UpStart Kitchen Opens in Sherman Park

Shared commercial kitchen will serve as an incubator for dining and food-oriented startups.

By - Sep 16th, 2020 09:56 am
Opening of UpStart Kitchen. Photo by Ethan Duran.

Opening of UpStart Kitchen. Photo by Ethan Duran.

The 24-hour shared commercial kitchen UpStart Kitchen (4325 W. Fond du Lac Ave.) has officially opened in Sherman Park to serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs with food-oriented businesses. The opening ceremony featured speakers from Prism Economic Development Corporation, Milwaukee County, Ascension Wisconsin and several entrepreneurs.

Prism EDC planned to open the space in spring, but had to delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now UpStart Kitchen opens in the face of food insecurity created by the pandemic and the food desert in the Sherman Park neighborhood. Speakers discussed different ways UpStart Kitchen could address these issues.

Reggie Newson, the Chief Advocacy Officer at Ascension Wisconsin, announced that the organization would donate $50,000 to UpStart Kitchen to provide 6,000 meals to food pantries and the local community on Tuesday morning. The kitchen holds an emergency meals program that has distributed 25,000 meals since the pandemic started.

“We know that during this pandemic, access to healthy meals is being compromised, particularly for those who are vulnerable,” said Newson.

“I’m glad to hear that even more resources are coming to help UpStart to operate in historically underserved communities,” said County Executive David Crowley. “And to provide healthy meals for residents who have limited access to food because of the pandemic.”

Several small business owners were already making a wide range of different foods in the kitchen. Barbecue, fried rice, cupcakes and cauliflower tater tots were prepared on tables and samples were left for visitors to try. The equipment inside is state-of-the-art and includes hot boxes, bread ovens, a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer.

Patricia Jones, the kitchen manager, said that the “incubator” is meant to build people’s businesses from the ground up. UpStart works with entrepreneurs who rent the space, helping with networking, licensing and cost of food. Kitchen space is rented out by the hour, depending on applicants’ zip codes.

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Categories: Business, Food & Drink

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