An incubator kitchen that was affordable, safe and convenient

About two years ago, the husband and wife duo of Captain Cookie and the Milkmen, realized that they were outgrowing their current shared kitchen. When starting their search for a replacement they found that there weren’t any good alternatives in the local market. If they were to move, the space needed several attributes:

• Available onsite parking
• Easy Metro access
• Fully licensed, well-managed facility with room for us to grow
• Safe neighborhood and convenient location to DC
• Affordable, customizable membership options

In DC’s exploding real estate market, they were finding that this was a nearly impossible combination.

“While we were checking out other kitchens in DC and beyond, we realized that a LOT of our fellow food truckers, caterers, and food startups were in the same situation – wanting to move out of less-desirable economy kitchens and unable to afford the rates of top-tier kitchens. We wanted to help ourselves and help our fellow entrepreneurs with a top-tier, well-managed, and affordable kitchen.” – Kirk


Tastemakers found Brookland to be a funky, diverse, and welcoming neighborhood – a really a good representation of DC. NRG found the perfect location with a rent that fit their budget, ‘good bones’ to build out our kitchen, plus metro access and a space large enough for a utility service large kitchen. With a little creativity, and by demolishing an old walkway, they were able to turn 5 parking spaces into 12.


Kitchen, food hall, cooking classes, and grocery all under the same roof.

Tastemakers’ wanted to convey a friendly, professional, and high-energy atmosphere.

“We’re all here to get our work done, but not too busy to clean up after ourselves and be neighborly with our fellow chefs. My hope is that food startups will feel that they are in a facility that is always doing the right thing and supporting their business at a fair price.” – Kirk

Tastemakers is a fully green facility with a rigorous food waste donation & composting program to go with their recycling and grease recycling endeavors. They also installed solar panels over 60% of the roof and are generating 30-50% of their power onsite. They worked with the DC Sustainable Energy Utility when constructing the interior to install energy-efficient LED lighting, ultra-efficient water and heating systems, and 3-phase electrical service to the larger appliances.

They have been well-received by the neighborhood and have become a destination location. Known for it’s fun and eclectic mix of food and drink options, it has become the place to go if you crave variety and local cuisine.

We hope this facility helps launch and sustain DC’s next generation of food entrepreneurs, just like Kirk got his start ten years ago making cookies out of a kitchen-by-the-hour in Alexandria!

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