What's the recipe for a successful beachfront eatery?
If King's Kitchen at is any indicator, it takes a combination of passion for organic, locally grown ingredients, determination to flourish, and a dash of camaraderie between brothers.
"It's all about beach food," Carter King, who opened King's Kitchen in June with his older brother, Hunter, said. "We're bringing something to the area that was a void before."
But it wasn't as quite as easy as simply filling a void.
"People didn't think we could do it -- no one has succeeded here before," he said of taking what was once a shack on Southport's shoreline and remodeling it into a workable kitchen and service stand.
"I can't believe we did it. It's been a real learning curve, a really cool process."
Now the shack, painted a blue with turquoise and orange trim and lined with lobster lights, is a beacon for beachgoers and foodies alike.
The King brothers -- who call themselves "We Three Kings" when third brother Parker is included -- grew up in Westport and frequented the Westport Farmers Market.
"It's the best place to get local, organic food," Hunter King said. "The idea was, why not cook all the food we get at the Westport Farmers Market?"
They started out cooking in the back of the farmers market before decided to look for a more "substantial spot to sell organic produce, and give back to the community and small businesses," the older King said.
And so the idea for King's Kitchen was born. The produce comes from the Westport farmers market (specifically from Two Guys from Woodbrige); the fish from local seafood markets and fisheries out of Norwalk.
Menu items range from breakfast (egg sandwiches, pastries), to staples like burgers and hot dogs, to shrimp skewers and pulled pork sandwiches, to smoothies and teas, to various types of fish tacos and the Lobster BLT -- a favorite among customers, according to Hunter King.
King expanded on the fish tacos and the Lobster BLT. A fish taco is served with pineapple grilled slaw and lemon thyme hot sauce. The lobster sandwich is a concoction of lobster, butterhead lettuce, various sprouts and Manchego cheese, served on ciabatta.
Another interesting item to note is the Rwandan black tea -- the first of its kind to be sold in America. Hunter King works at Tea Importers of Westport and the company has a tea plantation in Rwanda, he said.
Offerings change daily -- sometimes several times a day -- based on what's fresh and available.
King's Kitchen will be open through beach season, and the brothers may take the business on the road for the winter in the form of a food truck, and idea they had initially planned to do before the beach shack opportunity.
Carter King hopes people will come and take advantage of the beach -- especially now that there's a place to eat at the beach.
"We're encouraging people to come and have parties. The town brought more chairs and umbrellas," he said. "People love it, we're getting a lot of good feedback."
"People forgot about how awesome [beach food] is."
King's Kitchen is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; closed Mondays. Follow King's Kitchen on Twitter (@BeachKings) for daily menu offerings.