Have a Taste for Entrepreneurship?
If you think owning your own restaurant is an impossible dream, think again. Or better yet, ask Troy Tiernon. Tiernon serves as general manager of CookSpring, a commercial/commissary kitchen at […]
If you think owning your own restaurant is an impossible dream, think again.
Or better yet, ask Troy Tiernon.
Tiernon serves as general manager of CookSpring, a commercial/commissary kitchen at The Summit that rents space at affordable prices to culinary entrepreneurs. “We’re currently supporting thirty members from the community,” said Tiernon. “At least sixty members of the community have run their operations through us since 2015.”
In fact, a number of the city’s most popular restaurants have launched their enterprises from the 4,800 square-foot kitchen, including Junk Ditch Brewing Company, Solbird Kitchen & Tap, and Nola on 13. All three CookSpring graduates started out with food trucks: Affine, Sol Kitchen, and the Ragin’ Cajun, respectively.
CookSpring isn’t just for those planning to open a restaurant, though.
The facility has also served as a place for children to learn about healthy eating. The nonprofit Big Brothers, Big Sisters used CookSpring for an eight-week class. “They brought in their littles,” Tiernon said, “and showed them fresh produce and made healthy wraps, teaching them so they could take what they learned home.”
One of the newest entrepreneurs to use CookSpring as a springboard is Johnny Perez, who recently announced he’s opening a restaurant on the Landing. Tiernon said that Perez first thought to open a brick-and-mortar, but when he saw the cost involved he realized he needed to get sales and prove himself first. “He bought an old potato chip truck and converted it into a food truck he could use,” Tiernon said. “A little over a year ago, he came to me looking for a commissary. We got him through the permit process, he started getting involved with community groups like Greater Fort Wayne, and now he’s set to open a restaurant in 2020.”
He added, “On the Summit campus, we have lots of nonprofits. They receive grants from Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL), a partnership of Parkview Health and the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation.” He explained that the funds enable nonprofits to rent space at CookSpring, buy food, and pay their staff.
Whether serving as a site for teaching and learning, additional workspace, a place for testing ideas, or a launchpad for opening a restaurant, CookSpring is available 24/7 at affordable rates. As Tiernon says, “We’re here as a resource for the community. We want to serve as support for anyone who has a food dream.”