SPENCER H. BIBLE, Arts$Entertainment Editor
The thermostat is at 55 degrees, but it’s hot in the Bam Sass Daddy kitchen.
“86 pulled pork!” Ben Siebert’12 shouts over the sound of meat sizzling in pans.
“86 pulled pork!” Nate Fann’12 relays to the next room. Aman Bharti’12 takes note. He’s sitting at a table surrounded by paper bags and styrofoam cups. His ear is glued to a cell phone as he writes down an order and calculates the bill. It seems the 3 a.m. pulled pork sandwich (placed in the oven the night before and slow roasted for twelve hours) is a popular choice.
“That’ll be about a half hour,” Bharti says and hangs up. It’s less than five minutes before the phone starts vibrating again. “Thank you for calling Bam Sass Daddy.”
The place smells amazing. If a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, then these shouldn’t be called sandwiches. I’ve had sandwiches. These are something better.
Fann pulls a baking sheet out of the oven. On top of a layer of tinfoil sit four 3 a.m.’s, cheddar cheese melted to perfection and grilled onions curled around the strings of meat.
“Hot plate!” Fann yells as he navigates around Zoe Gahan’13 and puts the platter down on the table. There’s a lot of communication in the kitchen as Siebert, Gahan, and Fann yell over a stereo blasting Dave Matthews Band.
“We broil all of our sandwiches,” Seibert say as he catches me eyeing Fann brush each one with ample amounts of barbeque sauce.
Bam Sass Daddy opened last semester on Nov 13. It’s an idea that Siebert, head chef and CEO, had been kicking around for a while. “Eventually I got off my lazy ass and did something,” he says. The business has been delivering food to students nearly every Sunday since. It’s the type of rib-sticking, guilty pleasure cuisine that makes you want more. Siebert grew up working at restaurants but most of his expertise comes from watching his family. You can tell that the food offered is what Seibert would like to eat. There’s an obvious pleasure he gets from cooking. “Tomato, pesto, mozzarella, bacon. That’s how you make a grilled cheese b*tch!” Siebert yells to no one in particular, himself maybe.
In late October, Siebert and Bharti made the initial investment for pans, utensils, knives, cleaning supplies, textiles and the first batch of food. Bharti is the CFO and head of customer relations. He answers the phones, takes the orders and keeps track of the finances. Fann was brought in as a kitchen assistant and sandwich artist when they realized the extent of the demand. “We usually sell fifty to sixty sandwiches a week,” Bharti says as writes down an order for Joe Moran’13. Those are typically grouped into twenty-five to thirty deliveries, since most people don’t eat alone, and those who do sometimes want two. Bharti keeps track of all the paper.
Across from him Kei Ishii’12 looks up a customer on FACES @ Beloit. He often assists with the office work and deliveries. “We’re trying to get to know our client base better,” Ishii says. “It’s cool to recognize our customers around campus.”
“Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers starts to play. “F*ck yes,” Matt Siebert, Ben’s younger brother and Bam Sass delivery man, says as he warms up in the kitchen
The staff consists of six people: two chefs, two delivery men, one floater, and one office manager. “Last semester was a lot of market research and putting the system together,” says Bharti. It appears they’ve figured it out. The delivery men cycle in and out of the office, picking up bags of steaming food. The kitchen turns out an order every ten minutes. There’s a definite rhythm to the production.
Siebert starts working on Moran’s sandwich, beating some eggs and preparing the breading. Repeat customers get special treatment if they call at the right time. Theta Pi Gamma orders every week, so they get some special attention. “Theta loves Bam Sass” Fann says as he wraps a Best-o-Pesto (Roasted Chicken, provolone, roasted red peppers, tomato, red onions and basil pesto toasted on ciabatta) in two layers of tinfoil.
The Moran-wich looks like quite an accomplishment. Each slice of bread is close to seven inches long, and Seibert piles it high with provolone and cheddar, all kinds of veggies, and four thick pieces of fried eggplant. It’s weighty, and the foil mists over once it’s been wrapped.
Someone is there to take it away. “Keep it hot,” Siebert says as he turns back to the stove.
Menu items change weekly except for their cornerstone soups and sandwiches. The fryer special (including deep fried pickles and sweet potato fries) is different every week. They’re always thinking of new ways to improve the menu.
“Deep fried chili balls,” Siebert says with a smile. “You freeze chili in ice trays, batter it and deep fry it, put it on a sandwich with Fritos, cheese and sour cream.”
“I would like to see more vegetarian options,” says Fann.
Bam Sass has also begun to cater special events and weekly meetings, including the senior creative writing workshop, and the CELEB student entrepreneurship meeting. “We would love to get more staff events,” says Bharti.
Siebert starts making me a sandwich. “I don’t know what I’m going to do after college, but I’ve been in the restaurant business for a while. This is f*cking fun. We want people to like it and I think they do.”
I eat on the walk home. It’s not the type of thing you can wait to sit down for.