DC’s Newest Food Incubator Goes Green with Energy Efficiency: Tastemakers Opens Food Hall in Former Brookland Factory

04/19/2018

Washington, DC (April 19, 2018) – Tastemakers DC is proud to announce the official opening of its food hub consisting of a commercial kitchen and food hall in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast DC on Saturday, April 21. While Alchemist Coffee, Bullfrog Bagel, DC Vegan, Taqueria del Barrio, Ball or Nothing, and DC Steakholders have set up mini-restaurants in the food hall alongside the local-focused cocktail bar, food-startups and local chefs are cooking in the shared commercial and demonstration kitchens in the back. The former mayonnaise factory, which spans 9,000 square feet, has been completely rebuilt with energy-efficient equipment to enhance sustainability and reduce the building’s carbon footprint at 2800 10th St NE.

Food entrepreneur Kirk Francis and his wife Juliann, founders of the local Captain Cookie food trucks and bakeries, invested $1.2M building Tastemakers and making it the ideal incubator and shared kitchen space. Looking back on ten years of experience with their home kitchen-to-commercial cookie business – which outgrew multiple shared kitchens and has now two locations, as well as four trucks – they know how difficult it is for food-startups to find quality kitchen space. For them, Tastemakers is about being a catalyst in DC’s food renaissance: “We want to help a new generation of chefs and food entrepreneurs start their businesses and develop their ideas,” said Francis. He envisions Tastemakers DC to be affordable, well-managed, community-oriented, and sustainable. “Think about someone who has an amazing recipe for chocolate truffles. Here they can try it out without facing big risks. If it works, we have space for them to grow.”

Among the 20+ food companies that have already moved into Tastemakers are Republic Kolache and Shrub District. In the food hall, foodies can mingle, eat and indulge in tacos, cheesesteaks, and vegan food as well as local drafts, made-to-order cocktails, and of course, Captain Cookie for dessert.

Next to their passion for food, Kirk and Juliann care about the environment. When renovating the facilities, they incorporated sustainability everywhere possible. “Businesses have a much bigger impact on the environment than residential consumers, so it’s more important for us to operate sustainably. We wanted to minimize our footprint and reduce utility bills,” said Kirk Francis about his motivation to improve the building’s energy efficiency.

Energy Star appliances, LED lighting, double-pane insulated windows, large fans, underground insulation of the walk-in cooler, as well as a new white roof are only some examples of the building’s well-rounded sustainability concept. The Francis’ choices were reviewed and supported by the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), a local nonprofit tasked with reducing the city’s energy consumption by the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). The measures will result in lifetime energy cost savings of more than $100,000 and will prevent the lifetime emissions of more than 600 metric tons of carbon – the equivalent of taking 173 cars of the road for one year.

“The DCSEU applauds Tastemakers for its sustainability efforts. Raising awareness for conscious consumption and enabling small food businesses to reduce their footprint is essential if we want to achieve the District’s larger environmental goals,” said Ted Trabue, Managing Director of the DCSEU. But the Francis’ efforts do not stop at energy efficiency. “We pay a lot of attention to the little things. For example we also compost our food waste, collect rainwater and only use biodegradable corn-based cups,” said Kirk Francis. Their next move is solar – in March 2018 Tastemakers will install panels over 60% of the roof to generate clean energy for 30% to 50% of their total energy consumption.

Find out more: https://tastemakersdc.com/