Taste of the Town - SuperChef's
106 Fairfax Ave | Louisville, KY | (502) 333-0620
What do knickknacks, superhero themed menus, and outrageously tasty gourmet breakfast have in common? Well, unless you've visited SuperChef's, you'd have to take a wild guess. Sharing space with a consignment shop, the atmosphere isn't what you'd expect from a gourmet breakfast place, but with food this stellar, it doesn't really matter.
Don't get me wrong - restaurant ambience is important. However, I'm sure we've all visited a dining room or two where the food wasn't nearly as spectacular as the decor.
“It's hard to make your personality show in your food, so the best way for me to do it is with art.- Chef Darnell
And, since SuperChef's talks in candied bacon, red pepper grit cakes, house made chorizo sausage, and blueberry lemon mascarpone pancakes, I will gladly overlook any strangeness that goes with a restaurant and a storefront sharing space.
Now, what isn't strange is the passion and creativity behind SuperChef's. Owners Darnell and Rodney have worked hard to get their restaurant to where it is today. Ever since SuperChef's inception, it has shared space with other shops - twice with restaurants, and currently with a consignment shop, the Ruby Slipper.
While each location has provided its own unique challenges, Rodney and Darnell have kept things innovative and passionate when it comes to serving up a delicious gourmet breakfast.
I had the privilege of visiting these two up and coming chefs. They gave me an insider's look at how they operate their restaurant, all the while serving up some seriously good food.
Here's how they got started
First, these super chefs met with other restaurant owners and mentors. In order to open up shop with no loans or investors, Darnell was told that they needed to focus on getting better before getting bigger. He was also advised to put a large amount of money back into his business for the first several years.
They intentionally took things slow in order to figure out exactly how much it would take to start a restaurant, from labor and food expenses, to cosmetic and equipment costs. And so, they decided to do something daring - share and save.
Because they shared space with other restaurants, their rent was much more affordable right off the bat. They didn't have to dish out extra funds for their own equipment. They simply took advantage of the resources that other establishments already had.
While this was initially harder (requiring constant communication, fast breakdown between breakfast and lunch, and not much space of their own), it was clearly the most financially savvy and smarter route.
For these aspiring Chefs, slowly growing and saving right from the start paid off well. Instead of loans, they've used cash to take care of unexpected expenses. This time of co-operating helped SuperChef's continue creating, innovating, and perfecting breakfast.
Here's how they shop
While purchasing and stocking some food locally often means paying more, it also means greater convenience for on-demand supplies. Shopping around town means that SuperChef's always has fresh ingredients on hand, new batter every day for their delicious pancakes and waffles, and marginal waste. And they only go shopping twice a week.
Since opening, business has more than tripled in the past several months. In order to keep costs under control, they worked with a food distributor on cost per item for their menu. Darnell and Rodney now have a happy medium between cost and profit.
Here's how they get more business
How did these marvelous cuisiniers multiply their business so quickly? It came down to two factors - a new, more prominent location, and the employment of social media. Superchef's moved to a more centralized and accessible location in St. Matthews, and breakfast began booming.
The other main contributing factor to their fast growth: social media. Since they've moved around so much, their facebook, twitter, and the like keep folks up to speed on SuperChef's location, hours, and menu. They estimate that 30% of their traffic comes from Yelp. Their Instagram following is steadily growing and helpful for getting the word out on new dishes.
Amid the busyness of owning and running a business - one that's moved multiple times - SuperChef's has remained committed to creating innovative gourmet meals.
By the look, smell, and taste of their breakfast, it's obvious that these guys love making food. Maybe that's why, in addition to operating another SuperChef's (run by Ryan Bryson in Ohio), they also do catering and host a monthly, five course meal for 50 folks.
Avoiding debt as they build their business hasn't always been glamorous. But it's allowed Darnell and his friends to pursue what they love and give gourmet a fresh, fun-loving feel. Super indeed.