Serving Up a Big Opportunity
The contest to find the next restauranteur heats up in Lawrence
Three culinary contenders dished on plans and dished out samples of their signature plates in hopes of cooking up a new business in the Revolving Test Kitchen.
Each entrepreneur presented to a prestige panel including Salvatore Lupoli, President and CEO of Lupoli Companies, Lane Glenn, President of Northern Essex Community College, Derek Mitchell, Lawrence Partnership, and Janin Duran, Executive Director of EParaTodos/EforAll.
First up was Compass by Antoine. This husband and wife team, Atoine Acosta and Irelis Castro want to create an elegant dining experience at reasonable menu prices. A corporate chef and supporter of El Encanto (the current RTK restaurant), Antoine’s breakfast and lunch offerings would feature a variety of dishes from grab-and-go options to full, plated meals with flavors from all over the world.
The second finalist, Bocaditos is all about bringing delicious, and healthy, homemade food to Lawrence. Offering Latin-inspired dishes, appetizers and desserts from scratch using the freshest ingredients from the soil, well prepared and served for the fast food environment. Longtime resident, Angie Jimenez is ready to bring Bocasitos to the next level using locally sourced food to connect with the community.
The last chef was Kiosko del Tiguerito. Specializing in seafood, the mother daughter duo serve the Latin American food you would enjoy at home, like stuffed mofongos. Previously running a restaurant in Puerto Rico, owner Maria Osorio is currently renting space to serve her cuisine and cater events at the Portuguese Club in Lawrence, these grassroots efforts have already made her well known in the local area.
The Revolving Test Kitchen paves the way for culinary artists, like these three candidates, to turn their passion into viable prospects. “I had to sell my car when I started Sal’s Pizza,” Sal Lupoli, President and CEO of Lupoli Companies told the two contenders. “This opportunity allows entrepreneurs a chance to learn and grow without the financial burden associated with beginning a business.” The resident RTK chef pays only a small amount of rent, which is reimbursed if they choose to open a restaurant in the City of Lawrence at the end of an incubator period. “We want to make a difference in people’s lives, our investment is in their vision,” says Derek Mitchell, Lawrence Partnership. “This is a golden ticket to get access to the expertise of Sal, plus receive marketing, accounting and community support new business owners need to succeed.”
Following the success of the Coco Ray’s and El Encanto, the Revolving Test Kitchen has proven that entrepreneurship is booming in the Merrimack Valley with another resident chef ready to set up shop. See who will be checking into the kitchen in 2019 when the winner is announced at the beginning of the year.