When the Food Truck Depot opened at 59 Potter St. in 2019, the Scratch Italian food truck and its menu of handmade pasta, sauces, sandwiches, and meatballs quickly became one of the site’s mainstays. Now, the food truck has become a permanent on-site fixture after moving inside into the kitchen of what is now known as the Delaware Public House.
Homestead Beer Company took over the property in the spring, utilizing the site to house its third central Ohio brewery location. Following a similar business path to the Cherry Valley location in Newark, which also hosts Slab Kitchen, Homestead hoped to identify a food business to occupy the kitchen inside the brewery.
“We make really good beer and that’s about the extent of our expertise,” Jeff Wright of Homestead Beer Company told The Gazette. “We don’t do food, and we don’t want anything to do with food. That’s one of the concepts behind the Food Truck Depot; We’re going to provide great beer, and then we’re going to let these food trucks come in and provide really good food for folks. Scratch is one of our favorites, and they are there all of the time.”
Wright added, “First and foremost, their food is fantastic, and that really made it a no-brainer. The other part of it is Homestead is looking to make this a model. We do the beer, and then we have a kitchen where we’d love to give an opportunity to these food trucks that are looking for a brick-and-mortar location.”
For Scratch Italian owner Andrew Notturniano, starting the food truck in 2019 marked his first foray into the food business. While the goal, like most food truck businesses, was always to eventually move into a brick-and-mortar location, the timing of its opening relative to the ongoing pandemic made the next step forward less certain.
“That’s always the goal, to have a brick-and-mortar place,” Notturniano said. “Opening right before the pandemic, we really just didn’t know which way it would go. Really, up until the very last three weeks before we opened inside (the brewery), we weren’t sure if we were going to get another truck and try to tackle more than one location or we were going to hang back and focus on a kitchen and expanding the menu.”
Scratch Italian held its grand opening inside the Delaware Public House on Dec. 23 and has had a good reception over its first week of in-house operations. Notturniano said he and his master chef, Nicholas Notturniano, are excited to begin focusing on expanding on the menu now that they have the appropriate space to branch out. Among their plans for additional menu items is adding a few more sauces to the three currently used, as well as an Italian beef sandwich that will be made using Homestead beer.
“It’s definitely more efficient,” Notturniano said of operating in a kitchen. “Now that we have more space, we can have a few more hands back there and expand our menu a lot more. So we’re really excited. It’s a fun challenge to get used to because it’s a lot of adjustments.”
In addition to expanding their own menu, Notturniano said Scratch Italian will be partnering with local favorite Ciao Cafe to offer patrons a line of desserts.
The partnership will be the name of the game for both Scratch Italian and Homestead Beer Company, both of whom stand to benefit from the other’s presence. Notturniano feels that each element of the Delaware Public House being able to focus solely on what it does best will maximize the quality of the experience to the ultimate benefit of the customer.
“Now that we’re inside, we’re going to be working even more closely with Homestead because they’re having events all the time … It’s going to be a partnership for sure. It’s nice for Homestead because they don’t have to worry about the food, and I don’t have to worry about the bar. We kind of divide and conquer, so that might make it a bit easier on all of us. It made the deal easier to say yes to, that’s for sure.”
Wright noted that outfitting a kitchen can get quite expensive, and the decision to offer the kitchen to Scratch was made even easier given its simple need for the additional space more than an elaborate kitchen setup.
Notturniano went on to say of the partnership between the two businesses, “We’re just trying to get the word out to everyone that we’re trying to improve the east side of Delaware and offer something that is really cool and fun for everybody. It’s a great place to get great food and great beer while having a great time.”
Notturniano said he still intends to keep the food truck in operation, and he hopes to be getting a food trailer to be able to run around to various locations.
“We’re excited to continue serving Delaware,” he said. “They’ve been super supportive to us, and we can’t thank our customers enough for their continued support. They’re the reason that we’re here. We come to work every day because we feel that they feel the love in our food, and we’re thankful to have this opportunity to expand and improve the east side of Delaware.”
Scratch Italian is open from 5-9 p.m. every day, and the hope for Notturniano is to expand those hours once he can hire more hands in the kitchen.