Craft beer in Little Rock has become a big business with several breweries at various stages of brewing facility expansions. At least for Rebel Kettle‘s brewing operation in the East Village/Hanger Hill area, food has become a big part of their brewing operation as well.
It is important to remember that Rebel Kettle had been in the works since 2013, at that time there were very few breweries in the state and none had any food focus in their tap room. Once Rebel Kettle opened in March of last year Lost Forty and Diamond Bear started adding food in varying capacities, but brewery kitchens were not much larger than a food truck kitchen at that point.
The food has grown faster than ever expected. That is due, in large part, to hiring Gwen Jones on as the kitchen manager last August. Jones continued to revamp the menu, hire a very talented kitchen crew, and then added brunch back in May.
“We are hitting our three year goals for food service after just a little over a year,” Jones says. “People love our food and we really want to look at ways to do some items that we have had to hold off on due to space constraints. Even with the constraints, food sales are just barely behind beer sales in the tap room.”
The fact that food sales are closing in on beer is a testament to the kitchen, considering the beer is selling so well right now for Rebel Kettle that they are having trouble keeping up with the increasing demand of some of their favorites.
The decision for a kitchen expansion is a long time coming. It will add 76% more kitchen space and offer up room for even more southern Louisiana classics on the menu. The expansion work begins next week and should wrap up sometime mid-October.
Some of the new areas they are focusing on is increased desserts and sharables, and adding beignets and more sausage options to the menu. The extra capacity is going to allow them to sell some items as well, like their house cured bacon, boudin sausage, roux, and more.
The expansion will take up two parking spots in their back lot and require the kitchen to shut down for a couple of days when construction begins. They are also looking to add outdoor seating and possibly enclose the patio during cold months.
Jones says they will begin running some of the new menu items as specials between now and the expansion opening, keep an eye on their Facebook page for those specials.. We will preview the new items once the menu is finalized. Full expansion plans are below.