Walking into Whole Foods one day, I noticed a small store front that had several tables full of people eating outside. I hadn’t seen it before, so I decided to walk over to check it out (since it looked popular). Hot Krust Panini Kitchen was the name of the place and my immediate reaction was that’s an interesting name, and it also looked pretty good. I made a mental note to come back and have lunch here.
Last week my wife and I ate at Hot Krust Orlando and thoroughly enjoyed our experience. The interior is very nice – modern and clean. The menus above the register are flat panel LCD screens which adds to the decor. Your immediate reaction is that the sandwich descriptions look delicious. If you read any of the material or talk to the staff, they’ll immediately tell you about how the items are all made with fresh ingredients. All meats are roasted in-house and are not processed. No preservatives. No hormones. All good stuff.
I tried the Florentine Chicken which is a hot panini with Roasted Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes, Havarti Cheese, Spinach, Lite Mayo & Pesto Sauce. I opted for the multi-grain bread, sweet potato waffle fries and a drink. The total was just over $10. A very reasonable price for the amount and quality of food. The sandwich tasted very fresh. The sweet potato waffle fries (baked, not fried) were delicious. My wife ordered a salad with pineapple crusted tilapia on top and she loved it.
There are several reasons I want to go back to Hot Krust (and will in the near future). First, I’m anxious to try other sandwiches on the menu (several looked really good from the dsecriptions). Second, the price point is very good for what you get. Lastly, the food is fresh and of high quality. I’m hooked after one visit.
Because I was excited about the new restaurant, I decided to contact the owner to learn a little bit more about what they are doing over at Hot Krust:
OB: Why did you start Hot Krust?
HK: I’m a business developer. I open new concepts or existent franchise businesses, make them profitable and sell them. However, HK is somewhat special. For one, my family and I love a good sandwich but, unfortunately, there wasn’t any place making sandwiches made with only freshly roasted meats with No additives, No preservatives, No Hormones, No nitrate and other bad stuff that are injected into most of the deli meats. Thus, I spent many months researching a way to make it possible to roast all the meats in-house and using only high quality products and, most importantly, at very affordable prices. Two, I wanted to involve the whole family to help me accomplish it. My daughters came up with the name of the business and the name of most of the sandwiches. My wife developed most of the recipes.
So, the main reason was to provide my family a healthier meal using NO additives, NO Preservative, NO grease, NO butter and NO trans-fat (even our Sweet Potato Fries and Waffle Potato Fries are not really fried. they are baked to order). Moreover, I wanted to involve the whole family in this business.
OB: How would you describe your daily approach to serving customers at Hot Krust?
HK: I want my customers to feel that “The Good Old Times” is back. The times when fresh really meant fresh; the time when customers were treated with respect; the time when businesses don’t cut corners to make a quick bulk; the time when businesses used to close Sundays for family time.(HK closes Sundays).
OB: Do you have plans to add future locations in Orlando or elsewhere?
HK: My goal is to make sure this business is very profitable and establish the proof of concept before expanding.
Hot Krust is located at 8015 Turkey Lake Rd #200 (next to the Whole Foods).