Get Licensed  – Arkansas Occasions

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Kreg Stewart had no intention of baking pizzas final August when he rented an area in Arkitchen — a 5,000 sq. foot shared business kitchen house providing caterers, bakers and meals truck house owners an incubator to develop their meals companies.

Stewart’s objective was to start out a meal prep firm, however his plans modified all of a sudden over his birthday weekend after his pal Harlem Wilson, a selfmade pizza hobbyist, made him a pizza.

“I imply, actually the primary chunk I bit into, I used to be like, ‘Harlem, brother, why are you not promoting this? Why are you not doing something with this? We must always undoubtedly be doing one thing with this.’ ”

Stewart thought of Wilson’s pizza the remainder of the weekend. He talked to his spouse about it.

“I used to be like, ‘Babe, I actually suppose that is what I’m alleged to be doing.’ ”

The choice was simple, Stewart stated. A meal prep enterprise would have fluctuating meals prices, as a result of totally different kinds of weekly meals would name for a rotating ingredient listing. With pizza, although, he’d have a gradual listing of components (salt, yeast, flour, pizza toppings) and comparatively low meals prices.

Stewart didn’t waste any time. He approached Wilson the next Monday they usually got here up with the title Licensed Pies, and dreamed up a menu that pays homage to the music they get pleasure from: The “Al Inexperienced, the “Remix,” the “Mixtape,” or the “Clean Operator.”

Beginning out “was very attention-grabbing,” Stewart stated. “We had no clue about making dough in greater batches versus making it at residence.”

They did a variety of analysis on YouTube and spent a pair months engaged on recipes. They opened up the primary week of October, turning into the primary ghost kitchen pizza idea in Arkitchen and the one Black-owned pizza enterprise in Little Rock. “We’re striving to be not solely the primary Black-owned pizza firm in Little Rock, however top-of-the-line,” Stewart stated. “We’ve been doing it ever since by way of trial and error and simply pushing by way of. It’s been a lot enjoyable constructing it.” Stewart stated lots of people requested him why he was opening a brand new enterprise in the course of a pandemic.

“I truthfully simply stepped out on religion and perception,” he stated. “One thing simply informed me that is what I’m alleged to be doing, and after I consider in one thing, I at all times transcend overboard.”

Stewart and Wilson are each from Southwest Little Rock. They’ve been pals since attending Cloverdale Center College collectively. “We had been pals, finest pals, earlier than we began this firm, and it’s been a simple transition into being enterprise companions collectively and constructing this firm the way in which we wish it to be constructed. We’re brothers, so he can inform me sure issues in sure methods different folks can’t, if that is sensible. He can come to me and say, ‘you’re messing up, you’re not doing proper.’ I can do the identical factor for him, and we simply perceive, it’s a workforce effort, no person takes it to coronary heart — it’s all about simply rising and constructing and dealing collectively.”

Since they opened Licensed, they’ve not solely been serving folks from Little Rock but in addition Jonesboro, Pine Bluff and White Corridor, Stewart stated.

“Folks got here from El Dorado this weekend and had been like, ‘We got here only for y’all.’ It’s simply wonderful to witness and be part of all the pieces that’s occurring proper now,” Stewart stated.

As a result of they’re figuring out of the Arkitchen house, they will solely provide curbside pickup and supply, which they do by way of third occasion apps Chew Squad and DoorDash. Along with being the chief chef and recipe guru answerable for making dough and scratch-made sauces, Wilson additionally works full time on the Dee Brown Library in Southwest Little Rock. Licensed’s fry prepare dinner, Mark Nelson, additionally has a full time job, as does Stewart’s spouse and co-owner, Samantha Stewart, who additionally serves as Licensed’s entrance of home supervisor. To make all of it work, Licensed is just open a number of days per week.

