Bridesburg’s dining scene is getting a much-needed addition next weekend.
Chris Kulb, owner of Kulb Designs Clothing, will debut his outdoor, food truck dining spot on Friday, April 16.
All thanks to COVID-19.
“It’s been in the making for about a year now. The idea came from COVID because we knew people would have to eat outside in the future,” Kulb said. “We figured a food truck would make more sense because you are outside. We pivoted to the new way we thought people would eat. We think people will be eating outside longer and more often.”
Kulb began looking for a lot to use for his outdoor, food truck dining concept, and found one right in his own backyard: the parking lot of Kulb Design.
The Bridesburg resident opened Kulb Designs, a custom-clothing business, in 2003, and bought the bricks of his current location at the corner of Orthodox and Bath streets a few years back.
The exterior build-up of the dining area took about a month and features mostly wooden pieces, including wine barrel tables.
The name comes from the nickname a fellow business owner gave Kulb.
“Some people mess up Kulb Designs’ name, and so Bill Hawthorne started calling it ‘kubbie,’ ” Kulb said.
Kulb wanted to bring to Bridesburg a dining option that is available to surrounding communities like Fishtown.
“We still have a very big family-based neighborhood and we’re missing that family environment where you can go and have something to eat with your family and relax and not be killed with the price,” Kulb said.
The most expensive item on the menu comes in at under $13, according to Kulb.
Food will be ordered via touch screens, and there is space for about 70 patrons.
And, while the concept looked great on paper, the physical transition from clothing to cooking took some professional guidance.
“Now, you can grab a T-shirt and a bite,” Kulb joked. “But, food is another world. Building and designing it was easy. That’s like what we do here with T-shirts. It’s creating something new.”
“But when it came to food, we were clueless,” he added. “And, that’s when we hired chef Milly. He came in and created a menu for us.”
Philly native Emili “Milly” Medley was an executive chef in the city prior to appearing on season 14 of Gordon Ramsay’s TV show, Hell’s Kitchen.
The menu features meat, cheesesteaks, fish tacos, nachos, wings, loaded french fries, fried oreos and a burger, something surrounding businesses don’t really offer, Kulb said.
Kulb connected with Medley through mutual friends.
“We learned so much from him. The guy is very good, very professional and very creative,” Kulb said. “He physically trained Cailey in a month how to cook for a food truck.”
Originally from Bridesburg, Cailey Plath, 22, will lead the kitchen and developed a passion for cooking growing up and watching her grandmother.
“She always cooked at home. I was always looking over her shoulder and asking her questions, and when I moved into my apartment with my sister, I just really wanted to cook and now, I’m on dinner every night,” Plath said. “It just became a passion of mine.”
Working with Medley was a dream.
“He’s amazing. He’s one of the most down-to-earth people I ever met,” Plath said. “He really took his time with me having no formal culinary background. He showed me the ropes. He’s taught me a lot in such a short time.”
Plath described Kulb as family, having grown up on Gillingham Street across from his wife.
“Over the Christmas holiday, I was helping Chris at Kulb a few days a week,” Plath said. “And, I told him I wanted to move to Florida in a couple years and open up my own food truck. And, he had been looking to open one. So, this was meant to happen at that moment.”
Plath is excited to interact with all the people, but may be even more excited about one particular menu item.
“Shrimp tacos, 100 percent with extra Kubbie sauce,” Plath said about her favorite food. “The sauce is this chipotle aioli we make. I don’t even like mayo. I despise mayo. But, even knowing it’s in this, I’d eat a whole bottle easily.”
Food aside, Kubbie’s Corner is looking to serve up a sense of community.
Kulb Designs already provides T-shirts for various Philly high schools groups and sports teams, and hopes to continue that connection with Kubbie’s Corner.
“We’re hoping to have the reunions here and other events for North, Frankford, Little Flower and Hallahan and all to help them generate money while we run our business,” Kulb said.
For Kulb, it’s all about making those community connections and keeping them strong.
“We just want to bring that family-based connection to Bridesburg. We’re trying to bring a place where people can go out and enjoy themselves and take pride in their neighborhood,” Kulb said. “We want people to be able to walk around the corner, grab a bite, and just be happy to be out in their neighborhood and be out of their houses again.”
Kubbie’s Corner, 2900 Orthodox St., opens on Friday, April 16, at 2 p.m. Regular days and hours of operation will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 2 to 10 p.m. Kubbie’s Corner will be BYOB. For more details, follow Kubbie’s Corner on Facebook and Instagram.