Fork Food Lab Merges with Pilotlight (Formerly Foodworks)

Maine food incubator strengthens services with national industry leader

PORTLAND, Maine — June 12, 2017 — Fork Food Lab, the 6,000-square-foot commercial kitchen incubator in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood, has merged with Pilotlight (formerly Foodworks), based in Brooklyn, New York.

Founders Neil Spillane and Eric Holstein opened Fork Food Lab on Sept. 27, 2016 with a vision to boost Maine’s food economy by helping local entrepreneurs scale up their companies. Fork Food Lab provides enough space for 45 food businesses and currently services 34 members who have access to state-of-the-art equipment, direct feedback from customers through an adjacent tasting room, as well as marketing and legal advice. Current members make anything from pies to almond milk, and salsa to coffee. 

"We are very excited to partner with a company that shares in our vision for a more robust local food system where entrepreneurs with creative recipes can strategically grow,” said Spillane, who will stay on as General Manager of Fork Food Lab. “This merger will allow Fork Food Lab companies to expand distribution into the large New York market and leverage supplier discounts that are available to current Pilotlight producers."

Pilotlight is a 10,000-square-foot kitchen in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn with a similar goal of helping food startups to grow. The space currently hosts 110 member companies. One of the key­­ benefits of a partnership with Pilotlight is access to their technology team. This arm of the company focuses on developing software to help streamline communication and sourcing for members.

“Foodworks (Pilotlight) is incredibly excited about merging with Fork Food Lab. In spending time with Eric and Neil over the last few months, it was obvious how values- and vision-aligned our teams were,” said founder and CEO of Foodworks, Nick Devane. “We deeply admire everything they, together with their community, have built thus far. We look forward to learning from each other and continuing to build towards changing the face of entrepreneurship in the food space.”

Fork Food Lab will remain at its current location in West Bayside with no immediate plans to change names. The merger is official as of Monday, June 12th.


Finally, a community kitchen that connects food makers with food lovers.

 

Located in Portland's West Bayside neighborhood, Fork Food Lab is walking distance to downtown and only blocks away from I-295. With a full portfolio of kitchen equipment, ample storage, and staff on site for cleaning, Fork allows our food maker "members" to focus on their product with less administrative strain.  With a public tasting room built in, members are able to share their creations immediately,  harnessing a unique experience for visitors and makers alike.

 

 

More than just a shared kitchen.

 

From kale chips to fried seafood to maple syrup and gluten-free bread, our members are specialty food producers, food trucks, bakeries, and catering companies. Our goal is to give food entrepreneurs all the tools they need to create a successful business. Fork will house up to 45 full and part-time members, allowing each business to focus on their craft without the hassle of leases or purchasing equipment.

Marketing boosts from the tasting room, collaboration with other members, and advice from the network of advisors involved in the project will all help grow sales. Fork will also put a truck on the road in spring 2017 that will start distributing our member's products to new shelves all across Maine.  Less time on the road equals more time in the kitchen, just how it should be.

 

 

Tasting Room

where the public meets the chef

Swing by and try out the newest foods being made by some of Maine's future stars. Pop-up brunches, dinners, and tasting sessions are just a few of the many concepts that take place in this light-filled community flexspace.

Kitchen

A modern commercial kitchen for you

Our 5000 square foot kitchen includes a range of high quality cooking equipment, ample storage, and all the disposable items you'll need to operate. In fact, Fork Food Lab is able to provide nearly everything you will need...except ingredients and passion.

 

Community

A network for the small food business

Food is one of the most ancient of rituals for society. We are working towards reconnecting the members of the community eating sustenance with the members of the community producing it.  Immediate, factual feedback is at the core of launching a successful food business. Our advisors care about the growth of Maine food businesses and are excited to lend a hand to members of the Fork community.

Catering and Event Rental

Host your own reception or meal

We realize the opportunities are endless for a tasting room with windows looking into a large, outfitted kitchen ready for anything you can think up.  We want to talk with you if are thinking about putting on a pop-up dinner, private tasting, or your group of friends regularly meet and are looking to change things up.

We did it! Thank you to all 262 backers for helping us raise $33,967 in 30 days!

Special thanks to the companies that helped make Fork Food Lab