North Charleston commissary kitchen now home to nearly 50 F&B businesses
NORTH CHARLESTON — Restaurant-inside-a-restaurant businesses known as ghost kitchens swept the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but in Charleston few have risen.
Instead, another ghost kitchen has become a household name for food and beverage industry professionals looking for commercial kitchen space to launch their food truck, pop-up or meal delivery service.
A year and a half into its tenure at 3555 Dorchester Road, Ghost Kitchen Commissary has grown its list of tenants — referred to as licensees — to 45. Each food and beverage business has access to one of 10 cooking stations equipped with burners, ovens, grills, griddles and fryers, among other amenities.
Wenger brings decades of experience to the commissary kitchen. In 1991, he purchased Stephen Duvall & Associates Catering from its original owners and remained at its head until selling the company to Dave Byron in 2018. During Wenger’s tenure, Duvall was inducted into the Leading Caterers of America, a prestigious industry group.
Caterers and businesses renting space can utilize Wenger’s consulting services for an extra fee, and those who are accepted into the Ghost Kitchen Grant Program will receive a $1,000 startup credit.
Wenger said an actual ghost kitchen — meaning a takeout or delivery restaurant without its own brick-and-mortar space — could successfully operate inside Ghost Kitchen, and he would welcome the opportunity to help this type of business grow.
Charleston restaurants like Daps Breakfast & Imbibe have launched ghost kitchens inside their own four walls, but that’s about as far as the ghost kitchen concept has gone in the Holy City, aside from a handful of celebrity-owned virtual operations.
“I heard about the ghost kitchen concept that’s already really popular in New York and Cali and different parts of the United States,” Aida Sanchez said. “We found a place and absolutely outgrew it within three months because of the influx of people.”
According to Aida Sanchez, running a ghost kitchen gives the couple time to learn more about the restaurant business without the crippling overhead that comes with a brick-and-mortar location.
They plan to continue testing out their concept with the goal of opening a physical restaurant in the next two years.
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