After years of hard work in the food industry and many successful pop-up food events , The Fiction Kitchen is eager to finally make our dream come true: to open up a 100% vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina. On a block in the historic train depot and warehouse district which has been somewhat forgotten over time, we plan to create a thriving, new culinary destination which will not only impress your palate but give back to the community as well. Your help will enable us to purchase new kitchen equipment which has never been used to prepare non-vegetarian foods.
THE FICTION KITCHEN:
As each of us worked to expand our culinary knowledge and began to explore new possibilities in the world of food, the more challenging it became to consistently find inspiring vegetarian food when we went out to eat. Although many places were beginning to offer more vegetarian and even vegan menu options, the choices always seemed both limited and predictable. We craved vegetarian cuisine which was fresh, creative, locally sourced and carefully prepared, and thought maybe there were other people in need of the same thing.
In May 2010 we decided to test that theory by heading up the monthly Fiction Kitchen vegan brunches at The Pinhook in downtown Durham, NC. Offering a new, seasonal menu each month, we developed a very supportive following who sometimes lined up for over an hour to see what the Fiction Kitchen would come up with next.
Our brunch themes varied between traditional brunch fare like French Toast, "bacon" and huevos rancheros to Thai food, "crab" cakes and southern classics like biscuits with gravy and pulled "pork" BBQ.... all made vegan!!
A consistently overwhelming response from a variety of diners gave us all the more reason to feel like we owed it to our local community, surrounding farms, and the global movement towards more responsible food choices to open a farm to fork inspired vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh. We chose the location at 428 S. Dawson St. not only because of its close proximity to the art and warehouse district, the Depot and other downtown Raleigh nightlife, but because we will be close to both the North Carolina State Farmers Market and the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market. This will allow us to not only offer seasonal menu changes, but also create daily specials based on the freshest local produce available. Our menu will also include many vegan and gluten free options.
For the past few months, we have been working closely with Raleigh Architect Andrew Osterlund, who has helped us design our storefront, as well as the most efficient kitchen and bar area we'll need to bring you a fun, satisfying and affordable 100% vegetarian meal. The start-up and construction costs for even a small restaurant like ours are approximately $200,000, and that's not counting the cost of purchasing equipment which has never been used to prepare meats or seafood. It is for that reason that we would like to not only achieve our goal, but exceed it!
The $36,000 we are asking for here will go towards the following new equipment:
- exhaust hood and vent system
- 6-eye range with two ovens
We feel purchasing these items new is an essential aspect of making a positive start for a vegetarian based kitchen.
In addition to offering frequent menu changes, there are even plans in the works to collaborate with area artists who will create rotating in house installations of their work, which will both echo and enhance the seasonal changes of the menu. Collaborating with a local graphic designer as well as artists and craftsmen using reclaimed materials,The Fiction Kitchen is so excited to offer Triangle area diners a fun, unique and even inspirational culinary experience with each visit.
Please take a moment to donate to this cause which means so much to us. By spreading the word and helping us raise funds for some new kitchen equipment, you will become part of a local and global movement toward sustainable, responsible and cruelty-free food choices. Help us put a vegetarian restaurant on Raleigh's map once and for all! We send you a sincere thank you for checking out our campaign!
Although there is a huge list of people who have supported The Fiction Kitchen team from the beginning (which is way too long to list), here are links to some resources which have been so helpful to various aspects of our project... maybe they can help you, too:
Artistic design and consultation:http://annecushingrhodes.wordpress.com
Metal and Woodworking:http://bmd-b.blogspot.com/
Printing Arts: http://shedletterpress.com/
Sweet Treats: http://www.justcrumb.com/
Video footage by: Travis Long
Video footage and editing by: Justin Camputaro
Huge shout out to Carol and Carolyn, who dedicated so many Sundays to the brunches, for your countless hours of hard work. Without you we would still be just Fiction.
Caroline: One day, while out on a run down the Raleigh Greenway, I was pondering our idea of a vegetarian restaurant. Growing up in the south, I had a yearning for some of the comfort foods that made up southern tradition: things like biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, NC style BBQ, collards, baked beans, corn bread, grits and red-eye gravy. As a vegetarian in the south, dishes like these made without some type of lard or animal products were hard to come by. To solution this, I started making my own versions of these dishes in a more heart-healthy style by leaving out the meat, but finding ways to impart familiar flavors. In other words, I could fool my mouth and my memory, but have comfort in knowing the ingredients were free of animal products.
