Hidden Kitchens Are Showing Up Right Here In Corpus Christi, But Who Are They And What Do They Want?
They are called “ghost kitchens” and they only prepare food for delivery. They are booming all across the country during the pandemic and Corpus Christi is no exception.
You’ve likely never heard of “It’s Just Wings” or “Pasqually’s Pizza” in Corpus Christi, but they are real places to get food delivered from that are operated from real restaurants.
No, you can’t go eat there because they are serving food only for the delivery food market.
Their dishes are prepared in kitchens, hidden in commercial spaces that are closed to the public, and despite being hidden in plain sight, you can’t just order up a pizza or some wings. The catch is that they have to be delivered via a delivery service.
These hidden kitchens have been around for a couple of years in bigger cities, but here in Corpus Christi the business is really starting to find its sweet spot.
“It’s Just Wings” operates out of the Chili’s at SPID and Staples. “Pasqually’s Pizza” is coming at you from hidden deep inside Chuck E. Cheese. When you order them up the delivery drivers go to those locations and are sometimes sworn to secrecy about even where the location is.
The delivery packaging indicates either the pizza joint or the wing shack. There will be nothing indicating that it came from these “hidden kitchens” right here in our community.
Here in Texas, some restaurants were forced to close for weeks, others were later allowed to open with reduced capacity, and many consumers have decided it best to just remain at home. With all of this everything has been pointing towards increased demand for delivery and that’s what led us to these hidden little restaurants.
Some companies are offering restaurateurs kitchens, support to manage orders and advice on developing their brands.
The business is booming.
These little hidden kitchens operate without the waiters and managers needed to run traditional restaurants and that can mean lower overhead while the little business builds its brand.
While there are uncertainties in the hidden kitchen food market the game is allowing startup restaurants to build somewhat of a cult following but like with everything big corporations are taking advantage of the situation.
Brinker International expanded its virtual It’s Just Wings brand, making the DoorDash app-based menu available systemwide. Brinker owns the Chilis brand and that’s why they operate from the SPID location.
The “It’s Just Wings” menu is available exclusively through DoorDash and they keep it simple by offering only three varieties of wings: boneless, bone-in, and smoked. Interesting enough, the smoked wings are cooked in the same smokers used for Chili’s baby back ribs.
You also get a side of curly fries and ranch, along with 11 other dipping sauce options.
Back in March Chuck E. Cheese, quietly launched a brand identified as Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on Grubhub. Turns out that the Pasqually’s brand is the same exact pizza, wings and deserts that you could always get from Chuck E. Cheese. The product quality was absolutely no different and investors and franchise owners have scoffed at the bad joke played on consumers by the brand.
The only hardly noticeable difference to the menu is giant cheesy bread, twice baked wings (spicy korean BBQ, honey hot, lemon pepper & chili lime dry rubs), and an iced brownie for dessert. Chuck E. Cheese says their Pasqually’s brand is aimed for a more “adult taste,” but consumers here in Corpus Christi and around the country have yet to buy into it either.
We don’t know exactly how many of these hidden delivery kitchens are operating here in Corpus Christi and with the rapid expansion it might be hard to get a solid number on. But you can always keep an eye out on your favorite delivery app to see when a new one pops up around town.