Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams continues to push Brooklyn as a place for "foodies" with the official opening of Brooklyn FoodWorks, a food business incubator in the former Pfizer factory. Adams has invested $1.3 million of city money for commercial kitchens, co-working space, and classrooms in the building in partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and on Wednesday, he called it a step in the borough's continuing leadership in the "'foodie' renaissance."
The former pharmaceutical factory at 630 Flushing Ave. has already been home to companies like Brooklyn Soda Works, Sfoglini Pasta Shop, and People's Pops, and the FoodWorks incubator houses as many as 100 food businesses. Currently, more than 40 companies are registered, including mini-doughnut company Keyhole Doughnuts, Jalapa Jar salsa, and Everything Sticks, a company that makes food on sticks, according to the EDC. With memberships starting at $300-per-month, food entrepreneurs can access a kitchen and take business classes.
The incubator is aiming to offer resources to food start-ups and is touting a community focus. Already, about 88 percent of the registered start-ups are run by women and minorities, and people who need financial help with initial costs can apply for an $100,000 scholarship program. Besides the kitchen, FoodWorks operator Dinner Lab will offer programming like financing workshops to mentorship.
It's not the first time Adams has invested cash in what he calls Brooklyn's "foodie" culture. Just yesterday, the city announced that Russ and Daughters would be anchoring Building 77, a property in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that the city sunk $80 million into in hopes of encouraging food, tech, and art manufacturing. In a statement, Adams said he was "proud of the 'foodie' culture" in Brooklyn that comes from new food production.
Last year, he also allied with a group of bars, restaurants, and food businesses to form the Brooklyn Nightlife and Restaurant Coalition, an effort to make it easier for the hospitality industry to grow by cutting down on conflicts with residents. Businesses like Brooklyn Brewery, Momofuku Milk Bar, Output, and Roberta's joined the alliance, and again, Adams spoke of attracting "foodies" to the borough. The effort to promote the food industry sometimes rankled residents, some of whom were upset to find that Adams had approved of liquor licenses for restaurants that they had vehemently opposed.
SNL skits about artisanal mayo aside, the millions of dollars in investment means the city is betting on things like the incubator to increase business and jobs in the borough with the help of food start-ups. For interested entrepreneurs, Foodworks is accepting applications for membership on the website.