Chefs Ben Hamrah and Amanda Elliott of Peachtree Catering are opening their bricks-and-mortar Beet Box location at 602 Fay St. on Tuesday.
Tuesdays will mark the regular start of the week for Beet Box, which will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Sunday brunch.
When one space opens, another closes — Hamrah said the Peachtree event space will close next year and will share a kitchen with the new Beet Box location. Peachtree will continue to offer offsite catering.
Beet Box is a “sister operation” to Peachtree that started providing boxed meals to offices and other groups a year and a half ago, Hamrah said. From there, it evolved into pop-up events around town in collaboration with other local businesses.
“We started looking for a brick-and-mortar because it was a niche that we knew we could fill, and we had developed enough of a following that we knew it was a justifiable business,” Hamrah said.
The design of the kitchen, which is set up for the restaurant and for the catering company, is what has taken the longest in the opening process, Hamrah said.
“The transition that’s been the most fun has been switching from all pop-up kitchens set up in people’s yards or in random spaces to having our own kitchen that we designed for this style of service,” Hamrah said.
Tuesday will not be the first time the kitchen has been in use, though. The chefs cooked in the new kitchen for the first time earlier this month for family and staff to practice for the restaurant’s opening, Hamrah said.
Beet Box also had a soft opening this past Tuesday for friends and other people the restaurant has done business with, he said, which amounted to around 75 people. The purpose this time was to prepare the staff for big crowds.
Beet Box sources its ingredients mainly from local farmers, Hamrah said, and its menu will be made up of four staples that will change based on seasonal ingredients — the hummus bowl, falafel, lamb kabob and shawarma. Hamrah said the goal of the restaurant is to help continue to change the way people in Columbia view food.
“It’s really to continue to try and get people to not look at a restaurant or a caterer or anything else for a specific style of service or a specific menu item and more about just going to someone and knowing they’re going to give you a quality experience where food and service is concerned,” he said. “And so that’s something that we’re really excited about.”
The restaurant space will be “open and communal,” Hamrah said, accommodating customers who want to quickly grab their food and go and those who want to stay awhile. As far as location goes, Beet Box will be just north of Logboat Brewing Co.
“The opportunity to be next to them is exciting not only because they’re great people and a great business but because they don’t have food,” Hamrah said. “There’s no food in that area, so it’s exciting to be the first food offering in that neighborhood.
“That neighborhood is developing a lot over the next few years,” he added.
Logboat shares Beet Box’s excitement about becoming neighbors.
“They are some of the most genuine humans and creative minds in the industry,” Logboat manager Andrew Sharp said in an email, “and we’re lucky to have them in our community, let alone right next door to us.”
Hamrah grew up in Columbia and has lived here for the majority of his life. His family is what drew him back after attending school in Chicago, he said, but the collaborative food scene is what’s kept him here.
“It’s really fun to see how many people in the food industry are not competitive but collaborative and love to work together, love to learn from each other,” he said, “love to share with each other.”
Supervising editor is Pete Bland.