Back in November, the Oregonian broke the exciting news that Chopped winner Stacy Givens would open a new food business incubator in the Cully neighborhood, less than a mile from Side Yard Farm, the instrumental urban farm, event space, and catering outfit that she’s operated since 2009. Now, according to a lengthy explanation on Kickstarter, it appears those plans won’t come to fruition as initially planned, however Givens is already scheming up solutions.
The shared kitchen space is to be called Community Supported Kitchen (CSK), and it was supposed to open at the closed Delphina’s Bakery address alongside Southern culinary master Maya Lovelace’s new restaurant. The plan was to serve as an affordable launchpad for small local food entrepreneurs to incubate, make, and connect with the bounty the neighborhood has to offer.
“There are homesteaders raising goats and chickens and making their own honey and so much more,” said Givens. “Our vision is to support the hard-working start-up community, to connect chefs and artisans with the amazing food products in the neighborhood, and to make it sustainable.”
But Givens explained that the city’s repeated delays have continued to force CSK’s launch date back to December—“and that’s just a maybe.” Since winter is low season, she’s lost a lot of tenants, and because she can’t open and operate CSK in the red, they have been forced to move on to consider other options.
“It’s heartbreaking,” says Givens. “I am all about community and I want to teach, to give back, and to offer space.” She adds that she and her business parter Dillon Debauche of Union Yeast & Grain are taking some time to scout other locations and mull alternative options.
Lovelace’s fried chicken counter Yonder was also affected by the delays. Meanwhile, nearby meat-centric butchery and restaurant Old Salt Marketplace closed down the street July 31, citing the increasingly challenging restaurant market.
So what of the $53,498 CSK raised on Kickstarter? Givens says she spent half of the amount on architect costs, non-refundable deposits, Kickstarter taxes, and some used kitchen equipment. That leaves a good amount of money to invest in whatever she decides to do next.
Givens tells Eater that she hasn’t given up hope on the idea behind the CSK. “The community has our backs and we are scouting new locations.” She feels grateful for the opportunity to invest and give back and it’s clear she’s committed to making something happen. Stay tuned for updates on potential other locations for CSK or whatever Givens thinks up next.
Update (5:18 p.m., August 16, 2018): This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Stacey Givens is scouting new locations for her business.
• Community Supported Kitchen (CSK) [Kickstarter]
• New Northeast Portland food center to unite restaurants, urban farms [The Oregonian]
• Portlanders Stacey Givens and Chris Starkus To Square Off On Food Network’s Chopped [EPDX]
• Sorry, Fried Chicken Fans: Yonder Is Stuck in Some Permit Muck [EPDX]