Michael Shemtov’s dream of a fancy food court has nearly come to fruition. The stalls are built out, the signage in place, now it’s just a matter of nailing up some art and making sure the kitchen equipment works. He expects to unlock the doors of Workshop in late April.

The six concept, four stall restaurant space will open in Pacific Box & Crate, a business complex at 1503 King St. Currently home to real estate and marketing software firm Boomtown, the huge campus feels like something out of Silicon Valley. In addition to Workshop, Pacific Box & Crate houses forthcoming Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., a yoga studio, and Middleton Group architecture firm, with space for more businesses. And to keep all those tenants happy, Shemtov hopes to bring in a rotating variety of eats. 
To kick things off, Pink Bellies, Juan Luis, JD Loves Cheese, Slice Co. pizza, and Kite Noodles from Workshop manager Jonathan Ory will open in addition to Ory’s Bad Wolf Coffee which will be a permanent concept. Each restaurant has signed a different lease with some contracted for a few months and others for over a year.

“It’s a place where in three days a chef could move in and open for $3,000 to $5,000,” says Shemtov. The idea is to give both future restaurant owners and veterans a place to either jumpstart their idea or play around with something they’ve always wanted to try.

For instance, John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue’s Juan Luis concept is an expansion of his popular Tuesday night Tex Mex while Pink Bellies allows food truck owner Thai Phi to work in a space that’s easily three times the size of his original concept. Workshop’s space, plus the tricked out kitchen, were all designed to lure in choice occupants.

“We wanted the kitchen to be jaw dropping,” says Shemtov looking at the expansive prep area. All the tenants will share the kitchen, then take their dishes into their own stalls for service.

As for guests, they’ll walk up and order. There will be no runner service at any Workshop stall. Inside, the building will have 100 seats with many more outside both under Workshop’s awning and beyond on a strip of grass. Next door, Edmund’s will have a neighboring patio with seating and Shemtov expects the two to collaborate on events.

Look for Workshop to open later this month.

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