RICHMOND — A renovated diesel engine repair shop is home to a new food concept in Scott’s Addition. The Big Kitchen opened its takeout and delivery-based business on Wednesday, with the vision of creating meals from scratch that people can enjoy at home.
Restaurant co-owner Susan Davenport said they’ve been working on the space for a little over a year now.
The renovations include a storefront where customers can come in and pick up their order, as well as a walk-in cooler and a smokehouse in the back.
“This was the original bay where the semis would come through and drop their engines to be repaired,” Davenport said.
Customers can choose to drive through the covered garage to pick up their order from an employee or peruse the storefront options inside.
The menu offers a variety of items ranging from nacho kits and wood-fired frozen pizzas to bottles of wine and packs of beer.
“We have a really great team of chefs behind it,” Davenport said. “We have a lot of great sourcing with local purveyors, whether it’s our cheese or our meats, or especially in the growing season, the farms that we work with.”
The four partners behind The Big Kitchen formed Big Kitchen Hospitality, a local group that also operates Tazza Kitchen in the West End along with an outpost in Scott’s Addition.
The group said it has a staff of more than 300 employees working in its six full-service restaurants, three which are located in the Carolinas. Davenport said the online ordering technology and experienced food staff distinguishes The Big Kitchen from other carry-out concepts.
“You can order ahead and order several meals for a few days or some sides or frozen pizzas, and when you select your time for it to be ready, all you have to do is pull into our bay and we bring your order out,” Davenport said.
The Big Kitchen plans to launch food delivery service next month and will use refrigerated vans to keep the food fresh. Each item comes with heating instructions on the top label.
Jeff Grant, a BKH partner, said numerous people were involved in many trial runs to test recipes, along with the process of packaging and heating the prepared meals.
“Wood-fired cooking is still prominent, and we’ve included a few Tazza favorites, but we are excited about the new dishes and flavors that this team has put together,” Grant said.
Davenport said The Big Kitchen will offer customers the option to bring back used packaging for the staff to compost.
“I hate plastic, and so most of our packaging is compostable, and we actually compost everything organic here at this kitchen,” Davenport said. “Every month, we compost almost two tons of materials.”
The grab-and-go style market in the storefront offers freshly prepared items including sandwiches, smoked meats and salads. Storefront hours are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2:30-6:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Big Kitchen is located at 1600 Altamont Ave.
By Madison Manske /Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students participating in the program provide state government coverage for Virginia’s community newspapers and other media outlets, under the supervision of Associate Professor Jeff South.