Kitchen FAQs

What is Union Kitchen?

Union Kitchen is a food and beverage business accelerator in Washington, D.C. We build CPG brands through our manufacturing infrastructure which includes a commercial kitchen, retail stores, and distribution. Since starting in 2012, we’ve worked with over 650 food businesses, including DC favorites Mas Panadas, Compass Coffee, Snacklins, Eat Pizza, and Origin Caribe

 

What’s a manufacturing infrastructure?

A manufacturing infrastructure is all the pieces required for a manufacturer to make, move, and sell their product. The Union Kitchen manufacturing infrastructure includes our commercial kitchen, retail stores, and distribution

 

What is a commercial kitchen?

A commercial kitchen is a licensed facility for preparing, manufacturing, and selling food. Our commercial kitchen is also certified USDA-organic and USDA-meat inspected.

 

How many square feet is your kitchen?

Our facility sets up brands for large-scale manufacturing with over 17,000 square feet of production space.

 

Do I get my own space?

We have designed our membership tiers to match your needs now and as you grow. Nights & Weekends is first-come, first-serve. A Full-Time membership includes a half-prep table and a Pod membership includes an 8x10 dedicated footprint. 

 

What does it mean that you are USDA-Meat Inspected? 

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects and regulates the sale of all meat products across state lines. We are one of the few shared commercial kitchens in the country that is certified by the USDA for meat production and inspection. This means, members can produce and sell products with meat. Learn more about the process in our Resource Blog: USDA Meat Inspection Process .

 

What are your hours?

Our facility is open 24/7/365. Regardless of your membership tier, you are always welcome to work in our co-working space. In fact, we encourage it! The best way to create a collaborative community is by being a part of the community. 

 

Do you clean for me?

Our Kitchen Team takes care of all the deep clean and equipment maintenance in our facility. Members are responsible for spot cleaning before and after production. 

 

What equipment do you have?

We have over 10,000 sq. ft. of hood space in our facility which includes double-stack ovens, a jacket steam kettle, tilt skillet, and much more! Check out our full list of available equipment.

 

Do I need to provide my own equipment?

Only if you need something really specialized or are looking for smallwares! We take care of all the standard commercial equipment including convection ovens, low-boy burners, griddles and flat tops, etc. 

We even have more specialized equipment like Robocoups, vacuum pack machines, weigh filler, and a band sealer. 

 

Where are you located?

We’re located in the Ivy City neighborhood in Washington, DC. Ivy City is a manufacturing district. Our neighbors include Green Hat Distilling (Gin Distiller), Republic Restoratives (Vodka Distiller & Craft Cocktail Bar), and Atlas Brew Works (Brewery).  We love being surrounded by manufacturing!  

 

What type of businesses do you work with?

We work with food and beverage businesses at all stages. Many people join when they are still figuring out their business concept. 

 

How many members work out of Union Kitchen?

We have about 80 members that produce out of our facility, including packaged goods, caterers, food trucks, and commissary teams. 

Read more about the many stories of our members!

 

Can I buy food at Union Kitchen?

We are a production facility. For food safety reasons, we do not sell food for public consumption in our facility. We do have retail stores located in DC and Virginia where we sell our member products. We hope you will come check them out!

 

Do you have retail stores? I thought I saw a sign for Union Kitchen.

We do! We have retail stores located all over DC and Virginia. We sell member products alongside sandwiches, coffee, and lots of delicious snacks. 

 

Am I allowed to do food delivery out of Union Kitchen?

Yes. Definitely! We do ask that you meet all pick-up delivery drivers outside our facility so that we are able to maintain the highest standards of food safety.  

Check out our guide for help getting set up on food delivery.

 

I’m not licensed. Can I still join?

Definitely! We are here to help you through the process. You can also check out our licensing guide for DC food businesses to get started right away.

 

I don’t have a business yet. Am I too early to join? Will you help me brainstorm?

We love working with early-stage businesses and would be happy to help. There’s nothing better than talking food business. Check out our guide on 6 Steps to Starting a Food Business.

 

Do you co-pack products?

We do not. We are big believers in manufacturing yourself. When you manufacture yourself, you are able to control the quality of your product, innovate more quickly, and build a defensible business built to last. 

 

Can I rent the kitchen as a one off?

We do not offer one-off rentals. We want to build a collaborative, committed, and supportive community that builds together. We do this through our monthly membership model.

 

Why don’t you offer an hourly option?

Great question! While we understand that everyone’s needs look different, we love that our monthly membership model encourages people to be in our Kitchen, learning and growing, as much as possible. In an hourly option, you are constantly watching the clock to get out as quickly as possible.