Program offers local chefs and community groups access to commercial kitchens
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (GoggleWorks), a nonprofit arts center in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania announced a new program designed to serve local chefs, community groups, and culinary artists by providing access to space and equipment in the commercial kitchens located on the former-goggle-factory campus.
The Community Kitchen program marks the return of operations to two large commercial kitchens on the campus, both shuttered since early 2020. The pandemic forced the closure of The Den by Sly Fox in the newly renovated restaurant on the ground floor as well as many large events catered from the art center’s second floor kitchen.
“Our mission leads us to repeatedly review our resources to ask, ‘How can this space, these tools and supplies, or this kitchen serve creative people in our community?’” said Levi Landis, GoggleWorks Executive Director. “All of this new cooking equipment was just sitting unused. So we decided to open up the kitchens for public use, responding to years of requests for such services.”
GoggleWorks leaders said the Community Kitchen program offers either or both of its large kitchens to chefs and culinary entrepreneurs looking to experiment, test, or grow their operation:
- Caterers needing primary or satellite venues for cooking, prep, equipment storage, and/or warming
- Food truck operators needing a licensed non-vehicle venue, or a location for water, ice, cook space, and storage
- Established restaurateurs testing new recipes or expanding operations
- Prospective restaurateurs starting new businesses
- Bakers needing deep ovens, ample prep space, and a large commercial mixer
- Culinary instructors hosting cooking classes (restrictions apply)
- Community groups or organizations serving food for programs or events
- Anyone needing a commercial, licensed production kitchen, catering kitchen, or storage space
The Community Kitchen rental program will offer a variety of pricing options depending on space and equipment needs, and includes opportunities for adding on services or spaces.
Earlier this month, GoggleWorks announced plans to hire a garden manager, partnering with nearby Lauer’s Park Elementary School to steward the student-run gardens and develop long-term plans around food. Leaders said that some might not think about food when they think about a typical art center, but they are pleased to be unconventional. “There are simply too many opportunities to disregard,” said Landis. “From the creative perspective, culinary is the only art form that engages all five senses; from the community perspective, there are serious needs that we can help address: food insecurity, education gaps, and self-reliance.”
To learn more about the Community Kitchen program, amenities and pricing, visit https://goggleworks.org/community-kitchen