Melissa Krumbein in her dream kitchen. Photo by Brittany Claud
Melissa Krumbein tells about how she attempted to fix a Passover lunch for 63 family members in her own home last year: "I have one stove, four burners, one oven … I said, ‘I will never do this again.' "
Thinking she couldn't be the only person who lacked cooking space, Krumbein came up with the concept of a rentable kitchen business. She went to My Manakin Market in Goochland County and asked around to see if home-based chefs and bakers would use such a place. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and it got Krumbein thinking: Could caterers and restaurateurs use a commercial kitchen space as well?
"The city of Richmond has taken away home-based catering licenses," says Krumbein, who previously worked as a paralegal in her husband's consumer-protection law practice. "The food trucks need a place. They need to have a certified commissary kitchen."
So Krumbein decided to start Kitchen Thyme ( kitchenthymerva.com ), which opened Feb. 10 at 7801 W. Broad St., Suite 25, in the Olde Towne Shopping Center anchored by Stein Mart. It includes consumer and commercial kitchens that each can be rented for $25 to $37.50 per hour, with a four-hour minimum. The 1,500-square-foot consumer Dream Kitchen includes an island that houses a stove with six burners, a grill and a griddle, along with two ovens and a steamer. Two more ovens and a warming drawer are installed in the wall. The commercial Pro Kitchen has a 10-burner range with two ovens, two double-stacked convection ovens, a 40-quart braiser and a double-bay deep fryer, among other equipment. The Pro Kitchen also includes prep tables and an 8-by-14-foot walk-in refrigerator and freezer with rentable space.
Early clients have included the Mise en Place cooking school, which is holding private group events there, as well as chefs Tim Bereika (of Secco Wine Bar) and Collin Wagner for their pop-up restaurant, Meddle. Tables and chairs are available for those who want to host a dinner.
"The fun thing about Kitchen Thyme is that you can make this your own space … it's a blank palette," says Krumbein. "It's a white piece of canvas, ready for anybody to do anything."