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Curry and reubens: Local Kitchens opens "digital food halls" on the Peninsula

Uploaded: Nov 24, 2021
By Sara Hayden

If you've ever craved curry, reubens and ice cream all at once, you're in luck: Local Kitchens makes it possible to buy all the above and then some from different restaurants in a single order. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the team is opening a new Peninsula location in Palo Alto. A Mountain View location will follow in mid-December.

Led by DoorDash alumni, Local Kitchens bills itself as a "digital food hall" or a "micro food hall" with a focus on local food purveyors. At a Local Kitchens location or on its website, customers can order dishes from a variety of Bay Area restaurants for pickup or delivery, or to eat on site.

"It's a little bit of a different mix," co-founder and CEO Jon Goldsmith says. "Our goal is to capture the diversity of the Bay Area food scene."

Participating restaurants vary by location. For example, Oren's Hummus is available in Lafayette, but isn't currently on the menu at the Peninsula Local Kitchens locations (you'll have to go directly to Oren's for their legendary hummus instead). From the Palo Alto Local Kitchens location, the biggest to date, customers will be able to order:

- Curry Up Now – Indian street food
- MIXT – gourmet salads
- Proposition Chicken – sandwiches, salads and entrees
- SAJJ – Mediterranean dishes
- Señor Sisig – Filipino street food
- The Melt – burgers and comfort food
- Humphry Slocombe – ice cream
- Rooster & Rice – Thai chicken and rice

From the Mountain View location, in addition to MIXT, Proposition Chicken, Señor Sisig, The Melt, Wise Sons and Humphry Slocombe, customers will also be able to order Israeli street food from Sababa.

Investors are banking on Local Kitchens, which currently has locations in Lafayette, Cupertino and San Jose and has plans to expand to Sacramento, Los Angeles and beyond. The startup raised $25 million in series A funding in June with the support of venture capital firm General Catalyst, which includes the likes of Airbnb, Instacart, Warby Parker and Deliveroo in its portfolio.

Local Kitchens' Peninsula presence isn't entirely new: Proposition Chicken, which was founded in San Francisco, partnered with the team at Local Kitchens — then called Local Food Group — to reach Peninsula customers a year ago as the startup kicked off.

In the Local Food Group arrangement, Proposition Chicken dishes were prepped by the staff at Shiok Singapore Kitchen in Menlo Park, and distributed from there via third-party delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. At the time, Ari Feingold and Dennis Lim, the restaurants' respective owners, were interested in a new model that could support their businesses.

Since then, the Local Food Group has turned into Local Kitchens, with a slightly different model: In its current iteration, dedicated Local Kitchens staff prepare different restaurants' dishes on-site at the Local Kitchens locations.

To fulfill delivery orders, Local Kitchens contracts with DoorDash, a company that's recently faced heat from "Dashers," the city of Chicago and others. This week, DoorDash agreed to pay $5.3 million to settle allegations of violations of past benefits for San Francisco delivery workers. Last year in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County, leaders pushed for a cap on delivery fees.

The Local Kitchens team believes that convenience and choice will ultimately benefit customers, and they'll also be able to help their restaurant partners with a revenue share agreement.

"We came up with a model we hope is sustainable for them," Goldsmith says. "We were so excited to have an opportunity to help restaurants."

The grand opening for the Palo Alto Local Kitchens location at 369 California Ave. will be at 11 a.m. on Nov. 30. Attendees are eligible to receive $10 off their lunch that day. To receive a meal voucher, email the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Charlie Weidanz at [email protected]

Local Kitchens // 369 California Ave., Palo Alto; 1711 W El Camino Real Suite B, Mountain View.

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