Logan Square Kitchen will close permanently on Friday, June 28, 2012. We’re grateful to our community and every single person that believes that we can heal community with food.
Currently, about 20 active businesses work at LSK. All of them will need to find new kitchens in order to keep their businesses open. All clients will be able to continue to produce until June 28, 2012. We’ll be working to support our clients during this transition, and welcome any information about available Kitchens.
It’s a sad time when our government kills the very things that can heal our City. Logan Square Kitchen was designed to heal the local economy, environment and food system all at once. It was an innovative, bold idea that never had its chance. The Dept of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) began hammering nails in its coffin before we even opened our doors in 2009 and hasn’t stopped. Unfortunately, we see no end to regulatory burdens, which will continue to block our ability to grow a healthy business.
Over and over we heard, “you did everything right.” See the Alderman before building purchase. All City Depts approve us through Green Building Permit Program. Go to BACP in advance of applying for license, completely disclosing the business model. Spend 3 months talking about what licenses we needed. Apply as directed. Told we ‘misrepresented’ our business. Told we can’t have license caused we’ve failed our “furniture inspection.” Correct that, and get licenses contingent on conditions we can’t meet. Then the Zoning folks try to shut us down. 20 health inspections. 18 months wrapped in red tape. Enduring intimidation and harassment, the resources we set aside to ramp up the business were instead used to pay lawyers and our mortgage while we were denied the right to operate.
When our licensing difficulties ceased, they were just beginning for our clients. Before the “helpful” Shared Kitchen Ordinance that took effect Sept 1, 2011, we got clients licensed in a week or two. Of course, we had to be inspected by Health each time. Now, we’re the inspections have stopped, but it takes 1-3 months and multiple trips to City Hall. Unfortunately, Mayor Emmanuel’s new ‘streamlining’ of business license ordinance that passed last week does not offer any streamlining for shared kitchens.
It should come as no surprise that we must close. LSK is collateral damage from choices that City employees make each day—people that have lost the ability to connect their actions with the consequences they cause. In all the many, many meetings I’ve had in City Hall in the past three years, there’s a question no one ever asks. “Is it good for our City?”