Community caterers strike gold in lemonade – NBC Connecticut
Two young men from New Haven have created a new lemonade that is taking off and could become a summer staple.
“They’re selling out too fast, extremely fast,” said Brian Burkett-Thompson, co-founder of Eat Up LLC.
Burkett-Thompson and her Eat Up co-founder Kristen Threatt have put gold in their new drink.
“We knew there would be buzz, but we didn’t think the buzz would be like it is now,” Threatt said. “People are calling like crazy; they want those gorilla lemonades.
They say they chose the “gorilla” because of the trust, friendliness and family that are important to the animal. They say those same traits are in them.
They founded Eat Up LLC in 2019. The catering business serves Italian-inspired soul food at community and private events around New Haven.
“Right now I have a carbonara with fried chicken breast on it. It’s really, really good,” Burkett-Thompson said.
So the idea was to offer a drink to make a complete meal for customers. Burkett-Thompson developed the lemonades and they began stocking them at Andalouse Fresh Shop on Howe Street. Owner Ammar Chekhess said it didn’t last long.
“It’s really very fast. Almost like every day, I need an order,” Chekhess said.
And it’s all natural, handmade.
“Honestly, it will probably take me close to two and a half hours to finish an entire batch, or about 80 bottles,” Burkett-Thompson said.
They say it’s worth it. At the moment they are at Andalouse on Howe Street and at Mama Bear’s Kitchen in Waterbury.
All the work with the lemonades and catering gives them money to give back to New Haven. They’ve held chili cooking competitions, donated back-to-school supplies, distributed Christmas gifts and helped a victim of the Hamden fire.
Their slogan: community rather than competition.
“It just brings a little light to New Haven,” Threatt said. “Instead of all the negativity happening, we’re changing the narrative of what community is and who we are.”
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And they said their hard work and drive is now an inspiration to others.
“Seeing this now means a lot to me because I never expected it to happen this way,” Burkett-Thompson said.
“We’ve done a lot within the community so far and we still have a lot to do,” Threatt said.