It's one of many local startups empowering chefs both professional and amateur to invite strangers in for at-home dinners, but EatWith is promoting itself by doing something a little different: opening a test kitchen in its SOMA office, where chefs and restaurants can try out new concepts, hold pop-ups, and get feedback from diners. Set in a 2,000-square-foot loft with views of AT&T Park, the venue can hold 24 seated diners or 40 people for a roving cocktail party, and is intended to help chefs test their recipes, woo investors, and expand their reach.
The concept of a test kitchen isn't a new one for SF: Naked Kitchen in the Mission has been supporting chefs doing pop-ups for years, and North Beach's Cookhouse is a go-to space for private events and test meals. However, EatWith has been able to secure some pretty killer chefs to participate in the program: James Syhabout is doing a tailgate before the Giants home opener on April 13, and forthcoming Mission brewery/restaurant Citizen Fox will be doing test dinners there in March. Other drop-ins have included acclaimed chef Jonnatan Leiva (Saxon+Parole), and a monthly team-up with La Cocina for sit-down dinners with participants in their culinary incubator. And of course, EatWith still continues to offer plenty of dinners in private homes, including everything from crab feasts to Ayurvedic food.