The iconic Sam’s Snack Bar in Misquamicut, RI is starting the next chapter in her story. Originally started by Sam Castanza and run for many years under his leadership, the torch was passed to Norm Dufresne – who ran the snack bar for many years. Meanwhile, many years later, Kurt Soukup, who happened to be 1,646 miles away, was looking to bring his culinary knowledge back to the area he grew up in.
Kurt Soukup entered the fun and exciting culinary world at the tender age of 14. The way he told the story goes like this: “We were driving by a restaurant called The Lakeside Inn in Wilbraham, MA, and I wanted to work there. I wore a three-piece suit to the interview (he was 14, mind you), and got the job.”
Kurt worked his way up from the dishwasher to manage the show, and then it was time to move on to another adventure. It was this decision that brought him together with Rupprecht Scherff, who was the owner at The Student Prince and Fort in Springfield, MA. Rupprecht became a mentor to Kurt and taught him many lessons that Kurt still carries with him to this day. The main take-away that Kurt learned was loyalty – loyalty to his staff and customers – which translates into his sense of hospitality.
Kurt soon met Kelly who became his wife and business partner, and they have owned several successful restaurants in Massachusetts and Connecticut. After discussing their culinary career, one place they always wanted to open a restaurant was in the Caribbean. Soon they were searching and found a place called Bananas located in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and purchased the local spot about eight years ago. They have been running it ever since.
Looking forward, Kurt and Kelly knew that they would like to retire back in New England and started looking to build the foundation for the next chapter in their lives. After some searching, they were able to purchase a home in Westerly and a business at the beach.
Kurt is a farm-to-table chef and he plans to bring this concept to Sam’s Snack Bar in Misquamicut. They do not plan to change the menu, as people have come to expect certain things when they go to the beach. They will keep the same hours – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week. The plan is to build a basic menu – sandwiches, wraps, etc., all made from scratch, and run numerous specials so they can test the market and let the market dictate the menu.