FORT WORTH, Texas — This is one of those stories that you're excited to tell, but also sad to tell, because you're about to let everyone in on Fort Worth's secret (a secret that's no longer really that well-kept at all).
Sarah Hooton and Matt Mobley laughed when I told them that. They understand.
Hooton and Mobley are the brains and the biscuit-makers behind the Hot Box Biscuit Club.
"We did our first pop up and it was 40 or 50 seats," Hooton told us Friday.
She and Mobley throw pop-up biscuit-focused brunches in Cowtown that people rush to get into.
It's kind of been like the culinary version of couch-surfing, setting up shop at locations like Magdalena's and Bell & Bell Properties (their current space).
"By the third and fourth pop-ups, they were selling out in an hour maybe, and then the next one it was about 15 minutes, and then by the next one, I answered about 350 emails saying 'I'm sorry, we are sold out,'" Hooton said.
The two friends and Fort Worth natives, who met while teaching at Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas, pack their pop-ups with biscuits, fried chicken and whatever else catches their culinary fancy. They've become a city brunch favorite (they've been voted "best brunch" two years in a row by Fort Worth Magazine), but continue to do pop-ups because they don't have a space of their own.
"Yeah," Mobley laughed. "We've surfed quite a few places in Fort Worth now."
That is all about to change. A historic building at the corner of South Main and Broadway is about to become the Hot Box Biscuit Club restaurant.
"Seems like everything just kinda fell into place pretty quick," Mobley said.
They hope to open this summer.
"We feel really good about it, but it's also really scary at the same time," Hooton said. "It's like I think every day both of us are on this roller coaster of 'Oh my gosh this is awesome' and 'Oh my gosh what are we doing?'"
They say they'll likely stick with the pop-up model in the beginning, noting it's a good way to test if things are working as they should at the new restaurant. But then they'll quickly move into a breakfast and lunch service, with brunch on the weekends.
They say it's crazy to think social media and word of mouth have taken them from pop-ups to owning a restaurant.
But the question everybody wants to know: what makes their biscuits so dang good?
"Love," they both answered. "A lot of love."
It's the love you'll soon be able to taste on a regular basis.