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Help us build the community tasting room at Fork Food Lab. We'll connect food makers with food lovers.
Help us build the community tasting room at Fork Food Lab. We'll connect food makers with food lovers.
262 backers pledged $33,967 to help bring this project to life.
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Tasting Room at Fork Food Lab: Learn, Cook, and Eat.

$33,967

262

Opening our doors late summer 2016!!!!

WHAT IS FORK FOOD LAB?

We've spent the last year preparing to launch Fork Food Lab, a collaborative kitchen and tasting room located in Portland, Maine. Food makers can become members to use the commercial grade kitchen equipment and develop their business. 

Our goal is to lower the barrier of entry to the food market by providing logistical support, distribution pipelines, and a space to cook, learn, and collaborate. Practically everything a food business needs to succeed. This includes:

  • State of the art facilities 
  • All of the disposables needed to cook, such as paper towels, cleaning chemicals, gloves, and aprons
  • Our staff is on premises to offer constulations + ensure the kitchen is well maintained
  • A community of food makers to bounce ideas off of and collaborate
  • Access to outside resources including legal, marketing, and distribution
  • On-site Tasting Room to test products and directly interact with the public.  (This is where we need your help!)

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

We're in the home stretch of completing the kitchen and now it's time to build the Tasting Room. Currently the Tasting Room is an empty box but with your contribution, we can turn it into a community space where people connect through love of food. 

Education is at our core where we'll develop a variety of programming from tastings to lectures to cooking classes. Our dream is to become a real destination within Portland, Maine. With the Tasting Room, we can support small farmers, drive awareness to our members' businesses, and celebrate the local food movement. 

 

The Community

The team from Ancestral Path making their Whole Made Meal Shares
The team from Ancestral Path making their Whole Made Meal Shares

 

Our goal is to put Fork Food Lab at the center of the local food movement, using our space to teach workshops, host speakers, and produce ongoing programming for the larger New England community. We have the unique opportunity through our Tasting Room to introduce up-and-coming food entrepreneurs to distributors and potential customers. Fork will be the bridge between consumers and small food producers, helping to build and support the local food ecosystem.

The Marshmallow Cart making s'mores around Portland
The Marshmallow Cart making s'mores around Portland

 

The Building

1924 survey of 72 Parris Street
1924 survey of 72 Parris Street

 

72 Parris Street present day
72 Parris Street present day

Fork Food Lab and Tasting Room, located at 72 Parris Street in the heart of West Bayside, has had several uses. It started as a Junk Shop in the 1900's, but became Hirning's Bakery is the early 1930's. The Owner, Gus Hirning was an avid boxer, so he started a small ring on the top floor. The gym gained popularity and in the 1940's the building became Forest City Boxing Gym. After the 1950's, the building kept changing hands, being as used as everything from a florist wholesaler to a boat garage. Once our renovation is complete, that 1900's junk shop will be reborn.

Fork Food Lab during construction
Fork Food Lab during construction
The first floor - prep and baking area, cold/dry storage, offices and tasting room.
The first floor - prep and baking area, cold/dry storage, offices and tasting room.

 

                                             
The second floor - main kitchen
The second floor - main kitchen

 

OUR MEMBERS

At nearly 6,000 square feet, we already have 30 food businesses waiting to join and room for another 20. The members will include bakers, caterers, food trucks, drink makers, and a lot more. We even have a local favorite, Gelato Fiasco, creating a special gelato experimentation area. Here are some of the products that can be made at Fork once we open:

Dog biscuts from SPüN Bakery
Dog biscuts from SPüN Bakery

 

A salmon entree from WHOLEmade Meal Shares
A salmon entree from WHOLEmade Meal Shares

 

    
Caramel Sea Salt Gelato with a side of Blueberries from Gelato Fiasco
Caramel Sea Salt Gelato with a side of Blueberries from Gelato Fiasco

 

Freshly made pizza, courtesy of Axelrod Photography
Freshly made pizza, courtesy of Axelrod Photography

 

A homemade s'more from the Marshmallow Cart
A homemade s'more from the Marshmallow Cart

 

