A new restaurant accelerator will officially open its doors this weekend in The Yard at Fishers District. The Fishers Test Kitchen features restaurant concepts from three culinary entrepreneurs who, in addition to showcasing their food, will receive business coaching and startup assistance from Launch Fishers. Co-founder Jolene Ketzenberger says the goal is to help “de-risk” the process of opening a restaurant and build a culinary community.
Chef Carlos Salazar, who runs the Lil Dumplings restaurant, tells Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman why the accelerator is invaluable to aspiring chefs looking to “make it” in the industry.
“They’re giving us that platform to not fail, to showcase what we can do, you know, our talent to just put there what we care about,” said Salazar. “They’re giving us that room to do it without that fear of failure. I think the biggest fear for this is if you’re not making good enough food. That is the biggest fail and even if that happens, they’re here to help you. You have room to grow and change it up.”
Ketzenberger says the entrepreneurs are running three independent restaurants within the Fishers Test Kitchen. She says some of them might be ready to branch out into their own restaurant spaces within 18 months to two years.
Also part of the Fishers Test Kitchen is The Signature Table, a culinary performance space. Residents can come and take a cooking class, watch a chef demo or rent the space for a private event.
Ketzenberger says the innovation-friendly atmosphere in Fishers lends itself to the Fishers Test Kitchen.
“The idea of innovation is really tightly connected to tech and business, but we also want to be innovative in other areas, including the culinary arts. It feeds the innovation economy that Fishers has created here with these restaurants, the focus on local food. I think it really appeals to the kinds of businesses that are making Fishers their home and it appeals to the community as well, because there has been a demand for more local, independent restaurants.”
Located adjacent to the Fishers Test Kitchen is Sun King Brewing Co.’s new location. Co-founder and Head Brewer Dave Colt says bringing Sun King to the accelerator was a perfect fit.
“Mayor Scott Fadness and (Launch Fishers founder) John Wechsler and all of the folks were so welcoming and warm when we talked about this idea. They had the test kitchen and we wanted to create some fun, interesting beers here. It just felt right. It felt great to be together and to incubate and to create ideas and flavors.”
You can learn more about the Fishers Test Kitchen and the three restaurant concepts by clicking here.