advantage of the to-go window, reporting many customers enjoyed taking their dishes back to family waiting at home.
Chefs John and Kim are also in the process of interviewing to hire three additional team members. Mee-Chin Nachos are their most popular menu item, but they’ll be updating their menu based on customer feedback. So far, they’ve gotten nothing but positive responses from customers.
Natural State Provisions, Chef Adam Sweet
Chef Sweet said the first two days were a “sh$#storm, but in a good sense!” Despite a steady line of diners, he was able to serve customers promptly with “pretty good ticket times”. As the latest addition to the kitchen, Sweet only had a few weeks to develop a menu when he usually takes a month to develop and test his creations. So far, diners haven’t seemed to mind. Sweet says he’s received “an awesome response to the food, I haven’t heard a bad thing yet” about his southern-inspired fare. The most popular? “Probably the Mac Patty and Mega Tots.”
Despite putting in 16 hour-plus days like his fellow chefs, Adam loves the camaraderie with fellow chefs from Korave and Lil Dumplings. “Everybody is helping each other out and learning from one another,” he said. This week, he is looking forward to hiring another team member.