Artisanal culinary incubator opens in San Mateo

Where’s the new home for the latest start-up incubator, with 11,000 square feet dedicated to artisan culinary manufacturing? San Francisco? Guess again. Oh and it’s a café, too, selling all local products, most of which are made on-site. Oakland? Nope.

That would be Kitchentown in San Mateo.

Spanish foods-importer Alberto Solis and entrepreneur Rusty Schwartz were all smiles, bursting with pride on a recent weekday. They’ve just opened this unique culinary compound and are about to host a party for friends and family. Why so happy? There’s almost nothing else like KitchenTown, anywhere, near or far.

“We wanted a place where quality food producers could grow comfortably and scale up,” notes Alberto. He mentioned food producers from San Francisco’s La Cocina as the kind of entrepreneurs who can “graduate” up to KitchenTown.PopcornCollageWith the local movement exploding, Alberto and Rusty are confident their business model for a culinary incubator will thrive. In addition to the current zeitgeist around locally-made, retailers such as Whole Foods and Mollie Stone’s are on the hunt for exactly the kinds of items produced by KitchenTown companies.

It all started with Anna’s Danish Cookies. Remember this beloved buttery treat? The two food enthusiasts purchased Anna’s, refreshed the brand and are producing the classic goodies at lightning speed. For now, interested consumers will have to come down to KitchenTown to score a dozen Anna’s cookies, which are not available via retail elsewhere yet.

Joining Anna’s are 18 other artisanal products from some popular companies, including Mammoth Energy Bars, Zepeda Salsa, Debbie’s Rugelach, and Slow Girl Foods. In addition to the food production area, half of KitchenTown is devoted to dry goods and refrigeration storage. Chocolatiers take note: there’s even a temperature-controlled chocolate-making room!

So, pick up a dozen Anna’s cookies today or enjoy coffee and pastries in the light-filled café at KitchenTown. Lunch offerings are coming soon, along with tasting seminars and cooking classes. 1001 Howard Ave. San Mateo, (650) 458-8080, www.kitchentowncentral.comProductCollage

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