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12.18.2018

Chicago’s Food Scene Grows As East Garfield Park Gets A New Food Business Incubator

A Collective Investment in East Garfield Park, The Hatchery Will Support Underserved Entrepreneurs and Strengthen Chicago’s Thriving Food and Beverage Sector


Chicago’s food and beverage scene has been on full display this month. Dubbed the ‘Oscar’s of Food’, the James Beard Awards will stay in Chicago through 2027. The Brewers Association announced Chicago is home to the most breweries in the U.S., beating famous beer cities like Denver, Seattle, and San Diego.

Most notably, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and WBC President and CEO Andrea Zopp joined East Garfield Park community leaders to open The Hatchery – a $34 million, 67,000 square-foot incubator that will help local food entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams with microlending and business coaching, while also helping food companies maintain cutting-edge talent and innovation.

Developed by Accion Chicago and the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC) with support from Conagra Brands and a long list of sponsors, this multi-year project is a testament to the power of public-private partnerships that invest in underserved neighborhoods and put community-impact first.


The Hatchery will create new jobs, support local entrepreneurs, and strengthen Chicago’s position at the forefront of the food industry. Even more importantly, this facility will extend the success of Chicago’s thriving food industry directly into our neighborhoods and drive future economic growth on the West Side.

– Mayor Emanuel


“The Hatchery will create new jobs, support local entrepreneurs, and strengthen Chicago’s position at the forefront of the food industry,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Even more importantly, this facility will extend the success of Chicago’s thriving food industry directly into our neighborhoods and drive future economic growth on the West Side.”

Located on the southeast corner of Lake Street and Kedzie Avenue, the facility provides a wealth of equipment and amenities for emerging food and beverage businesses, including 54 private food-grade kitchens, 5 shared kitchen bays, dry-cold storage, loading docks for distribution and transportation, and an open-office space.

In addition to kitchen space, The Hatchery will house the Garfield Park Garden Network Neighborhood Market, a program for neighborhood entrepreneurs to get capital and coaching from Accion. To drive workforce development within the neighborhood, prominent Chicago chef Rick Bayless is partnering with The Hatchery to launch the Culinary Core Institute, a chef-training program for young West Side residents who aspire to cook in Chicago’s top restaurants.


The goals of the Culinary Core Institute are to equip our city’s young people with a low-cost, solid culinary education and to provide Chicago’s world-class restaurants with job-ready cooks. We look forward to sending these graduates into the workforce and making our industry, and our city, stronger.

– Chef Rick Bayless


“The goals of the Culinary Core Institute are to equip our city’s young people with a low-cost, solid culinary education and to provide Chicago’s world-class restaurants with job-ready cooks,” said Chef Rick Bayless. “We look forward to sending these graduates into the workforce and making our industry, and our city, stronger.”

Altogether, The Hatchery will further strengthen Chicago’s food and beverage scene, which currently stands as the second largest in the nation with 4,500 companies, 130,000 employees and $32 billion in sales.

Since Mayor Emanuel took office, Chicago has seen significant investment from many leading companies in the food and beverage industry; with Conagra Brands, ADM, Mead Johnson, Beam Suntory Kraft Heinz, McDonalds, and Ferrara Candy all opening corporate headquarters in Chicago.

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