Jim Hamilton has had a burrito business on his mind for a while, but was too busy touring with Phish as the band’s chef to give it his full attention.
He can thank the pandemic for giving him the nudge to dive in.
Hamilton recently rolled out Sous Casa, a frozen burrito delivery company based in Richmond. The concept was an idea pitched by Hamilton’s business partner, but one he didn’t get around to until the coronavirus led to the end of his employment with Phish.
“When the pandemic hit and my job abruptly ended, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to try it,” he said.
Sous Casa sells burritos, enchiladas and burrito bowls through its website. Items run $3 to $4. After customers place their orders, the company drops them off during its twice-a-week delivery runs. Each order requires a minimum of four items.
“It’s a stock up and put in your freezer kind of thing,” Hamilton said.
The company delivers orders itself with a truck outfitted with freezers. While there isn’t currently an on-demand delivery option, Hamilton said one might be introduced in the future.
Hamilton kicked off his culinary career in Richmond restaurants such as Kuba Kuba, Proper Pie Co., and Millie’s. More recently, he’s been on the road cooking for musical acts. Hamilton has cooked for Jay-Z, Beyonce, Jon Bon Jovi and other performers.
Hamilton and his business partner, who wishes to be anonymous, have invested around $60,000 in the venture, using money from their own pockets and family loans. Hamilton runs the company full-time and has two part-time employees.
Sous Casa, which launched in June, cooks its food in commercial kitchen space at Hatch Kitchen RVA, a food and beverage company incubator near Manchester.
In addition to more traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex styles, Sous Casa also has plans for Indian- and Asian-inspired creations. The menu also includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
“(Burritos are) fun and flexible,” Hamilton said. “You can put so much into them.”
Sous Casa plans to expand its delivery area beyond the Greater Richmond region into other cities.
“There are a lot of houses out there with a lot of people who like convenience,” Hamilton said. “The sky’s the limit on this.”
Sous Casa is one of several unconventional food concepts to launch during the pandemic:
• Dunharrow Concepts and Kevin Liu, owner of The Jasper, have launched ghost kitchens in town.
• RVA BBQ Tours have put a socially distanced spin on food tours.
• Boxed + Bagged RVA is offering prepared lunches for students at private schools that won’t serve lunch this fall.