Union Kitchen was born out of necessity.
Co-founders Jonas Singer & Cullen Gilchrist opened The Blind Dog Café in 2012.
Demand for Blind Dog’s award-winning chocolate chip cookies quickly outgrew the Café’s small on-site kitchen, and the search for a larger production space led to a 7,500 square-foot warehouse – the only viable commercial kitchen available in the District.
Soon after moving into the space, Singer & Gilchrist faced a different challenge – too much space. They realized there must be other food companies in need of production space, and decided to share the kitchen and its amenities with other culinary businesses looking to produce and expand.
Thus began Union Kitchen.
The demand from local business was immediate. Union Kitchen: NoMa opened in 2012, and proved itself well-qualified to vet thriving and launching businesses as Members. As its Membership grew, Union Kitchen took notice of the common challenges that Member businesses encountered, such as inability to distribute, and lack of access to capital.
In response, the Union Kitchen team developed more efficient, creative, and successful business services, enabling Member businesses to successfully compete on a national and international scale.
Distribution – one aspect of the industry that Members found particularly difficult to break into – became one of Union Kitchen’s fastest growing Member services: In less than a year, Union Kitchen Distribution expanded its reach to over 75 local and national outlets; bringing hundreds of Member products to store shelves across the DMV. In January 2015, Union Kitchen Distribution became Whole Foods’ first new distributor in the Mid Atlantic Region since 1996; allowing Union Kitchen a direct pipeline for Members’ products to one of the nation’s most successful and ubiquitous markets.
In 2015, Union Kitchen continued to expand its services, and opened Union Kitchen Grocery in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The cafe and corner store, which offers more than 100 Union Kitchen Member products, alongside grocery staples like local meats and produce – serves not only as a neighborhood purveyor of local products, but as a platform for Members to begin distributing their products through Union Kitchen Distribution.
With dozens of new Members joining the Union Kitchen community, and current Members quickly expanding, Singer and Gilchrist opened a second incubator space, Union Kitchen: Ivy City in September, 2015.
Create. Contribute. Prosper.