Copperas Cove alum transitions business from food truck to restaurant storefront
By BRITTANY FHOLER
There is something new in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center, with Something In Between’s transition from food truck to restaurant.
Copperas Cove native Kyle Kinder first opened Something In Between as a food truck in October 2019, serving sandwiches, hot dogs and even breakfast items.
He then closed the truck down months later and began the transition to a restaurant, located next to Underground Games in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center.
Something In Between had its soft opening in April 2020 and serves breakfast/brunch items currently.
He said he made the change when he realized he did not enjoy owning and operating a food truck.
“My whole career, my background has always been brick-and-mortar,” Kinder said. “I worked in New York City, and I worked just my whole career in fine dining restaurants and everything, and the food truck was just too far removed from what I was used to, and I wasn’t able to really produce the kind of food that I wanted to produce because the space is so limited. The equipment is so limited and just all the other factors that come in to play when it’s a full unit and the truck and everything is one unit, as opposed to having a trailer.”
With the food truck, Kinder said there were added costs of maintaining the truck - from oil changes to tire replacements to the brakes and gas and propane.
“Just the monetary investment into it, I just really did not enjoy that,” Kinder said. “It was just not for me.”
When he was deciding on a location to open a restaurant, he discovered the suite next to Underground Games had a kitchen already built in, which saved any additional costs he would have incurred otherwise.
As a frequent patron at Underground Games, Kinder said it was also very convenient to have his place located right next door.
“I’m from Cove, and I remember this shopping center as a kid being a lot more booming, and I just thought it would be nice to kind of come back into this shopping center,” Kinder added.
With the location change also comes a menu change.
“The food truck menu was all based on the abilities of what the food truck could handle,” Kinder said. “Here the beginning focal point is breakfast. We just don’t have a lot of breakfast options in Cove, almost at all, so everything is scratch made here.”
Kinder cures his own bacon and grinds his own sausage in-house and bakes all the bread in house.
“There’s really maybe three or four percent of any of the food in this restaurant is not made from scratch,” Kinder added.
Supporting local is important to Kinder. He hopes to eventually have all items locally sourced. He currently sources his greens from Operation Phantom Support, which has an aquaponics system.
“There’s such a divide in the world now, in terms of politics and everybody’s mad at this side of the government or that side of the government but none of that really matters if you’re not really caring about your local community, and your local community can provide and survive if you give them the chance to,” Kinder said.
Some of the best sellers at Something In Between include the chicken and waffles and the belly, egg and cheese, which is Kinder’s take on a classic NYC breakfast- the bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel. Instead of bacon, Kinder uses braised pork belly glazed with maple syrup, with eggs and cheese on a brioche bun.
Another favorite item is the Big Boy - which has pork belly, potatoes, onions, peppers, coffee barbeque sauce, topped with three eggs sunny-side up.
Kinder said his love of food and cooking really started when he was a student at Lovett Ledger Intermediate School, which housed 5th and 6th grades before Copperas Cove Independent School District combined the school with J.L. Williams Elementary and moved 6th grade to the junior highs.
He was placed in choir as an elective but didn’t want to be in choir. He said he got into trouble and was moved to Home Economics as a punishment, but it turned out to be a blessing because he got to make things like cookies. From there, Kinder said he took a home economics class each year for the rest of his school years. At Copperas Cove High School, Kinder was able to take culinary classes at Central Texas College and ended up earning his certificate of completion in Hotel Hospitality and Management before graduating.
After graduation, Kinder attended culinary school and ended up in New York City, where he spent eight years working in fine dining establishments, “plating food with tweezers.”
“I just got tired of it. It was just too over the top and too pretentious and just such a wasteful culture,” Kinder said. “Some restaurants do it well and are able to cross-utilize product, but so often, it’s just trim off all of this, throw it out and use only the little bit that you’ve got left.”
Kinder spent his last three years in New York City, before moving back to Copperas Cove two years ago, working in a gastro pub, which had top-notch food, cocktails and beer.
“That’s kind of where I found myself to be in food is high-end in terms of everything being fresh and scratch-made; presentation is still very important, but you don’t have to scratch your head and figure out how to eat it.”
Kinder said he wants to have approachable foods. Future menu items will include foods and pairings that one wouldn’t expect but will still be approachable, he said.
“That way, people in Cove don’t feel intimidated by the food, and I can still kind of push the boundaries of what’s acceptable here, and the more you push the boundaries, the more people are willing to try and get past that and try more food, and just make more and more cool things and eventually people will just be okay with crazy, off-the-wall food concepts,” Kinder said.
Kinder said he wants his customers to feel comfortable and at ease when they come to eat.
“I want people to be able to know they’re getting this top-quality food but don’t feel like they have to be dressed in any certain way,” he said. “It’s meant to be a family establishment.”
Kinder said he also wants to eventually offer customers the option to buy items like blueberry jam or pork belly in bulk to take home and plans to offer drop catering options as well.
“What we’re trying to do here is just change the dynamic of food in Cove. I feel like everybody is willing to travel to Harker Heights and Killeen to go eat. I’ve not met many people that live over there that are willing to travel to Cove,” Kinder said. “I want Cove to be somewhere where people in Killeen or Harker Heights are like, ‘Let’s go to Cove. There’s a restaurant there that we want to eat at.’”
Something In Between is located at 314 Cove Terrace Shopping Center. The hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, visit the website www.sibcove.com and follow the restaurant on Facebook.