Licensed Pies is positioned at 9813 W. Markham St. within the procuring heart that homes Fuller & Sons {Hardware} and Andy’s Restaurant. For choose up orders, you pull across the again of the constructing and park in one of many designated curbside spots.

A buyer ready on an order talked to us by way of the window of his automobile and was excited to strive Licensed as a result of he’d heard a lot about it. One of many issues we’ve been listening to about are the Licensed Fact Wings — wings which might be fried and tossed with Fact Sauce, a candy warmth sauce made domestically by Little Rock native Keith Tucker Jr. The sauce is new to the condiment scene; it’s been round for a couple of yr and half however is now bought domestically in 30-plus shops. Licensed sells it by the bottle. It’s a improbable wing sauce, and I discovered myself wanting to explain the wings after every chunk. “Oh wow. Good texture, simply barely breaded…nice steadiness of candy and warmth …”

Brian Chilson
Fact Wings

I admitted to Stewart that I’d shamefully opened the fridge that evening at 11 p.m. and ate a Fact Wing chilly out of the fridge. (It was outstanding).

“Man, you aren’t the primary particular person to inform me that,” he stated. “I had a man textual content me at like two o’clock within the morning and was like “Kreg, I’m consuming them chilly and they’re hearth, man …’ I used to be like, ‘Man, go to mattress. Why are you texting me about wings proper now?’ ”

The pizza crust at Licensed is skinny however not like a crispy cracker. It has a pleasant, mushy texture and has a refined buttery garlic taste. Licensed’s hottest pie is the “Boss Hog,” made with home tomato sauce, a 5 cheese mix, pepperoni, sausage, beef and bacon. The “Clean Operator” encompasses a house-made ranch sauce base, a 5 cheese mix, rooster and bacon crumble.

Brian Chilson
Clean Operator

The “Al Inexperienced,” has an Alfredo base with a 5 cheese mix, rooster, spinach and tomato. You can even construct your personal pies.

Brian Chilson
Harlem Wilson

Licensed additionally presents quite a lot of different wing flavors together with “Mark’s Gold” (honey mustard), Teriyaki, “Sizzling Rattling” (mixture of Fact Sauce/Frank’s Sizzling Buffalo sauce), Garlic Parmesan and “Nation Fried” (tossed with Fact Dry Rub). Licensed additionally has a boneless wing possibility.

Different appetizers equivalent to breadsticks and cheese bread can be found and calzones with as much as two toppings. There are additionally three salads: a chef, a crispy rooster and a backyard.

Stewart stated the objective is for Licensed to ultimately have its personal brick and mortar location.

“We’re maxing out the house in ArKitchen. Actually, we will’t deal with anymore than what we’re doing proper now. It’s powerful as a result of we need to do extra,” he stated. “It’s arduous while you’re sharing an area with 25 different companies. … However we need to hold this going so we will have our personal house and folks can come dine in, and I can really meet the folks which have been shopping for our meals as a substitute of simply being within the kitchen on a regular basis. It’s a troublesome state of affairs to be in proper now, however we’re pushing by way of.”

Licensed has definitely created a buzz in a brief period of time. The primary time I attempted to order from there was a Saturday round 5 p.m. they usually had been already bought out for the day. The following week, I known as earlier round 2 p.m. and mainly reserved an order for later that night.

Stewart stated that individuals typically ask him who does their advertising.

“It’s simply me,” he stated, laughing. “I’ve been bringing the town together with me so far as constructing. I don’t cover something.”

Stewart stated that generally folks inform him that he’s too clear.

“I’m very clear relating to Licensed Pies as a result of I would like folks to see us from the place we at the moment are to the place we’re going to be. It’s vital. I really feel like in the event that they see the place we’re coming from, they usually really feel like they’re part of the journey, then they’ll take pleasure in it simply as a lot as I do.”

Licensed Pies
9813 W. Markham St.
501-442-5096
5 p.m.-8 p.m. Wed.-Thu.
2 p.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

 

 

 

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