Then I thought about this philosophy and paired it with Siobhan's artistic flair for the whimsical and abstract. We both knew we would want the actual restaurant space to feel very different than any other restaurant in the area.
This is where the name "The Fiction Kitchen" was born. It is a combination of our food and the experience we wish you to have when dining with us.
Also, considering we had so many successful and well-attended pop-up food events without having a real "brick and mortar" restaurant, the name Fiction Kitchen seemed appropo!
Why are food, discounts, gift certificates or coupons not one of the rewards for those who are pledging? And how do I know your food tastes good?
We hear you! Most people would like some food for their contribution, but here are the reasons why we could not make this happen:
* We don't have a kitchen yet! We still have just under two months of construction before our new space can be inspected and approved to make food in.
* It would be very difficult for us to ensure quality, especially considering organizing and shipping food for what we hope to be over 600 contributors. Remember, right now the Fiction Kitchen is only two people with 2 jobs each (not counting the whole "starting a restaurant thing" ;)
*And the biggest reason of all: Kickstarter guidelines strictly prohibit rewards like "discounts, gift certificates or coupons". For that reason, we had to come up with some more creative yet affordable rewards. Some of the more generous contribution levels do involve food-related experiences, but we cannot offer free food or discounted food in any way.
*It is our hope that the pictures of the food, the success of the brunches, and testimonials from others who have tasted our food will be proof that we will put out an excellent product once we have a means to serve the public.
Hopefully this won't deter you from donating to our cause!
*First and foremost, nothing happens with the money you have pledged. It will not leave your account if we don't reach our goal, The Fiction Kitchen will get $0 of the amount pledged. This also means that we will not be sending out any of the rewards and we will have to find a space for 600+ magnets!
*Second, this may tell us the community is not AS ready for a vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh, NC as we believe, (I really hope this is not the case!), which means we will have to increase our marketing budget substantially.
*It also means that we will have to purchase used equipment for the restaurant, or possibly lease some new and purchase some used, which has most likely been used to prepare non-vegetarian items. We can make it work, we just won't feel as good about it as having shiny, new, meat-free kitchen equipment.
All this said, we will still open our doors (even with a little ego-bruising) by late fall/early winter, just not with shiny new equipment.
The truth is (and the truth hurts, sometimes): starting a restaurant is NOT cheap. There are regulations and hoops to jump through which are challenging in both mental, physical and fiscal ways! What at first seemed a project which may cost us $100K or so has grown, in all honesty, to about $250K. That's a QUARTER of a MILLION DOLLARS, in case you were wondering. We are not, by any means, trying to take people for their money or "make a profit" on this. In addition to our full and part time jobs, both of us having been working many hours a week on this for YEARS (unpaid), and sinking most of our personal savings into this project because we feel it is necessary for our community to grow and thrive. Since we began the vegan brunches, we have had countless people encouraging us to start a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in the area who promised support in various ways. As we began this venture, we felt it was time to call upon those supporters to help us provide the best possible product, which is why we decided to try to raise money for some new, rather than used, equipment. Not only will this new equipment be "meat-free", but it will be more durable and reliable, which will, in the long run, allow us to keep prices down if we do not have to begin replacing major equipment in the first few years. And don't you worry, we will still be borrowing lots of money from various sources to pay back over the next decade or so (with interest), just like everyone else!
First, we want you to know that it is important to us that products we purchase are of the highest quality we can afford, and that we know where it came from and what is in it. Any eggs (and hopefully any dairy) will be obtained from a local farmer we can visit. They will answer questions about the living conditions and care of the animals. Any cheeses that we carry will be mainly from a local cheesemaker when available and always animal-rennet free.
Secondly, the eggs will be primarily for our brunch and will be cooked in a saute pan, not on the new equipment itself, (ie, not on the griddle). The same will go for any dairy products.
Ohhhh well we all know how dates with opening restaurants go! BUT- we are optimistically hoping to be open towards late fall. *Remember fall ends December 20*
We are going to start with dinner and Sunday brunch and are anticipating having the following hours:
Monday : closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 4:30pm-10:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 4:30-11:00pm
Sunday brunch: 11:00am-4:00pm
After we are secure with our dinner service, we will look into opening for lunch. Our space is very small, so we want to make sure we can get a menu that is fast and delicious for the downtown lunch crowd!
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- (37 days)