Think of our kitchen as a long-term, indoor Food Truck.
Currently in our Kitchen
While Joystick has previously provided an incubation space for chefs looking to launch their brand, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with some already established food folks who have the perfect pairing for beer & games. Doggy Dogg has been serving up gourmet dogs to Atlantans for more than five years via weiner carts at farmer’s markets, festivals, local breweries and events. In 2015, founder James Hammerl opened a brick-and-mortar location in Decatur. Doggy Dogg’s ingredients are all preservative-free and every part of the dog is sourced locally, using Spotted Trotter dogs, Ratio Bakeshop buns and toppings from vendors like Simply Seoul, Preserving Place and Lupa’s Kitchen. The Joystick menu includes their standard dogs, like the 404 (smoked beef dogg with pimento cheese, pork belly bits, dogg sauce and hot sauce) and the Sharpei (1/4 lb smoked beef dogg with kimchi, pork belly bits, yellow mustard and hot sauce) as well as tofu and beef kebabs.
Kitchen Incubation Program
We would not have been able to open and sustain Joystick without the support of others -- both friends, family, and the community at large. So we try to give back and (as Haley Joel Osment taught us all) pay it forward. During a series of pop-ups in our first year, we were inspired by stories of companies that got their start out of small kitchens and in the back of other places; such as Fox Bros. BBQ getting their commercial start at Smith's Olde Bar. So we started a kitchen incubation project. The theory behind it was that small companies or individual chefs would move into Joystick's kitchen for a year or two and have the freedom to do what they are passionate about. They used this as a low up-front cost opportunity to build their menu, reputation, and capital before going off to the next step in their evolution. To accomplish this goal, the companies that utilized the kitchen remained autonomous and Joystick stayed out of their decision-making process but helped out however it could. While our current kitchen occupants are not an incubation, the guidelines above still apply and we are happy that Doggy Dogg is able to experiment and test new menu items on our guinea pigs...er, customers. Although we work hard to make it seamless and easy for our guests, we want to be sure everyone understands who is making their food because we always believe in giving the credit where it is due. We hope that, in our small way, we can help fill Atlanta with local options full of heart and soul.
Illegal Food was a natural choice for our first incubation, not only for the enormous talent Chef Steven Lingenfelter demonstrates, but also because of shared principles and passions. Similar to what we try to do with our bar program, Illegal Food puts out hand-crafted quality food made from quality ingredients. But just because you are eating (and drinking) well does not mean it needs to be pretentious or unapproachable. You only have to do one quick Google search to see how well Illegal Food was able to leverage our tiny kitchen into the beginnings of an extraordinary career. We love seeing the rave reviews online and in print (among which has been Best Burger in Georgia via the Business Insider) and can't wait to see what else they are capable of. Their first flagship restaurant opened in the Virginia-Highlands in early 2015.
Babcia’s Polish Food, our most recent incubation, specialized in pierogi, a semicircular Polish dumpling akin to ravioli. They are easy, dippable finger food that goes great with good beer and good games. The options varied based on what was in season but you could always rely on a traditional potato pieróg. Other pieróg options included braised ox-tail, squash, and apple. Babcia's also offered their own smoked kielbasa (Polish sausages) and zapiekankas (Polish open-face sandwiches). Everything was made in-house and sourced responsibly. The man behind the dough was Chef Joey Zelinka, a south Florida native, who figured out he wanted to be a chef while cooking in the United States Coast Guard. He did not attend culinary school, instead getting his education hands-on in demanding kitchens. Babcia’s was a return to Edgewood for Chef Zelinka. He was chef at SoundTable for 2 years and chose it as the location for one of his pop-ups. Chef Zelinka is currently helping to revamp the menu in his new position as Sous Chef at SoHo Vinings.