REWARD SCHEDULE

For the Sous Chef level, the cooking classes available are:

For the First Foodie level, the tour and toast is scheduled for Sunday, July 24th

For the All Hands on Deck level, the dinner is scheduled for Thursday, July 28th

FORK IN THE PRESS

OUR AWARDS

Grant and awards received by Fork
Grant and awards received by Fork

FOUNDING TEAM

Neil Spillane is a founder and CEO of Fork Food Lab. He's a Maine native and the former CEO of Urban Farm Fermentory, where he became dedicated to building the greater Portland food scene. He graduated from UMaine Orono with a business degree and went on to receive an MBA. Neil is an expert in business, relationship building and networking, making him the perfect person to shape the trajectory of Fork. 

Eric Holstein is a founder and COO of Fork Food Lab. With a long career in the food and beverage industry, Eric began his journey in luxury restaurant operations, working his way up the ladder to management. He then took a role as the lead consultant with a subsidiary of Deloitte before founding his own food startups in New York and Maine, Winter Warmers and The Marshmallow Cart. With Portland as his new home, Eric will keep Fork operating smoothly.

Claire Wasserman is the Director of Partnerships at Fork Food Lab. Previous experience includes fundraising and marketing positions at Chess in the Schools, Street Attack, and the Art Directors Club (ADC). She is currently the Director of Marketing at Working Not Woking, a curated network of creatives. Her focus at Fork will be to find like-minded partners and sponsors with whom to create programming, benefitting both members and the larger community. 

Eric (left) and Neil (Right) in the soon-to-be Tasting Room. Photo by Tory R. Bennett for Bangor Daily News
Eric (left) and Neil (Right) in the soon-to-be Tasting Room. Photo by Tory R. Bennett for Bangor Daily News

 

BOARD OF ADVISORS 

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk to the project has to do with the physical location of Fork Food Lab. While Portland, Maine has quickly become a mecca for food and Fork will be located less than a mile from the city center, it will be located in one of the last undeveloped areas of the city. We are assuming that Fork Food Lab will act as a catalyst to revive the neighborhood, but there is always a chance people will still not regularly want to venture down. We see the area as a challenge we are happy to tackle and are attempting to turn Fork into a true destination. Since people will not be walking by randomly, we are positioning all of our programing to be something people want to seek out.

The other risk is in the nature of the business. As a company that has a sole purpose of supporting other food makers and entrepreneurs, we only grow as our members scale out of our space and there are new companies being created that can use it. If there is another recession, or the seemingly ever-increasing desire for local, more artisanal food stops, we will struggle. But we only see this trend getting stronger over time as people want more transparency in what they're eating.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Line Cook

    Receive a personalized thank-you note, updates throughout the campaign, a shout-out on our website and good karma.

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    Culinary Advocate

    All the same benefits as the Early Bird: Culinary Advocate.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Kitchen Enthusiast

    Take a piece of our kitchen home with a members-only Fork Food Lab apron. Includes a personalized note from the founders, a shout-out on the website, and a surprise treat from one of our members.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    First Foodie

    Join the founders and members for a tour before we're open. Includes a Fork Food Lab apron + Culinary Advocate benefits.

    We'll film the tour to send to those who can't make it.

    ***This event will take place right after construction is complete. The projected date for the event is July 24th, but please check the description in the project description for any updates.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Sous Chef

    Join us at Fork Food Lab for a cooking class, taught by Maine's finest chefs. All classes listed in Project Description. You'll also take home an apron.

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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Ultimate Foodie

    Receive an exclusive gift basket made by members. This is the perfect way to get to know the local food scene + take a bit of Maine home with you.

    This reward includes everything offered in the Culinary Advocate.

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    Limited 26 backers
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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    All Hands On Deck

    Help us cook our first meal at Fork Food Lab; it will be all hands on deck as we take our kitchen equipment on its maiden voyage.

    While our family-style meal may not be glamorous, it'll be fun. And since you're cooking with us, you'll get an apron to take home.

    ***This will be on the day before we officially open and done as a one-time event. The projected date is July 28th, but please check the description in the project description for any updates.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Sous Chef For Two

    Same rewards as the Sous Chef (cooking class + apron), but for two. Perfect for a date night.

