Pork belly sandwiches, pretzelwich, tuna poke bowl and fried mac & cheese balls are some of the menu items that made the transition from Super Food Truck to Super Food & Brew, Downtown’s new restaurant at 11 E. Forsyth St.
The brick-and-mortar version is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the space formerly occupied by Starbucks.
As soon as the doors opened, people started lining up to order food and sample the more than 20 craft beers on the menu.
Co-owner Dale Stoudt attributed the immediate popularity to months of steadily building a following for the food truck that inspired the 76-seat restaurant and beer and wine bar that opened last week.
“We had an advantage because the branding was already established,” he said. “We were really busy. I don’t think we had an empty seat for two hours during lunch on Friday.”
Stoudt said opening the traditional restaurant creates new opportunities for the Super Food movement.
The weekday lunch business won’t be so dependent on weather, for example, and having a fully equipped kitchen will lead to more catering business and private functions.
“Some days on a food truck are great and some days aren’t. I always looked at the truck more as marketing for weekend events,” he said.
In addition to expanding the menu and offering beer and wine, the future of Super Food & Brew includes introduction next week of a 4-8 p.m. happy hour with a special menu of small plates and fresh oysters on the half shell.
Also on the future agenda is a retail grocery that will feature artisan products and possibly delivery, but there’s no timetable on that addition.
“We’re rolling out slowly so we can maintain quality and service,” Stoudt said.
Opening the restaurant was partially financed with a $49,837 forgivable loan from the Downtown Investment Authority’s retail enhancement program to VCP-Lynch Building Ltd., a division of The Vestcor Companies Inc. Vestcor renovated the historic building at 11 E. Forsyth, converting the former office building into 126 loft apartments. The restaurant space on the ground floor at the corner of Forsyth and Main streets has been vacant since Starbucks closed in 2008.
The company also converted The Carling, a former hotel along Adams Street two blocks from Super Food & Brew, into 100 apartments.
“It’s a great amenity that I’m sure our residents and everyone who lives and works Downtown will enjoy,” Vestcor spokeswoman Holly Hepler said of the neighborhood’s new restaurant. “We’re confident it will be very successful.”
Super Food & Brew opens for coffee and pastries at 8 a.m. Monday-Saturday. Lunch service begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Food and beverages are available until 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and until 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.