The City Moves Forward With Plans for East Harlem Kitchen Incubator


The city has put together some innovative plans to help people grapple with the recession in recent months — and at least one of them will please foodies all over the city. By the year’s end, the city’s Economic Development Corporation says it will outfit a 4,000-square-foot commercial kitchen in East Harlem to become a “kitchen incubator” for aspiring restaurateurs.

After some lobbying from East Harlem councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city has decided to give away the space at La Marquetta, a once-vibrant and historic East Harlem market underneath the Metro North rail line at 116th Street. Developers hoping to manage and operate the kitchen — which the city is paying a million dollars to equip — have submitted about 100 applications since August. By summer 2010, the kitchen will be made available at below-market-rate rents to existing businesses that want to grow and to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, on full or part-time basis.

Considering that, in the building boom of the past decade, many food producers have had to move operations to places like New Jersey because of high rents, it seems like a good idea. So did Amy Scherber, the owner of Amy’s Bread.