Sussex County officials this week formally opened a new ‘kitchen incubator’ aimed at small commercial operators.
The kitchen had a soft launch this past spring on the Delaware Tech-Owens Campus in Georgetown, and is now in full operation.
The 1,800-square-foot commercial-grade kitchen is the result of a years-long collaborative effort among the County, Del Tech, and the State of Delaware to create a working space for caterers, food truck operators, and other smaller businesses without a commercial-grade kitchen.
Such a facility is a requirement for food preparation and sale under Delaware’s licensing requirements for vendors, and often means small businesses have to use space during off hours at restaurants, in fire halls and church kitchens, or other licensed facilities.
“Lack of space and the tremendous overhead costs to create their own kitchen is something food vendors have told us time and again,” said William Pfaff, the county’s economic development director. “We believe the kitchen incubator is a way to help meet that need, to provide the catalyst, the yeast as it were, so these entrepreneurs can cook up their success.”
More than two dozen vendors are or soon will begin working through the space. Vendors using the space must become members of the incubator, paying fee and a per-hour charge for kitchen use. Up to three businesses can operate inside the incubator space at any time.
The restaurant-food service industry has long been a major employer in the fast-growing county, with more businesses operating on a yearound basis.
For more information on the incubator, visit www.sussexkitchende.com.