Startup brings several local eateries under one roof

Falafels from SAJJ, one of several restaurants serving food out of Local Kitchens’ new Palo Alto food hall. (Photo by Veronica Weber)

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 opened 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 “micro 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 not on the Peninsula (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 can 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 leaders, 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 Santa Clara County, business 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.”

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

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