Think you want to turn your extravagant avocado toast into a business? There’s Chefscape.
The food incubator—which lets those who want to enter the food space, either in retail or restaurants, become a member, giving them access to kitchen space, business and marketing classes and camaraderie—is opening a second location in Leesburg. Chefscape is also opening a space in Manhattan next year, and is scouting for more locations in Philadelphia, Miami and the DMV.
Set to open in November, the Leesburg Chefscape, taking over the Smokehouse Live space in Village at Leesburg, takes advantage of its town center location to offer more to the food-loving public.
Chefscape CEO Rob Batchelder takes a multi-pronged approach for showcasing his members’ food.
The bar, run in partnership with Jason Maddens of AhSo, the owner of the Brambleton restaurant, will use member ingredients; chocolatiers will get their goods into cocktails, for instance.
The food hall, named Epoch, will have a sit-down area with live music (the stage remains from Smokehouse, and will also be used for cooking demos and chef competitions) with four rotating food vendors:
Johnny Ray’s Sultry Soul Food had its own space in Herndon for five years, and is currently operating a carry-out space (fried chicken, pulled pork, meatloaf) inside the Chefscape in Ashburn and will now be able to offer a seated experience with drinks and live music. Says Batchelder, “this is a good segue” to see if there’s second restaurant life to this concept.
Rocoto—Peruvian Street Food started as Rocoto Gourmet, a Peruvian food truck in 2016 (with the help of Chefscape), and will use the opportunity, as a vendor, says Batchelder, “to get a little more creative with their menu,” as well as expand offerings to include ceviche and Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese cuisine) dishes.
Muggerz BBQ, in business for over two years, offered catering, set up at farmers markets, joined cook-offs and sold through Amazon Fresh and is now, says Batchelder, “ready to test its food at a stationery location.” The Texas-inspired barbecue dishes include dry-rubbed chicken wings, brisket and pulled pork.
Sandwich Bistro will debut its brand at Chefscape. Originally the team wanted to open in its own shop, but looking into signing a lease and all the associated costs, decided to test its concept first. Batchelder says they specifically want to “build up a reputation” in Leesburg because there is a space available in the same shopping center as Chefscape. The Mediterranean menu will feature shawarma with toum, Turkish sujuk (spicy sausage), toshka, an Aleppo flatbread sandwich, and Syrian-style falafel.
There will also be a marketplace stocked with goods (salsas, hot sauces, snacks) made only by members. Every Thursday, EatLoCo will host a farmers market from 3-7 p.m. with the initial hour reserved for industry only, letting Chefscape members (and outside chefs and food operators) develop relationships with local farmers.
On Oct. 15, Batchelder hosts an open house for prospective Chefscape members (details and sign-up forms here). Get that avocado toast recipe ready.