Last Year, We invited brand spankin’ new foodie friends Laughing Gorilla Catering to vend tacos at Grant’s Block. They’ve had quite a year, so we decided to catch up and see how the food biz is treating them.
“Since the last time we spoke, we had a pop-up at The Kitchen. It was a whirlwind trip! We got to expose ourselves to a much bigger audience. Of course, our popular nights were the taco nights.” Says JT, lead chef for Laughing Gorilla.
The Kitchen is a local favorite 14 seat breakfast spot with amazing food and a die-hard fan base. Sadly, earlier this year, Howard owner and chef, needed to take a break due to illness. He asked Laughing Gorilla to lease the space while he recovered.
“We took our street food concept and turned it into a sit down setting–it gave us an opportunity to explore. I think Howard felt he could trust us with the boat. The best part was we were able to test out our dynamic in a restaurant setting. It also allowed us to get out of the cold during the off season. We got so much help, and can’t thank our friends enough for getting off the bench and coming in to cook, serve and maintain the space at the kitchen.”
While Laughing Gorilla occupied the space, they were able to collaborate with some really talented folks in the RI food scene.
“When we were in The Kitchen space, we saw it as a test kitchen in a lot of ways. Menus, events, hours etc. Part of that was doing collaborations with other small businesses, like Rebelle Artisan Bagels, Chi Kitchen– people we met along the way in the last year, developed friendships with and who believed in their products. If we can help other businesses (especially ones owned by women and minorities) get their brand out there and vice versa, we want to be part of that. ” says Leigh Vincola, event manager for Laughing Gorilla.
Here are a couple of highlights from their residency at The Kitchen:
Rebelle Artisan bagels with Milena Pagan
“When Milena Pagan came in she didn’t have any bagels baked, and our stove is pretty touch and go, so it was hectic but awesome. I taught her how to make lox. We did standard bagel and cream cheese, a lox plate with pickled veggies, a couple sandwiches, a grilled cheese with super thick bacon… we did a Korean pork belly with kimchi and fried egg. It was experience! We were all laughing by the end of it.” -JT
Chi Kitchen with Minnie Luong
“She approached us after I’d been helping her with Kim Jang– a celebration when they harvest all the nappa cabbage. I was at this festival in a farm in Massachusetts, making beef bulgogi and charred beat tacos with Minnie. We got to talking about Korean fried chicken with kimchi. For the pop-up event, we donated some of the proceeds to RI food bank. She had folks donate food as well. They are so dedicated to the craft of the most perfect thing they could put out. It is really nice to see how hard they each work to perfect their kim chi.” -JT
Walrus and Carpenter
“We did an oyster night! Buck a shuck oysters, and a couple oyster focused dishes. There was charred beef tartar with marinated oysters and quail eggs. We also served glazed oysters (stout glazed) with crispy pork belly, and an oyster taco with asian pear kimchi crema, cabbage slaw. Campus Liquors came out that night, and they’ve helped us out a lot. They picked out some easy drinking wines (we’re more beer centric) for the evening.” -JT
So What’s Next?
“We are gearing up for another busy outdoor season participating in many of the same events as last year like Hope Street Block Party and PVDfest. Focusing, too, on more private events than we did last year. We’re still on the hunt for a permanent location and will keep you posted on that as things develop!” – Leigh Vincola
“We’re looking to transition into a more permanent brick and mortar place. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we’re hoping something comes through soon! We are gonna keep catering while we look for the perfect spot.” – JT
And What about Taco Fest?
“We’ll have something fun for everyone. We’ll bring back the hip hop taco shop vibe. I think we’re going to come up with something completely different.” – JT
“We’re looking forward to being out in Grants Block enjoying the day with the rest of the city. It was our very first public event as a company last year and we had a great time so it holds some special significance for us. This year we’ll have more tacos! ” – Leigh Vincola