Union Kitchen moved into the space in late November of 2012, taking over what had been the commissary for a chain of local kabob houses. Jonas Singer and Cullen Gilchrist had been looking to expand the kitchen operations for a café they own in the city. But this two-story red brick warehouse situated on a cramped manufacturing block was more space than they needed. So they turned the warehouse – complete with a walk-in freezer, two fridges and prep space for two-dozen entrepreneurs – into a shared kitchen and food incubator. For $500 a month, member chefs get a share of their own prep table, access to communal equipment, pantry shelves, and ingredients at wholesale prices.
In Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger has an essay looking at how the “sharing economy” has expanded in high population cities like Washington D.C., where affordable space is so rare that groups of small businesses are coming together to share space—like Union Kitchen where mole, cupcakes and Kombucha is made by various cooks who wouldn’t have been able to pay for commercial space on their own. We share cars, sitters, books—might as well share kitchen space. What can’t we share?