CHICAGO (WLS) --Whoever said "too many cooks in the kitchen" was a bad thing? The trend these days is toward shared kitchen space, especially for small, independent food businesses who can't afford high rents.
Never has 5,000 square feet been divvied-up so efficiently. Because here, within a space that used to house a chocolate confectionary, Lakeview Kitchen and Market now rents out several spots in their shared-use space.
"Private chefs, catering companies, farmer's market vendors, restaurants; basically anybody needing a commercial kitchen can use our space," said Wendy Grahn, owner of Lakeview Kitchen & Market.
The majority are bakers, with names like Kate's Cookies, Cheshire Cat Confectionary and Velvet Desserts. And there doesn't seem to be much bickering, since everyone here rents storage and work space by the hour.
"That hasn't been much of a challenge because it's been a really collaborative experience. I've gotten new business from some of the other clients that share the space," said Maggie O'Brien, owner of Velvet Desserts.
Referrals are one thing, but so is professional feedback. Metropolitan Dinners focuses on dips, sauces and handmade pastas; they get instant feedback from their colleagues on product quality.
"We knew that we had some competition from a bakery perspective here, there was very little savory in the cabinet, we were like, you know what, this is a really good opportunity for us," said Mark Graham, co-owner of Metropolitan Dinners.
Best of all, a small retail space up front allows the public a chance to sample first-hand, and support local businesses.
"Our customers in the back have a place where they can get in front of the public, they can test new product out, they can see what flavors customers like they can survey our customers when they come in."
That old saying about too many cooks in the kitchen being a bad thing, well, not so here at Lakeview Kitchen because more cooks just means more opinions, more honest feedback and in some cases, more business.
THE MARKET IS CLOSED ON MONDAYS.
Lakeview Kitchen & Market
3109 N. Broadway