Union Kitchen

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Union Kitchen Garage logo.jpg

Union Kitchen is a Food and Beverage Business Accelerator located in the Ivy City neighborhood of Washington, DC. The goal of Union Kitchen is to build national food and beverage brands by partnering with entrepreneurs to establish a cohesive concept that is successful in the D.C. market before scaling regionally and nationally. Union Kitchen infrastructure consists of a production facility, a distribution company, and retail stores (known as Union Kitchen Grocery); they also foster relationships with investors, distributors, retail chains, and influencers.


Union Kitchen was founded by the owners of Blind Dog Café, a coffee shop pop-up located in Darnell’s Bar, after they found a dearth of commercial kitchen space available for rent in Washington, DC. The original space was a 7,300 square foot kitchen located in the NoMa neighborhood of northeast Washington, D.C. For a time period, Union Kitchen also housed several artist studios that provided branding, illustrating, and web design services for the members.

In 2013, Union Kitchen started a distribution company in order to help member businesses deliver in the DC area. In 2015 Union Kitchen opened their first retail store, Union Kitchen Grocery, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Also in 2015 the production facility was moved from the NoMa neighborhood to the current location in Ivy City. In 2017, a second Union Kitchen Grocery opened in Northwest DC adjacent to the Washington Convention Center. Two additional retail stores will be opened in late 2018, and ten stores in the subsequent five years.

Accelerator Program[edit]

Union Kitchen partners with food and beverage businesses to help them create a cohesive concept, bring it to shelves, overcome roadblocks, and scale regionally and nationally.

The Union Kitchen Accelerator requires a multi-step application where entrepreneurs complete several rounds of interviews with the UK team, a detailed assessment on the entrepreneur’s current business model and future plans, and a formal pitch, “Shark Tank” style. The Union Kitchen team is especially interested in entrepreneurs that are passionate, coachable, dependable, supportive, and engaged.

Once accepted to the Accelerator program, an entrepreneur joins their cohort (between 5 – 10 businesses) in an intensive, 48-hour concept weekend where the Union Kitchen team coaches the businesses through a tailored curriculum that insists on excellence. Over the next eight weeks, the entrepreneur works through the technical elements of launching, guided by the expertise of the Union Kitchen team. From there, Union Kitchen helps entrepreneurs refine their concept and saturate the local market before scaling regionally and nationally.

Kitchen Membership[edit]

Food and beverage businesses can also apply to Union Kitchen for Kitchen Membership. Kitchen Members pay a monthly fee for use of the commercial kitchen, co-working space, Internet, and printers. They are given access to a curated dashboard of online resources created by the Union Kitchen team, that creates a road map for creating a successful food business.

The commercial kitchen space has both communal working areas with shared kitchen equipment and specifically allocated areas where businesses can bring their own equipment and retain the right of access.