Combine the expertise of a successful real estate career and the experience from 30 years of acclaimed professional cooking and kitchen management, and you have just the team to create a beautiful, successful restaurant in the perfect location, location, location.
Through the combined artistic skills of Sandra Morris and Chef Brett Hulbert, Portabellos of Kennett Square is a treat for the senses beginning with beautifully landscaped front entranceway with outdoor tables to the warm, inviting dining area and culminating with taste delights from cocktails and appetizers through entrees and desserts. And that’s not just one person’s opinion: the business has been well received and solidly supported by the Kennett Square community.
Chef Brett spent 20 years as a chef in New Jersey in various positions such as executive sous chef at the House of Blues in Atlantic City’s Showboat Casino overseeing 14 kitchens and a staff of 28. He was also chef at Resorts International for two years and then chef at Trump Marina Hotel and Casino for another 13 years, and then was Chef all kitchens at the Golden Inn in NJ. After New Jersey, Brett and his partner Sandra decided Kennett Square was the place to establish their own eatery.
Portabellos began in 2011 at a previous location on State Street, and then moved to a larger location a few blocks away in April 2019. Featuring American cuisine with international overtones, the restaurant’s solid reputation grew rapidly and gross revenue at their new location doubled in less than a year.
And then along came COVID and restaurant restrictions caused complete closure for 4 months. “A ton of food went to waste, we had to lay off our entire staff… it was a scary time,” Brett said. After just three weeks, Brett and Sandra were able to bring part of the team back and begin take-out and curbside service that brought in about 25% of the pre-COVID revenue – enough to pay the kitchen staff.
Sandra and Brett received a small loan from True Access Capital’s Kennett Square Community Relief Fund for working capital to supplement the income they were able to generate during COVID. “We lost a lot of money,” Brett said, “and even with the PPP loans to help with salaries, we were struggling. A lot of our clientele is an older demographic, and those folks stayed close to home until they got vaccinated.”
Then, when Kennett Square closed off State Street for outdoor dining, customaers flocked to the 25 available tables. Chester County residents have embraced immunizations, and some 80% of residents are fully vaccinated, “one of the highest percentage of vaccinated residents in counties in the nation,” he said. Brett is grateful to the Historic Kennett Square main street program for their support during this difficult time.
Now as restrictions are being lifted, it looks like clear skies ahead for Portabellos of Kennett Square.