The City of Bangor plans to create a collaborative commercial kitchen space for entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry with the help of $1.1 million in federal grants and other fundraisers.
The project, tentatively called Central Kitchen – Bangor, will be located at 50 Cleveland St. in Bangor in a renovated 5,000 square foot site.
“Although the city has not finalized the operational details of the central kitchen…there will be some similarities to the Fork Food Lab,” in Portland, said Steve Bolduc, economic development officer for the city of Bangor.
“There will be several kitchen users; it will be aimed at newcomers to the food and beverage industry. It will provide equipment and operational premises to its customers and it will maintain close relationships with agricultural producers in the Bangor region,” said Bolduc.
The aim is to start the project in 2022, but the exact timetable has not been set.
Although the project is still an empty space, Bolduc said the city has already been contacted by a number of people in the food and beverage industry who want to lease the space.
“Bangor is surrounded by farms and there has been an influx of acreage over the past five to eight years. We want to work with the local farming community on this,” Bolduc said.
The kitchen could potentially be open 24 hours a day to allow users with different shifts and different time sensitivities to rent the space as needed.
“If you operated a food truck or offered breakfast items, you would need very early hours. Whereas someone cooking dinner would have different needs,” Bolduc said.
Central Kitchen will have modern, energy-efficient equipment, he said.
The kitchen space is interested in having partner projects, such as a focus on women or indigenous peoples or people newly released from prison who have an interest in the food and beverage sector. They could use the space to help each other grow, network, learn best practices and get help with hiring and training, Bolduc said.
Those plans are preliminary and could change, but these specialty groups could use the commercial kitchen as a launch pad for their growth, he said. Central Kitchen – Bangor will likely seek grants to help launch the specialist groups, he said.
“If all of this comes to fruition, Central Kitchen could be a great first step in helping bands grow in this industry. It could be a food and beverage business incubator,” Bolduc said.