Bridgett Crews and Krista Keithly, the ladies responsible for the awesome Hilltop Pop Shop, have another venture started early this year. Free-Range Kitchen, a culinary incubator located on Tacoma’s 6th Avenue, is a way for small food businesses to get started in a relatively low-risk way. It’s a pretty cool idea, and one that was needed in the South Sound.
It was an idea born from necessity. Bridgett and Krista needed a permanent place to produce their local, organic fruit popsicles for Hilltop Pop Shop. They also wanted to share the knowledge they’ve learned from their own food business, while fostering a sense of community.
Free-Range Kitchen is more than just a commercial kitchen. Upon first meeting Bridgett and Krista, I was immediately impressed with their passion and dedication to the community and desire to help small food businesses become successful.
The concept: Free-Range Kitchen creates an low-cost opportunity for fledgling food businesses to start up and learn the business, as well as a commercial kitchen in which to produce their food or products. Businesses utilize the commercial kitchen part-time, and many sell their goods at local farmers markets.
Starting a food business is often a daunting process. There’s insurance, licenses, food handler’s cards…and that’s all before you can begin doing what you actually love, cooking or producing a food product. Then you add up the equipment costs to get started, rent for a production space, and you get the idea. It’s expensive and can be confusing for new business owners.
That’s where Free-Range Kitchen shines. Bridgett and Krista walk clients through the process of starting their business, and then provide a part-time, low-cost and low-risk space that’s already a certified kitchen ready to use. Then there are the the things that come as an extra bonus to really help businesses succeed: Space to meet with clients, hold events and store products. This full-service approach is what makes Free-Range Kitchen stand out from other local commercial kitchens that are for rent.
The response they’ve had to Free-Range Kitchen demonstrates the need it’s filling in the community. I’ve seen many of these businesses at local farmers markets, and enjoy what they have to offer.
Businesses currently producing out of Free-Range Kitchen include:
Hilltop Pop Shop
Pierce County Gleaning Project
Baladi Argan Oil and Moroccan Cuisine
Cashew Blanca – vegan cheesecake
Pali’s Pizza – Hand-made take and bake pizza
Good Booch – Handmade kombucha
Carnivorous – Paleo catering
The Black Flag
Crepe Nuvo – Gluten free crepes
Ooh La La Burgers
Island Breeze – Polynesian catering
Wellness Tailored 4 u – Diabetic health coaching and Asian healthy cooking
They’re always looking for new clients. If you’re thinking of opening a local Tacoma area food business, submit an application to Free-Range Kitchen and get started doing what you love to do.
Any idea where to get the Pali’s Pizza? Sounds like a great idea!
Laura, Yes, I believe they are at the Tuesday 6th Ave Farmers Market and the Broadway Market, and may be available soon at the Tacoma Food Co-Op.
What is the status of the 6th Ave. location? It looks closed.
You know, I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’ll find out for you!
I got a response back from Free Range Kitchen as to whether they are open. This is what they said: “There’s a food revolution brewing in our old incubator kitchen! We’ve formed a worker owned cooperative and are opening our doors very soon, so stay tuned.”
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What happened to your 6th ave. location? Did you relocate or ??
Any idea how to get in contact with this place? It seems like there website is down, and they haven’t responded to any of my emails. Cheers!
I haven’t heard/seen anything from them in the last couple months on social media either. So sorry!
Hello Ladies! Saw this old post and thought I’d clear up any mystery still lingering in the interwebs…The Free-Range Kitchen closed it’s doors in April 2014. We decided not sign another lease for the 6th ave location, it had too many building issues and limited equipment to press forward in that space. A few members of the co-op partnered with Saint Leo’s Food connection and ran a fantastic backpack program last summer for youth on the Eastside. In all reality, the community work we where doing just shifted to community spaces and my living room table, so we’ve eliminated almost all of our overhead associated with having a lease. Also there’s a great community kitchen space type project happening within Spaceworks Tacoma, so the dream of more shared kitchen space in Tacoma lives on after all! Thanks Adrienne for supporting a wonderful project and experience, I’ll miss all those tasty dinners and gatherings in that weird old space.
Thank you for the update, Bridgett! I’ve been getting lots of interest and questions re: Free Range Kitchen, and it helps to know what you all are up to. Take care!
Hi everyone. I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Topher Farrell and my wife and I are heading up the project mentioned above RE: Spaceworks… We are indeed working towards opening a commercial kitchen space located downtown. We are pushing to have things rolling by mid-summer at the very latest. That being said, if anyone here has leads on equipment for the kitchen, please feel free to contact me. [email protected] or [email protected]
We also own Tease Chocolates. We are opening a chocolate kitchen and tasting room in Stadium District. That one will be less available as a commercial kitchen but we will have classes there and can also host small events / gatherings as well. We should have that up and running this spring.
Please feel free to contact me!
I LOOKING FOR KITCHEN FOR RENTAL is mario (253)3155807
I recently purchased a vendor status food truck and am in need of a commissary/commercial kitchen for very limited use. Anyone renting in or near Tacoma/Spanaway/Lakewood area? 206-612-6996. Thank you.
In search of a commerical kitchen to rent… ,lakewood,tacoma,lacey,etc will all work for me
Moving Food Truck Biz to Tacoma, in need of a commissary.
I’m looking for a commissary in Tacoma.
Do you have any openings?
Hello, This was not my business – just one I wrote about. It is my understanding it is no longer in operation.
I am starting a wholesale baking business and looking for kitchen space to rent. Do you have anything available at this time? Please let me know.