Veteran food truckers Kirk and Juliann Francis are just weeks away from opening the very brick-and-mortar Tastemakers, a combination food hall, commercial kitchen, bar, and retail space currently taking shape in Brookland.
The entrepreneurial pair started mobile sweets shop Captain Cookie in 2012, which later became a full-fledged bakery. The idea is to provide similar opportunities for fledgling hospitality professionals at Tastemakers.
Juliann Francis tells Eater that she's just waiting to get the green light from health inspectors and then the back-of-house commercial kitchen for fellow local food vendors will open for business at 2800 10th Street NE. [UPDATE: Francis says Tastemakers passed its health inspection November 21.] Inaugural clients at Tastemakers are already committed, but Francis isn’t ready to name any names yet.
When the front of house portion opens to diners in early 2018, expect assorted food stands and a bar. Francis expects Tastemakers to serve lunch and dinner, and possibly breakfast with coffee. She also wants to offer cooking classes, host charitable events, and offer a diners' club with chef's tasting-style events.
This all came about when the Francises started looking for a new commercial kitchen for their original business after outgrowing their initial space. They couldn't find anything they liked, and realized other mid-size food businesses were probably in the same boat. “We thought we could do it ourselves,” Francis says.
They found a building in Brookland with Metro accessibility, dedicated on-site parking for food trucks, and the capacity to meet their electrical needs. It's right down the way from Right Proper Brewing Company’s production facility, too.
While retrofitting the space, Francis discovered it used to be a mayonnaise factory, even finding giant underground tanks she thinks might’ve been used to store oil "It's been in the food industry for many, many decades,” she says of Tastemakers’ new home.
Now after sitting vacant, the building is going back to its roots. "We really want this to be a place where neighbors can stop in and meet neighbors," Francis says.