A couple of years ago, we told you about plans from The Enterprise Center to convert an old warehouse (and former supermarket) at 310 South 48th St. into a kitchen incubator and a restaurant space. We checked in again during the summer of 2012, as construction had moved along but nothing was yet completed. Within a few months, the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises opened its doors- and it's high time we brought it back onto your radar.
The Center has commercial kitchen space available for rent by the hour, which is attractive for both established chefs and food service businesses just getting off the ground. They charge an annual membership fee of $100, also requiring liability insurance and food safety certification. From there, members can rent either a kitchen space or a bakery space for thirty bucks an hour. For events and workshops, there's a learning center with a demonstration kitchen and classroom space. In addition, the Center offers food business development services for people looking to start a business or get a foothold in the restaurant industry.
The Center is accessed through the rear of the building, and the section of the building fronting 48th Street has three retail spaces. From the looks of it, 48th Street Grille, an American-Caribbean restaurant, is coming soon to one of them. According to West Philly Local, a health food store/healthy-meal home-delivery business called Real Food Works To Go will open in the southern retail space. The middle space will house the Philly Restaurant Residency Incubator, a permanent pop-up space that will allow chefs and restaurateurs to test out concepts for a limited time in a space that's already fitted out. Cool idea which reminds us a bit of what they do at the Garage, only with less booze and no food truck.
With all the student housing going up in this area in recent years, we could easily imagine a world in which this building was torn down and replaced with an unfortunate building with twenty-five apartments and parking in the rear. And as much as we love redevelopment and new construction, we're even more enthused by adaptive reuse and interesting uses that benefit the community. We'll be keeping an eye on this building in the future, hopefully making a return trip once the businesses in the front are up and running. And if the Center or the Incubator can launch the career of Philly's next big chef, so much the better.