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In 2009, chef Jose Garces purchased a vacated space adjacent to Tinto, his high-end, Philadelphia-based eatery serving Basque tapas, and crafted plans to open an American-styled bar and restaurant. Given the new spot’s limited size, Garces adopted an idea now gaining popularity across the restaurant world: He would use one kitchen to feed both restaurants, an opportunity for him to direct two revenue-producing eateries from one site.
Three years after the idea’s conception, both Tinto and Village Whiskey flourish, a relationship that motivated Garces to replicate the experience in 2011 with Distrito and Old Town Whiskey in Scottsdale, Arizona. Indeed, the one kitchen-two restaurant model is earning traction in a capital-starved industry where entrepreneurship has refused to sleep.
In Manassas, Virginia, Miguel Pires runs Carmello’s and Monza. The former is a high-end spot focusing on fresh, innovative Italian cuisine, while the latter features quick bites, pastas, and brick-oven pizza in a more casual setting. Pires calls the one kitchen-two restaurant set-up “the smartest move we ever made for our business.”
The set-up also allows Pires to reduce food costs and waste. By ordering product for both restaurants and having delivery at one destination, he lessens delivery costs and boosts buying power. By having multiple uses for many products, Pires can use Monza to sell items that may have been languishing at Carmello’s. “This also allows us to keep products as fresh as possible, which improves overall food quality,” Pires says.