    Classes + schedule in Project Description.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Founders Club

    Welcome to the Founders Club! Your name will be on permanent display in the Tasting Room as part of a thank you wall. Also includes all benefits of the Culinary Advocate.

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    Pledge $475 or more About $475

    Chef de Cuisine

    Receive a one month, part-time membership to Fork Food Lab. You can buy this for yourself or give to a member.

    Membership allows you to:

    -Work in the kitchen
    -Use storage space
    -Sell your products in the Tasting Room
    -Access our community

    This reward allows you to continue for six months at a special rate of $400/month.

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    The Restaurateur

    Not only will you be a part of the Founder's Club, you will also get the benefits of the Sous Chef for two, Culinary Advocate, First Foodie, and The Ultimate Foodie.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Rent the Tasting Room

    Take over our Tasting Room for 20 of your friends. Host an event, teach your own class, or dance like nobody's watching.

    You're welcome to bring in your own chef or we can have one of our members provide the catering. Plus you will receive all the benefits of the Restaurateur.

    ***The cost of food and beverage are not included.***

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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Master of Ceremonies

    Invite up to ten friends to a private cooking class at Fork Food Lab. We'll kick things off with a member-led cooking class where you'll be given snacks and beverages to fuel your creativity.

    Each of your guests will receive an apron and treat to take home. You'll be immortalized on our Founders Wall in addition to receiving the benefits of The First Foodie, Culinary Advocate, and the Ultimate Foodie.

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    Pledge $1,650 or more About $1,650

    Sophisticated Taste

    You and nine other guests are cordially invited to a four-course locally sourced dining experience. Upon arrival, receive a personal tour of the space before you sit down and relax for the rest of the night.

    Your name will be included on the Founders Wall; you will also receive all benefits of First Foodie, Culinary Advocate, and the Ultimate Foodie.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Official Partner

    This reward is best for an organization or company that wants to show their support for the Maine food community. This donation makes you a one-year Official Partner of Fork Food Lab which includes:

    -Logo on invitation to Opening Party and all opening events
    -Permanently listed on the Founders Wall
    -Opportunity to include information in Fork's newsletter
    -Logo on all of Fork's events
    -Special invitation to exclusive events

    Questions? Email eric@forkfood.com

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Maestro

    You are a true supporter of the local food movement. This donation provides a 6-month scholarship for a business, chosen by you, to receive a part-time membership to Fork Food Lab and have access to all the equipment they need to succeed.

    As an additional thank-you, you will receive all of the perks of either the Master of Ceremonies or Sophisticated Taste, as well as invitations to events throughout the year. If you're not in the area, we'll send you goodies throughout the year with updates on Fork Food Lab.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Name the Tasting Room

    You read that right: we will rename the Tasting Room in honor of you.

    This reward will put the name of your choosing on the Tasting Room for one year. Perfect as a memorial to someone special.

    You'll get all the same benefits as the Maestro.

    *Please contact us beforehand if you are interested in this reward. The name cannot infringe on any copyright restrictions or be anything vulgar/offensive. The tasting room will remain named for one year, but you have the option to extend the name/continue the scholarships.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Culinary Advocate

    --Early Bird--

    Be the first to meet our members and taste what they’re cooking. Receive a VIP ticket to our Grand Opening which includes a private tour and goodies.

    We'll also mail you a surprise treat from one of our members once we're up and running.

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Ultimate Foodie

    ***Shipping to the US is included****

    Receive an exclusive gift basket made by members. This is the perfect way to get to know the local food scene + take a bit of Maine home with you.

    This reward includes everything offered in the Culinary Advocate.

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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Food Lovers Getaway

    Enjoy a 2-night getaway to Portland, Maine. You'll stay in the Old Port in a two bedroom loft apartment (sleeps four), one block from the water and easy access to all the shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. Enjoy a tour of Fork Food Lab plus a private cooking class. Your name will also be included on the wall of our Tasting Room.

    Offer is good for one year at a mutually agreed upon time.

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    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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Funding period

- (31 days)