At first glance, Smallman Galley
, which opened in Pittsburgh’s Strip District in 2015, is a public food hall populated by various and unique restaurant concepts. But this is not your average food hall, which typically features satellite outposts of already thriving, popular brands. Just four operators were selected for an 18-month residency designed to give new operators an opportunity to fine tune their startups while providing them with advice, mentoring and assistance on the path to opening a brick-and-mortar establishment.
In Pittsburgh, participating chefs are provided with a fully built-out kitchen within the 200-seat space. They are granted total creative license to create their own brand and market that concept with help from Galley Group’s national public relations team. Along the way they receive business resources, strategy help and mentorship, including training in restaurant operations, help with drafting a business plan, and securing financing.
In addition to coffee, lunch and dinner service, the tenants act as caterers for a whole host of public and private events that take place in the historic building, which has a property-wide liquor license, two bars, and professionally run beverage program. The concept has been so successful, it even landed a collective spot on NEXTpittsburgh
's annual roundup of Best New Restaurants.
When Galley Group co-founders Tyler Benson and Benjamin Mantica open a Cleveland location in the fall of 2018, the playbook will largely be the same. The number of participants may vary, as might the residency length, but the goal will be the same: help nascent food-based businesses establish proof of concept on their path to success.
“The Galley Group team is very excited about our new food hall project in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland," says Mantica, Co-CEO of Galley Group. "There are a ton of talented chefs in the Cleveland area ready to run their own restaurant, we are thrilled to be able to offer aspiring restaurateurs that opportunity. We look forward to becoming a meaningful part of the incredible food and beverage scene in Cleveland.”
The venture will be taking over the ground floor of the Forest City Bank Building at the corner of W. 25th Street and Detroit Avenue, a turn-of-the-century structure on the National Register of Historic Places. That property is being redeveloped by the Snavely Group
, which is also behind the large Quarter
project across the street.
Galley Group will occupy the 7,500-square-foot space presently operated as Massimo Da Milano Italian restaurant. The restaurant, which was opened in 1990 by partners Antonio DiIorio and Rocco Esposito, now functions largely as a private-events facility and will continue to do so until the middle of January.
As we get closer to opening day, expected to take place next fall, we will continue to share more details about the project, including when and how chefs can apply for the first term of residency.
Here's a website
to check keep tabs on in the meantime.