​Creating a Kitchen Experience That Matches Your Brewery​ Culture

​Over the years that Lakewood Brewing has been open, the laws in the state of Texas have altered immensely. Now, a veteran of 10 years as a company, the Dallas-area brewery opened a kitchen at its production home and taproom at the end of July. ​Much like taking the risk of opening a brewery, opening a kitchen to compete with other places in the area can be a challenge.

Do you make your spot similar to others and hope your beer brings in consumers that want to eat as well or do you spin off a completely different menu from any spot around you to be that alternative?

“No. 1, we want it to reflect the brewery and our culture which is craft,” explained Lakewood VP Brenda Busch. “We want things that are approachable, but we also want them to have an artisan or a craft, take.

“Instead of having croutons on a salad, we might have toasted spent grain on the salad as your crunch. We’re using some of our beers as ingredients in many of the dishes. We’ll have a Temptress (Stout) reduction on top of a fig flatbread pizza.”

Busch said she wants it to be accessible, but also be creative and still craft-centric.

“We always say we’ve got a beer for every palate, so we want to have something for everybody on the menu as well,” she said. “That includes families and kids.”

They also looked to have a menu that can be executed quickly.

READ MORE: 4 Quick Tips in Adding a Kitchen to Your Brewery

“Since we have a large volume of people on the weekend, we also need to make sure that we can serve a lot of guests and make them happy as well,” she said. “So it was kind of a combination, making sure that many could serve all of those different functions.”

Busch said she and husband Wim Bens and the rest of the management staff didn’t know anything about running a restaurant, so they made the decision to not go in over their heads.

“So like anything, you hire the smartest people that you can because you can’t do everything,” she said. “We hired a consultant that we trust that we have a long-standing relationship in town with and he helped us work with the architects and the GC to build up the kitchen, help us design the menu, do food costing, pricing, develop equipment for the menu.

“He’s helping us with the staffing, the training, the onboarding, all of that, and then we’re hiring staff that can keep it up and running once the consultant is ready to step away. So it should be a fairly smooth — knock on wood — transition with having the right people in place.”

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