From Bosnian pita to custom meals, enjoy 6 ways to eat at this Uptown police station kitchen

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From food-grade ovens, griddles, mixers, containers and utensils, restaurant kitchen equipment can be very expensive, especially if you are a new business, a caterer or a pop-up. To offset these costs, many restaurateurs rent space in a curated kitchen — or licensed shared space — which can have its own limitations.

Kristen Cole and Heather Chitty have operated their restaurant business, Madres Kitchen, out of a curator’s kitchen since 2005. Over the years, they’ve learned a lot by sharing the space. But in 2015, it was time for them to start looking for their own space. They dreamed of a place where they could cook and organize events.

The duo had friends with a space for sale in Uptown, shrouded in large windows at the corner of Republican Street and Second Avenue. However, it was a police station kitchen – not a venue – so they switched gears and opened Kitchen Sisters.

“We thought we were taking a route, but as we went along we ended up changing the course,” Cole said.

Not only was it a much easier change to make, but they now had the ability to run a communal kitchen the best way they knew how. Instead of a uniform set of rules for every business, where kitchen managers are “part-time babysitters” making sure people operate within their allocated time slots and follow cleaning schedules , they took a more personalized approach.

They created tiers of membership plans – naming them as if their members were looking for a new apartment. Couch Surfers have limited access and no long term storage on site, perfect for people just starting out. “Studio Members” have 24/7 access, assigned prep tables, dry storage shelves and refrigerator access, designed for someone with existing clients or larger needs . Each has its own station, allowing people to grow their business at their own pace.

That way it might be more difficult – Cole says if she could fill every station around the clock, she’d make a lot more money – but the “headaches and sacrifices” of constant surveillance “never just not worth it.”

Over the past seven years, they’ve seen 20 companies come and go. Currently, there are six food companies, including Madres. They happen to all be female-owned, and while the space occasionally hosts events where people can sample products from each company at the same time, your best bet is to find out what each one offers and see how it meets your needs. You’ll find personal chefs, weekly pop-ups, and caterers right now, offering everything from Ethiopian meals to Bosnian pita. Here are all the details.

kitchen sisters, 501 Second Ave. W., #100, Seattle; 206-283-0619; kitchensistersseattle.com

Madres Kitchen

206-227-7478; madreskitchen.com

Cole and Chitty have taken over the deli at Pete’s Supermarket and Wine Shop in Eastlake (calling it Eats at Pete’s for now), handing over the reins of Madres Kitchen to two of their longtime employees who will maintain the Madres de “farm to fork meal. Look to Madres for seasonal menus that showcase a wide range of cuisines. I had tender chicken breast powder coated in parsley, oregano and garlic, served with Spanish rice, refried black beans and a vibrant churrasco salsa.They host parties and private events, but also host holiday dinners.For everyday lunch/dinner, visit Cole and Chitty at Pete’s (58 E. Lynn St., Seattle; 206-322-2660).

Cooked in Bosnia

www.bakinbosnia.com

Owner Selma Mansell draws inspiration from her Bosnian heritage to create dinners each week for Sunday pickup at Kitchen Sisters. The Balkan-inspired cuisine also has a German and Midwestern influence. His family fled Bosnia to Germany following the Balkan Wars and eventually settled in Wisconsin. You’ll see a Balkan-style pita called a burek – a wonderful, savory windmill that features meat or potatoes rolled in parchment-thin sheets of dough, wrapped in a wheel and cooked until tender. are flaky and golden – alongside kifla dogs, a halal beef sausage baked in a soft bun and served with curry ketchup. I also had a mushroom pappardelle and the sarma, a fermented cabbage roll stuffed with ground beef and rice, slow cooked in a tangy cabbage broth with smoked beef and served with mashed potatoes garlic. The dinner menu is released for pre-order every Wednesday on Mansell’s website and newsletter.

Each fresh thyme

fresheverythyme.com

Patty Bulger is one of two personal chefs at Kitchen Sisters. She works with clients to create custom meals, delivering everything from ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat meals to frozen meals. Bulger sent me a sample of what his customers ate for a week. Had a huge Greek salad with farro and feta, chicken enchiladas and herbed chicken breast with roasted vegetables. Everything was wonderful – but perhaps the best were the mini cheesecakes with a chocolate cookie crust and a blueberry swirl cheesecake, big enough for two bites. Bulger tells me I could order a tray and store them in the freezer, which is about the best thing I could imagine. Its price varies according to the meals and the frequency; its lowest tier is two servings of three dinners (six meals total) plus the cost of groceries and delivery charges.

Geni’s Ethiopian

genisethiopian.com

Geni’s Ethiopian does catering and the occasional pre-order dinner out of the Kitchen Sisters space, but you can also find it at the University District and Capitol Hill Farmers Markets every weekend. While queuing at Capitol Hill Farmers Market, the guy next to me asked if I had ever eaten at Geni’s before. He looked suspicious. Maybe it was because Jonathan Sinton, the Irish husband of chef Meeraf Sinton (originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) was manning the stall. Or maybe it was because you couldn’t detect the aromas of the delicious items that were for sale. There was no need to be suspicious. I ordered the siga wot starter ($14) and was handed a heavy tub filled with spicy brick red ground beef and a side of curried potatoes and carrots. A rolled piece of injera and a dollop of kochkocha, a spicy coriander and chilli sauce, were also in the box. My only mistake was only ordering a pastei de nata egg tart ($4). Less wonky than a creme brulee, the pastry cream and crispy puff pastry were too good to share.

Lemon & Thyme

lemonnthyme.com

As the only other personal chef at Kitchen Sisters, Chanda Martin focuses on restorative cooking, working with guests on specific ways to help them stay focused on their health. I received a three starter menu that Martin had for a vegan/vegetarian customer who requests light garlic and paprika. There was a millet pilaf with baked tofu, peas, mushrooms and sweet potatoes; biryani with coriander-mint chutney; and vegan cream of mushroom soup with endive and radicchio salad. The meals were incredibly balanced and flavorful, the kind to fill you up and feel good. Martin works with clients on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, creating packages to specifically meet their serving size needs.

Chomp!

425-445-1970, chompfoods.com

Led by the husband-wife team of Stephanie and Paul Staley, Chomp! is a catering company that focuses on private parties and events as well as occasional holiday dining. Stephanie Staley jokes that it’s almost easier to tell you what they do not do do when it comes to menu choices, but expect things like herb-crusted pork tenderloin with polenta and grilled pork belly with kimchi macaroni.

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