Because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, chefs and restaurateurs have faced many challenges while trying serve customers in safe, cost-efficient, and profitable ways. One solution: “mega-kitchens,” facilities equipped to house multiple food-service businesses in one space, have emerged on the scene.
Recently, Houston became home to one such mega-space with Blodgett Food Hall, which is operated by CloudKitchens, one of the leading purveyors of commercial kitchens. Located at 2616 Blodgett St, the space is already being utilized by prominent personalities on the Houston food scene, such as Chopped champion chef Shannen Tune for his new concept, Thick Chick. You can find these concepts online at places like Postmates and GrubHub.
Other past and current tenants include Send Noods, Oh My Gogi, and up-and-comer Richmond-based Swamp Chicken, whose owner Terri Mason plans to utilize Blodgett full time by next week to fill orders.
“Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve managed to do okay and having the kitchen has been very helpful,” says Mason. She and chef son Justin Kenta are bringing H-Town a sausicken, or sausage as boudin stuffed in a chicken wing.
Mason says Blodgett Hall isn't full, so there's ample room for vendors to practice social distancing as they cook. For now, they're all wearing face masks and gloves, and washing hands frequently, Mason says.
A standout at the hall is RayJay’s Feel Good Food, which we sampled after being prompted by rave reviews of the Jack N Mac Bowl and other plant-based dishes. The rumors were true; the delicious Jack N Mac Bowl featured tender jackfruit slices sautéed in smoky, sweet barbecue sauce sitting atop a bed of al dente corkscrew pasta that was heady and intensely creamy, despite having no cream. High marks also go to the Shroom Fil A Sandwich, in which heavily battered shiitake mushrooms are cloaked in homemade tartar sauce with a kick and served in a fluffy kaiser roll.
Although the hall is not yet open for in-house dining (that’s rumored to begin at some point), food prepared by the various tenants is available through multiple delivery services. And, if RayJay’s is any indication of the potential of this shared mega-kitchen, then I look forward to sampling more of what emerges from Blodgett Food Hall.