Holland Lawrence knows a thing or two about fermentation. As the former head brewer at Ranger Creek, Lawrence was responsible for some of San Antonio’s most innovative and award-winning beers. Now he is building on those skills for a new project — a food truck devoted to sourdough pizza and bagels.
Wild Barley Kitchen Co. will start popping up at craft breweries around town starting in September. Lawrence tells CultureMap the project will offer dinner on Friday and Saturday nights and brunch on Sunday, and will be available for private events on weekdays.
Although he is still tinkering with the menu, Lawrence says Wild Barley will have approximately six regular pies, a weekly special, and an array of house salads, including a Caesar with bagel croutons.
The sourdough bagels will be sold as sandwiches or alone with cream cheese. Options will include white, wheat, cinnamon raisin, and rotating monthly varieties such as rosemary or jalapeño cheddar.
Baking sourdough was a natural next step for the beer maker who says he first got into bread as a hobby using a 25-year-old family yeast starter.
“I got into baking sourdough from my aunt one Christmas,” says Lawrence. “She always bakes every family a loaf of white or cinnamon raisin. I loved the flavors so much I asked how she made and she shared her yeast culture with me.”
The hobby grew into a business, however, after Lawrence and his friend Marc Fogelsong began working on another concept — a brewpub they had been planning since college.
After Fogelsong moved to San Antonio to start working on that project, Lawrence gave him part of the yeast starter. Fogelsong dived headlong into pizza making, even getting a part-time job at a pizzeria to hone his craft.
The final piece of the puzzle came as the friends started working on the brewpub business plan. Lawrence took a trip to Canada and discovered Montreal bagels, a style that is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-burning oven.
After seeing long lines at Oakland, California’s Beauty’s Bagel Shop and New York City’s Black Seed Bagels, Lawrence knew the Montreal style would be a hit in Texas.
“I just knew we needed a way to tie all of this together,” he says, while admitting he was overthinking it. “When I told Marc about bagels, he said, ‘Don't brewers typically work early in the morning? Why don’t we just open for breakfast as well?’”
Lawrence says that Wild Barley will also add a lunch service in the upcoming months.
In addition to opening a food truck, Lawrence said that he and Fogelsong still have plans for the brewpub. In fact, the trailer will allow them to familiarize locals with the brand as they search for a warehouse to build out the brewery.
Until then, San Antonians can follow Wild Barley on Instagram to find out where it will be parked next.