Prep ATX is a Welcome Space for Food Professionals
How the new commercial kitchen concept helps grow small businesses in a competitive industry
By Darcie Duttweiler
Photos by Julia Keim
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that starting a restaurant or food business is expensive. Renting a physical space is costly, and never mind the overhead and utilities costs. New companies would rather focus on labor and supplies than having to fork over a large sum of money that’s already eating out of any meager profits they have.
That’s where PREP ATX comes in.
Opened since September 2021, PREP ATX is the largest commercial kitchen facility in Texas, and according to PREP’s community manager Katy Mabee, the company “helps small food businesses grow and succeed.”
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For a monthly fee, the new commercial kitchen facility offers small food business members access to 55,000 square feet consisting of 42 private kitchens, 16 shared kitchens and food truck parking spots, not to mention freezers, walk-ins and storage space, a gorgeous outdoor patio, indoor lobby with seating area and a demo area. The facility also takes other things off the member’s plate, like grease dumping, maintenance, utilities and even helping to advise on finding investor resources, partnerships and any other questions they may have.
“We give them the opportunity to have the perfect kitchen space so they can just focus on their business,” says Mabee. “We take a lot of the responsibility off of their shoulders.”
Members include pretty much anything in the small food business space, including consumer packaged goods, specialty makers, bakers, ghost kitchens, caterers, meal prep solutions, national brands and a little bit of everything in between. Originally based out of Atlanta, PREP ATX is the company’s first location out of the state of Georgia, and it currently houses more than 60 members, including some of the best food businesses in town, such as Chop Chop, Dõ CVG, Tiny Pies, Hank’s, Cantaloupe Island, Fronk’s and Easy Tiger — just to name a few.
In addition to the private and shared kitchen spaces perfect for prepping, a few vendors, like Brooklyn Breakfast and Kin Zen, also offer direct pick-up at PREP ATX, which means that guests can order online, pick up and dine in the contemporary lobby area or outside under twinkling string lights. Fazoli’s also has an open retail storefront, where diners can order food directly. While the lobby and outdoor patio space are indeed inviting for outside guests, Mabee looks at those areas as additional workspaces for the members, who often are on site all day long and need a relaxing space to answer emails or get other work done outside of the kitchen. They’re also available for members to host their own events or cooking classes for the public.
However, the inviting space can be rented out for private events, which is an easy way to include some delicious caterers already on site.
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“Honestly, there’s no better way to serve hotter or fresher food,” Mabee laughs.
In addition, PREP ATX will be holding its first major event on June 23 at 4 p.m. Prep For Your Wedding will allow brides to peruse delicious vendors onsite directly to plan for their big day. Mabee also has big plans for holiday events, such as a German shopping market, so stay tuned for more from PREP ATX.