A first-of-its-kind concept in St. Pete is nearing its grand opening in the Warehouse Arts District. Foodie Labs, located on the ArtsXChange campus at 515 22nd St S, is something of a 10-in-1 facility that will serve as an incubator for local chefs, as well as a foodie and arts destination for locals with an appetite for something new.
The new culinary center will provide much needed commercial kitchen space and other resources for area chefs, food truck operators, caterers, and aspiring restaurateurs, while also serving as a virtual food hall, a pop-up restaurant, and an event space, all surrounded by the inspiring and creative art of the neighborhood.
Describing it all feels like a mouthful, though that’s exactly what Foodie Labs will provide. The facility will include eight full commercial cook stations, a main baking station, a professional demonstration kitchen, event space, and a pop-up café experience. There will be room for up to six virtual restaurant residencies, providing an avenue for local entrepreneurs to kickstart their business, while also providing an on-site opportunity to showcase their wares.
Foodie Labs will also offer delivery service for the area, while giving chefs space for test kitchens, along with 24/7 access to the facility. A big part of the plan also involves providing a three-tier mentoring and marketing program for aspiring chefs, food trucks, caterers or any entrepreneur getting started in the food business. This will include necessary certifications, licensing, classes, and networking, as well as resources for food photography, videography, food styling and staging.
Foodie Labs is being opened by partners Jim Pachence and Kristin McKinney Zelinsky, who bring decades of experience to the table. Pachence, a former biotech scientist turned foodie, is the owner and operator of Serious Foodie, which makes sauces and spice rubs inspired by world cuisine. McKinney Zelinsky, a culinary professional with 25 years of catering experience, has been the owner of Pro Kitchen Hub Tampa since 2015.
Both of them saw a need for commercial kitchen space in St. Pete’s burgeoning culinary scene, as well as a lack of support for the people who are driving it. Their vision is about to become reality, with an expected opening of Foodie Labs this April. Stay tuned for more updates, and follow Foodie Labs on Instagram for news on pop-up food experiences.
More from Foodie Labs: “Do you dream of having your own restaurant one day? Have you tested out your concept? If you are not ready for a long term commercial lease commitment, months of permitting, increasing build out and equipment costs… The Foodie Labs is your solution! Try out your concept with us. We provide the space, the equipment, utilities and we market your company! Once you’ve mastered your concept, we have the solid relationships for your next step! We are here to assist you through the entire process start to finish.”