A new kitchen collective is opening in Downtown Raleigh next month.
For many folks looking to get into the local food and beverage industry, the “secret sauce” is, naturally, a brick-and-mortar. But, sometimes, finding and/or paying for a storefront is the hardest part of the biz to tackle.
Enter The Kitchen Space, a collective of kitchens opening in Downtown Raleigh in July boasting 39 private kitchens and three ghost kitchens. Meeting culinary professionals where they’re at—whether that’s launching a new venture or scaling up an existing business—its mission is to continue to help people grow and expand their concepts into other markets.
“The facility will have anything and everything needed to grow and sustain any type of food business,” explains founder Will Pettis. “Raleigh is an ever-growing city with much demand for commercial kitchen space.”
In addition to establishing a physical space for F&B business owners, The Kitchen Space offers a place for like-minded food entrepreneurs to problem-solve and offer each other support. “I love the challenge of having 40 different businesses coexist under one building and work as a team to help each other grow,” says Pettis.
Born and raised in Durham, Pettis’ experiences in the kitchen started back when he opened his own snack stand as a child living in a foster home. Years later in 2009, he opened his first burger and fry food truck, Will and Pop’s, before the food truck scene really took off. Starting with one truck and ending up with three, he ran them for nine years almost every day of the week. (Talk about blood, sweat and, ahem, grease!)
“When I had my food trucks, I was renting space for a kitchen from a buddy,” Pettis recalls. “I got tired of paying him rent so I rented an old Boston Market building and made it my prep kitchen. A few friends came along and asked if they could use my kitchen for their ‘commissary’ since it’s required in NC.”
The demand Pettis saw propelled him to build his first large kitchen in Durham, serving as a hub for 45 food trucks. They were completely leased before construction finished, which immediately pushed him to search for a new, larger space in Raleigh he could develop. Now, when The Kitchen Space opens it will be the largest commercial kitchen in NC at 20,000 square feet (!).
Ultimately, Pettis hopes that one day the kitchen tenants can transition from ghost kitchens to storefront restaurants. Clearly a recipe for success.