Creative space sharing makes sense
Photo: Katherine Aras opened The Stuffed Mushroom inside of Bridge City’s Rustic Saloon. RECORD PHOTO:PENNY LELEUX
For The Record
Creative space sharing is a concept that started a decade or so ago. People share jobs and use the same desk, some share community conference space and share costs in office rental. It’s some that makes good sense economically.
The Rustic Saloon and the Stuffed Mushroom are the newest ones on the shared space bandwagon.
Paul Bryant opened the Rustic Saloon in Bridge City, Jan. 11, 2019. Katherine Aras started catering two and a half years ago in Orange and opened to the public in Orange in Aug. 2018.
Aras wanted to test the waters of the lunch crowd in Bridge City. The Rustic Saloon didn’t open until 2 p.m. and has a kitchen. It’s the perfect scenario.
“I always wanted to try to get the lunch crowd to come in,” said Bryant. “There were a couple of other people I had talked to about coming in, but we never finalized a deal.”
“I was thinking of moving here anyway and then when he told me he wanted someone to bring him lunch, I told him I could do that,” said Aras.
“Katherine came to me and we got to talking. She was interested, so here we are,” said Bryant. “I let her come in and start her lunch 11-2, that’s where we’re at now.”
The Stuffed Mushroom has been serving lunch Monday-Friday for the last three weeks and had a ribbon cutting Tuesday.
“So far it’s been picking up a little bit each day,” said Bryant. “It’s a building process and hopefully it will continue to grow where she can maintain what she has and keep going.”
“We’ve had some repeat customers for the Stuffed Mushroom and they also come back for drinks in the afternoon,” said Rustic Saloon bartender Brenda Hebert. “It’s helping our business a lot.”
Aras considers her cuisine as All-American. “We have a lot of pasta dishes, Italian dishes. Tuscan Chicken is one of our specialties. It’s chicken strips in a cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach served over bow tie pasta. We have a stuffed Manicotti on Wednesdays. Then we do cheesy chicken and spaghetti that is not on the menu.”
The menu features starters such as crab and shrimp stuffed mushrooms, sandwiches include a muffaletta with homemade olive dressing, salads such as a pear and cranberry salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. She also has a daily special that runs from $8.95 -14.95.
“We do casseroles to go,” said Aras. She said the cheesy chicken and spaghetti is a favorite. “We try to rotate the casseroles out during the week to let people try it out, but we always have cheesy chicken and spaghetti.”
Any casserole can be ordered in the morning and picked up in the afternoon in Orange, “but we do have some on hand. We have individual ones that start out at $5.95, which a lot of people don’t know and it goes up. The larger sizes you usually always have to order.”
Aras said the individual size is almost 2 servings and the small size is 3-4 servings. Party size casseroles are also available. A holiday menu is coming soon. To order casseroles call 409-670-3144
Hours of the Stuffed Mushroom at the Rustic Saloon are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1195 Texas Ave., Bridge City.
The Pinehurst location is 2000 Strickland. Hours at that location are Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
The bar is open to serve alcohol for lunch in Bridge City. The Rustic Saloon is closed on Sundays. Tore Down will be playing this weekend on Saturday night. Bryant is excited about his new margarita machine. Go check it out.