Kirk and Juliann Francis spent a decade baking in communal kitchens for their Captain Cookie and the Milk Man business. It was a cost-effective way to build the company, which started as a a side hustle supplying coffee shops and evolved into a full-time venture including three food trucks, a storefront, and catering. But sharing other people’s mixers and ovens wasn’t always easy. Sometimes the kitchens were overcrowded. Or the neighborhoods felt unsafe. Or they felt powerless to fix problems fast enough.
So when the couple began looking for a new space to expand their cookie-making operation, they initially imagined they’d move into a facility all their own. But as they talked to other industry friends, they realized a lot of people were looking for kitchens. It occurred to them: why not create the dream communal space they always wanted?
The result is Tastemakers, a food incubator—and food hall—located in a former mayonnaise factory in Brookland. The space now hosts production for 15 local food companies (with room for more), including Bullfrog Bagels, Shrub District, and Republic Kolache. It will also soon be home to vendors selling everything from cheesesteaks to falafel to diners, plus a bar.