Year One, check
Last Friday was our one year anniversary. To think that a full year has past since we opened our doors is pretty scary isn’t it.
A chocolate truffle with buggy eyes, candied horns and brain ooze felt appropriate last week. For a solid year we’ve gone at this Craftory deal with eyes wide open trying to deliver on sweet & savory intentions.
Before we decided to back our barbecue trailer into The Craftory and give The Black October a permanent home,
and before we planted a coming soon sign out front by the sidewalk
we spent some time testing the waters at The Tomball Farmer’s Market.
We even took a shot at Tomball German Festival.
We learned from these experiences that there are many foodies in Tomball. More so than we honestly had expected. The response to our chocolate at the farmers market was better than we could have imagined. It was really encouraging as we considered how to generate enough revenue to make this a full time business. That’s when barbecue was added to the plan.
While too some folks barbecue and chocolate seemed odd at first, the good people of Tomball embraced the uniqueness of our idea. It was clear there was an appetite for good food made with better ingredients.
We felt pretty strongly that It’s a Tomball Thing.
I’m asked at least once a week how we came up with chocolate and barbecue. I say the same thing every time: “we didn’t, we just followed the path”.
We put down a deposit on the oldest building in Old Town Tomball.
Then we fixed up the place.
We opened October 14, 2015. The plan is working. Meat heads all over are discovering craft chocolate while chocolate monsters are discovering what good barbecue can be about. It’s been like two roads merging at the top of a pretty green hill on a blue sky day.
It ain’t easy being a chocolate making outfit and a barbecue joint, but it sure is rewarding. I like to tell people that I’ve never worked harder, made less money, but had more fun. That’s a true story friends.
The food, the business, and the people all made for a most excellent first year. We are sure glad we pulled the trigger on this deal. The people that come to see us are the ones that make it all worth while. Our regulars are a true blessing. There are many and you know who you are. We tip our hat to you and your unwavering support.
Some groovy things happened during our anniversary week. Anca Iancu with PretzTex, a current Tomball Farmers Market vendor, brought us some samples of her stuffed Romanian style pretzels. After one bite we thought a collaboration needs to happen here. We set Anca up with a smoked brisket and she set us up with a basket of stuffed pretzels.
It was terribly rewarding to work with a Tomball Farmers Market rising star. There are many successful businesses that grew out of the local farmers market. Anca’s old world pretzel is quite remarkable. Her dough is a perfect balance of texture, salt, and crust. We were pretty tickled to stuff Anca’s pretzel with brisket.
We sold out of these in about an hour as did they at the farmers market. I don’t think I need to read any tea leaves for help with the obvious answer to the stuffed pretzel success question. Truth be told, I did save one for my self.
Read next sentence with Romanian accent for best enjoyment.
“This pretzel stuffed with brisket dipped in house mustard is good. I forgot to save half for mother because I couldn’t stop eating pretzel.”
The pretzel is a winner is what I’m trying to get across here. Listen to Anca in her Romanian accent say “In my home country, anything goes in pretzel. In Tomball, Tejas Brisket goes in pretzel” while she’s wearing that hat with her smile and you will soon be separated from your money, but you’ll feel great about it. That is the truth.
Chocolate truffles will make you feel good. Some more than others.
Michelle and Janie were all giggles this week as they rolled out Monster Mash truffles. These were 55% dark milk chocolate with a candy corn marsh mallow fluff swirled in with the ganache. Just scary good and creepy fun seeing these guys around the display. There were eyeballs, bones, brains, and worms all abound. We did consider calling them Boo Balls, but were concerned that some meat head would twist the naming of chocolate truffle into something weird.
Barbecue that happened this week…
I split a pastrami Reuben with Michelle on Thursday. Man that’s a tasty sandwich. Tejas house pastrami, freshly made sauerkraut, a nice Swiss cheese on a warm toasted rye bread. Pastrami happens on Thursdays.
When the pork belly is smoking it is fun to look at. Especially when the sun shines into the cooker. Pork belly will plump up a bit before rendering fat which makes for a pleasant barbecue picture.
Jalapeno cheddar sausage stacked on a chop brisket sandwich looked pretty good. The quality of the cheese and balance of jalapeno in our new sausage is excellent.
Saturday was our busiest day yet with more tickets than ever before. We sold out of barbecue, ice, and many of our drinks. Holy cow. Tomball was busting at the seams with foodies enjoying the first Freight Train food truck festival over at the depot. Nick Rama has picture of trucks and menus over at Nick’s Local Eats.
We got freight trained is what I’m saying about the Saturday crowd. It was awesome, and we never sold out of fun. We weren’t sure what to expect with so many extra eating options in Old Town than a normal Saturday. Now we know. Looks like it worked out pretty well with some experience for everyone to work from for next year.
During this last year, you’ve told us with your wallet that barbecue and chocolate works. All signs point to continued growth and strength of our business. We’ve learned a whole lot in a year. Chocolate truffles for one thing have taken over the chocolate production. We need to find a way to make more chocolate so we can get back to making chocolate bars. We had to set our wholesale chocolate business aside because of production limitations.
We may even have to consider moving some chocolate production off site because the barbecue is not leaving us much elbow room. The barbecue surpassed our expectations in so many ways. These are great problems to solve. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and some decisions to make in that regard. We have great chocolate and a brand that retails well, so I’m hoping that we tackle this market in the coming year.
Coming soon is a Thanksgiving Day ordering menu. It will be simple enough. We’re going to do smoked turkey breasts to pick up along with our classic sides like carrot souffle’ and cornbread pudding. Pick up will be on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We will walk you through the warming up process. We will be close on Thursday 11-24 and Friday 11-25, and be open on Saturday 11-26.
On Friday I will be eating a sandwich I call “The Day After”. It’s left over turkey, cornbread dressing, cranberry salad, and a liberal amount of salt and peppered mayonnaise. Perhaps we need it on the menu for the week after Thanksgiving. One thing I looked at from last year now that we actually have some history to pull from is that we sold out of turkey everyday the week after Thanksgiving. Let that fun fact soak in for a bit.
Thanks for a special first year everyone. The pleasure of operating in the Tomball community trumped everything.
Bahleave me, we are just getting warmed up.