Well folks, it has been a year since Nick Badovinus leased the former Danny’s Chicken spot at Wycliff and Irving Blvd. for Off-Site Kitchen, a mostly take-out spot featuring “light industrial food” inspired by “what line cooks eat.” Basically the menu is simple sandwiches, breakfast burritos, quality roasted meats by the pound.
Badovinus went silent for a long time. In September I dropped by Off-Site Kitchen to see WTF was up. Badovinus is a tough dude to find when he doesn’t want to be found. But there he was, deep in R&D, curing sausage, flipping burgers, trying out different meat combinations for sandwiches.
This morning, I called Badovinus for an update. As Badovinus talked about the opening date, menu, and concept, I enjoyed listening to him spin off on how the dynamic of opening this restaurant changed as it came to life. It’s almost trite to say that many entrepreneurs start with a grand design and find that once their plan goes from paper to brick and mortar, some details have to change. However, one thing I’ve learned over the years is this: those who allow the on-the-fly changes to overwhelm their original vision rarely succeed. Staying the course can be the difference between success and failure. And what Badovinus has already discovered about his little soon-to-open Off-Site Kitchen is unique and could prove to be a model for others.
Jump for it.
NN: I haven’t touched base with you since September when you said you were putting the finishing touches on Off-Site Kitchen. What’s going on?
NB: Man, we are having a blast. We’ve been down here for two months making and hanging sausages, hot links, chorizo, jalapeno cheese sausage. We’re going crazy with three immersion circulators doing 36-hour sous vide pork loin ribs in a hoisin-base glaze which we finish off on the grill at NHS. We’ve ended up using this place a lot more than I originally thought I would.
NN: You mean you are using more like a commissary for your three restaurants?
NB: Well, we started OSK not only as a restaurant but as a butchering plant, if you will, for all of the meat and fish for all three of our restaurants. You know, like we’re becoming our own producer. Our fish order hits DFW, then our back door, and we’ve got it butchered, portioned, cryovaced and on crushed ice within two hours. We’ve got control over our product.
NN: So once you got going, the energy shifted. Would that be fair to say?
NB: You know the hardest part of growing a business is there are certain things that you love to do that you can’t do any more. Like when the fish or meat comes. I love that. I don’t get to see that as much with three places. Every day at OSK is like Christmas morning and I get to open the stuff up and see it. Now it all comes to one place.
NN: Has that encouraged you to do more? Like make more than what you originally planned?
NB: We’re producing a lot more at OSK. What used to take “Fillet” [butcher Jose Martin] 50 hours a week, now gets done in 30 hours. So, we say “hey what else can we make?” This place has become kind of a clubhouse for the staff. They pop in and we all hang out and sorta jam on new stuff. It’s created a real sense of family. Hey, Fillet and I go all the way back to Nick and Sam’s. We wanted to do our own sausage and now we’ve got time to make more. Like I said we are having a ball with those immersion circulators. We’re buying cuts of meat that are a bitch to cook like Waygu rib ends and fingers (the meat between the bones), softening them, pounding them out and chicken-frying them. They’re on the menu at all NHS. Now we’re on to pepperoni.
NN: Well, it’s cool to have a culinary clubhouse but are you going to make Off-Site Kitchen a restaurant?
NB: Yeah, I’ve got to get that done by the end of the year. For tax purposes if nothing else.