For as long as he can remember, trips to Market have simply always been a part of life for Josh Funk.
He fondly recalled Saturday visits with his family, “I grew up here in Lancaster, so when I was a kid, going down to Market pretty much every Saturday with my parents, getting penny candy, was a big deal.”
So when Josh and his brother, Jake, bought Annie Bailey’s in 2013, it was only natural for them to utilize Market, especially given their close proximity, in a way that made sense. Josh said, “Market serves such a valuable purpose within the City, and community at large, that I felt like we had to incorporate it.”
Sourcing from smaller vendors for a restaurant of Annie Bailey’s size and customer volume comes with its own unique challenges, but Josh and his team see that as a way to spark menu creativity.
Josh said, “We do this interesting group crowdsourcing process. We have a Thursday Meeting weekly with all the back-of-house managers, all the front-of-house managers, myself, my brother, and our marketing manager, Mike. It’s really kind of a collaborative group-think to get the menu there.” The conversation typically revolves around what they’ve personally eaten recently that’s resonated with them, where they’ve eaten, what’s in season at that time, before coming up with menu items that they feel will be home runs with patrons at Annie Bailey’s.
An important topic always included in this conversation is what is available at Market. While they have staple Market ingredients in dishes on their full-time menu, like horseradish from Long’s and cheese from S. Clyde Weaver, their fully Market-sourced dishes get to shine on their specials menu.
Not only do they get to connect their patrons with the freshness of Market, but there is an ease and creativity unlike with other menu items that Josh loves, saying, “Our thought process, through our specials, is that we can make it whatever we want. It’s seasonal. It’s very ‘what’s available.’”
That flexibility of sourcing from Market is something that led them to experiment on their bar menu, too. It started last Summer as a way to connect with the community and support the efforts of the Central Market Trust during the Raise the Roof campaign.
Josh shared, “Cocktails are simple, because you can source one ingredient, or two ingredients, so we came up with the Central Market Cocktail program last Summer. We donated a dollar from each drink.” Mike, their marketing manager, chimed in, agreeing, “It’s been easier for us with the bar, because those are specific ingredients.” They ultimately sold more than 1,600 cocktails as part of the program, from which the Central Market Trust so gratefully benefited.
Many of the cocktails were a total hit, being that they were well-composed and locally sourced, which encouraged Annie Bailey’s to keep the ball rolling, just under a new, perfectly Lancaster moniker, Farm-to-Glass Cocktails.
Josh and Mike both emanated a sense of pride in being able to connect Annie Bailey’s with Market in special ways, each noting how unique it is to have such a culinary hub right in the heart of the City, and we are equally proud to be a resource to them and the entire Lancaster community.
Toward the end of our chat, Josh made a perfect connection between Annie Bailey’s and Market. He said, “The Irish pub is a timeless concept, just like Market. And I think that is what makes it so endearing. And you know, Lancaster is big on tradition, and it’s just one of those things that has endured the test of time, and it’s still cool. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student or 75 years old or from another country, you feel welcome there.”
We couldn’t agree more, Josh. Slainte!