Unique fare at SASS Kitchen
April Schenk, the creator of SASS Sauce, has taken her culinary delight to the next level with SASS Kitchen & Taco Bar, located in Unit C-3 of the Blueberry Crossing shopping plaza at 240 S. White Horse Pike.
Schenk said that her sauce actually started because of her love of making tacos.
“Way back, about six years ago, I was bartending. I worked out a deal with the owner of the bar that, if I started making tacos, I would get a piece of my sales. From there, I created the sauce; then, I was focusing on the sauce but I always had the tacos while I was bartending,” Schenk said.
Schenk started to sell her sauce at various festivals until the pandemic began.
“I lost my bartending job, and all my income was gone. My customers kept calling me and saying, ‘I miss your tacos; I miss your sauce.’ I worked it out with the bar owner to let me go in there on Tuesdays and do build-your-own taco kits so people were coming; we were doing deliveries, too, during the shutdown,” Schenk said.
Schenk then started pop-up events with lite fare, which led to catering.
“Someone had come, they had had my tacos and they enjoyed them. They called me and said, ‘I really love your tacos, but do you do anything fancier?’ I said that I’d been throwing around this idea of a COVID-friendly style of catering. They’re all individual bites in little shot glasses, cups and bowls. He said, ‘Sounds great. Come do your thing; I don’t even need to know what’s on your menu. Show up and make it happen.’ I did that, and the rest is really history,” Schenk said.
Schenk soon needed a larger kitchen to accommodate her growing catering business.
“I had been looking for a while, then this place opened up. It was beneficial that it had this front space; I really was just looking for a kitchen to do the catering out of, not necessarily opening for tacos. But, I had the front space, and this front space—which works out well; we can still work from back there and do food out of the front,” Schenk said.
Schenk used the facility for catering for some time before having her official opening on October 5.
“Everyone really loves the gourmet tacos; that’s the specialty. Of course, we have traditional, American-style tacos, but my specialty is the gourmet taco. We do a specialty taco every week,” Schenk said, noting that favorites include filet mignon tacos and lobster tacos.
One of the draws to SASS Kitchen & Taco Bar is its build-your-own taco bar, which Schenk said she believes is the only one in the area.
“With any food purchase, the build-your-own taco bar comes free. You build up your tacos, or you choose your meat for the tacos or nachos or quesadilla or whatever, and you can fix them however you like with all the different toppings that we have,” Schenk said.
Schenk said that one of the questions she is often asked is why the restaurant is only open on Tuesdays.
“Number one? Taco Tuesday. We’re trying to keep the taco theme relevant, since that’s where everything started. Number two, I’m so busy with the catering schedule that I’m just trying to ease my way into adding another element to the business. I don’t want my catering customers to lose any quality from me being spread too thin—and vice-versa. I want the tacos that I’m putting out to be at the best quality that they can be. I’m trying to ease my way into it, find the right people to assist, and hopefully we’ll be able to add additional days,” Schenk said.
The offerings on Tuesdays include the full taco menu. SASS Kitchen & Taco Bar also has pop-up days, which Schenk called “red-light specials.”
“Most of the time they’ll be on Fridays, but not necessarily every Friday; it really depends on the catering schedule. If I don’t have an event on Friday, I’ll try to pop up. It’s not necessarily tacos; it’s more home-style stuff,” Schenk said.
Schenk said that her plans for the future include renting the restaurant for events for up to 40 people, offering pop-up events with SASS grazing tables and expanding Tuesday hours.
“Right now, they’re noon to 8 p.m. I do plan, after the New Year, to be going 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’ll be all-day tacos. We’ll have breakfast tacos, and we’re also going to have a cereal bar. You can come, mix your cereals and put toppings in it,” Schenk said.
Customer reaction to SASS Kitchen & Taco Bar, Schenk said, has been positive.
“We’ve been packed. It’s been amazing. Everybody’s been really amazing in town,” Schenk said.
For more information, call (609) 666-5649 or visit facebook.com/sasssauce/.