Wendy Hassel, partner and former director of taproom operations at Check Six Brewing Co. in Southport, has embarked on a new culinary venture: Hangar 17 Cuisine.
Hassel, a culinary school graduate with a background in fine dining, originally thought of expanding the brewery into the neighboring space to add a kitchen. But after an extensive cost analysis, she realized that having a kitchen inside a mobile trailer would be more beneficial because it would allow her to not only serve customers at the brewery, but to take her food on the road as well.
She and partner Michael Gibson have created Hangar 17 Cuisine to serve the taproom and beyond.
Customers at Check Six, 5130 Southport-Supply Road SE, do not have to leave the taproom and come out to the truck to order; their orders are taken inside, just as at any other restaurant, and brought to their tables. The only difference is that at the end service, they are presented with two checks, one for the brewery, and one for Hangar 17.
“I really wanted Check Six customers to have a restaurant experience,” Hassel said. “That means not having to leave their barstools and wait in line for food.”
While Hassel plans to serve at Check Six during most operating hours, she also plans to cater private and corporate events as well as attend local events and festivals in Brunswick and New Hanover counties.
“Ideally I’ll be busy enough to where I’ll need more than one truck,” Hassel said. “Being with Check Six allows me to be open seven days a week, but I also want to get my name out there.”
Hassel said she is hopes her model of service will appeal to other local breweries.
“Most brewers do not want to have to deal with having a restaurant, but they know their customers are more likely to stay longer and drink more if there’s food available,” Hassel said. “My vision is to, down the road, partner with other breweries, highlight their beers in my cooking and expand this model of service.”
Hassel said that her model takes the guesswork out of knowing whether or not a food truck will be on site at breweries, something that many customers might consider when choosing where to drink and eat.
“Hangar 17 could change any brewery into a brewpub that delivers a delicious, consistent product,” Hassel said.
Hassel describes the Hangar 17 menu as fine dining meets food truck. It includes burgers, ribs, flatbreads, fish n’ chips, tacos, wings and appetizers such as chicken and waffles, pretzel covered cheese curds and chips with beer cheese.
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