WINCHESTER — Dishes that Marina DeMedici and Josh Huntsberry have served regionally for the past year from their food truck, Crash Test Yummies, now have a brick-and-mortar restaurant and a full kitchen in which to be produced.
The couple, who started their food truck business in February 2018, recently moved into the spot at 500 W. Jubal Early Drive that was formerly home to Patsy’s Pastry Pizza.
“This spot isn’t the most visible,” Huntsberry said.
Surrounded as it is by office buildings, the restaurant’s unusual location is already paying off in lunch orders, the couple said. And now, with a large, full kitchen, an enlarged staff, and a 30-seat dining room, Crash Test Yummies has room to stretch.
Josh Huntsberry is still house-smoking the briskets and turkey and marinating chicken as the foundation of the sandwich-based menu. Huntsberry produces spice rubs, candies bacon, blends mustard, tosses house-made slaw, and invents condiments and relishes for dishes that blend global flavor profiles.
The Asian brisket sandwich starts with brisket braised in sake, then roasted and piled onto a Kaiser roll with house-made carrot-daikon slaw, pickles and a drizzle of hoisin sauce.
“Everything is super-flavorful,” Huntsberry said. “It punches you in the face. Flavor on flavor on flavor.”
The Cubano, the restaurant’s signature sandwich, starts with spice-rubbed pulled pork and sliced ham, then adds Swiss cheese, pickles and house-blended mustard on a crisped hoagie roll.
Vegetarians might go for the G.O.A.T grilled cheese, which is not made with goat cheese, but house-made pimiento cheese and Havarti, on thick-cut, griddled sourdough bread. The Caprese is also meat-free, made from local tomatoes, house-made pesto, shaved pickled red onions and mozzarella cheese.
Joining Huntsberry in the kitchen now are sister-in-law Laura DeMedici, whose specialty is baking, and Casey Turben, a 2014 Shenandoah University graduate whose professional cooking experience spans more than a decade in Winchester-area restaurants.
A political science and government major, Turben ran unsuccessfully in 2017 for the 29th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Returning to the kitchen afterward brought him back to work he loves, he said.
“One’s a moral crusade, one’s a passion,” Turben said.
The new space will allow Crash Test Yummies to execute some new ideas, including Buffalo chicken, a jerk chicken recipe that involves pineapple, and crab cakes. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, but occasional, seasonal dinners are planned, as is brunch.
Fresh, local products will be worked into the menu as specials, Marina DeMedici said. “The menu will be based on what’s seasonal,” she said.
The couple also plans to use the space as a gallery for local art, and expect to allow whole-house rentals for groups.
And for now, the truck is parked out back.