Ms. Easterbrook, the manager of Hatch, had planned to open a sister bar called Good for Nothing, but she was quick to drop the plan when the pandemic hit. Then Mrs. Easterbrook, a trained florist, and Mr. Kachingwe came up with the idea for Pothead in a late night conversation while they waited for take-out orders at the Hatch. To them, the concept made sense: there was still a demand for flowers and plants, the Hatch’s new outdoor space could attract customers, and they could use the bar’s license to sell wine.
Ms. Easterbrook said the first few weeks had been a success, although Mr. Kachingwe still had a lot to learn. “At first he asked me things like, ‘Should I get more sand for the flowers?'” She said.
Mr Kachingwe has teamed up with the Hatch’s chef, Leonardo Garcia, to make and bottle sauces, including Hatch Fire Ketchup and Hatch Fuego. And he worked with Giacchino Breen, a 23-year-old bartender, on filling cocktails under the new Wolfmoon brand. As part of Mr. Kachingwe’s efforts to empower his employees, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Breen are involved in the sale.
Now, after a year of feared the hatch would never open fully again, Mr Kachingwe said his biggest concern was to welcome customers back into the house. He tries to find out how the sound system can cover both the indoor and outdoor areas and whether indoor customers should order food from the outside window. Until they are given a vaccine, some employees also feel uncomfortable with customers returning to the compact bar.
In fact, Mr Kachingwe said, he prefers the new hatch to the pre-pandemic hatch. With the outdoor seating, “it’s livelier,” he said. “I don’t see things going back to how they were.”
Kirla Oyola-Seal contributed to the coverage.