Developers eye kitchen, tasting room at Harvester Center | Top Story

BATAVIA — There is a plan to make space toward the southern end of the Harvester Center into not just a restaurant/tasting room, but for a second prospective tenant to operate a kitchen.

Harvester Property Manager Jarrod Clark says the restaurant/tasting room would be run by Bill and Michelle Snyder, owners of Windy Brew in Strykersville. Clark said there is a proposal from the unidentified tenant. The prospective tenant wants to operate the kitchen for food trucks and for bakers and others who want to prepare food, but don’t have a state-approved kitchen to use. It would be next to the space where the Snyders’ restaurant/tasting room would be. The two businesses would be separate, but the plan is for the Snyders to be able to use the kitchen to prepare food, Clark said.

“They’re very interested in doing this. It’s going to be more of a commercial kitchen, which is a communal kitchen for food trucks. That’s the idea for that one,” Clark said last week. He said the kitchen would be in what is now the Harvester Center maintenance hall. The Snyders’ restaurant/tasting room would be next to the kitchen.

“Just the way the infrastructure is in the building, it makes the most sense. They’re kind of working off each other. They’re going to feed off of each other as well,” Clark said.

In the kitchen, there would be room for multiple users, the property manager said.

“There might be some seating as well. We’re really lacking a bakery in Batavia, so we’re trying to find somebody that will be willing to operate a bakery out of there. We have a big Italian heritage here. Where are you going to buy fresh Italian bread? That would be a huge benefit — cookies, pastries, stuff like that,” he said.

Clark said the idea is to have a kitchen that multiple people could use to prepare their food in the morning, take it out in their food truck, run their food truck and then come back, clean their utensils, put their order in and have their stuff delivered to an actual facility.

“That’s the biggest hurdle that food trucks have in general. You go to Buffalo or Rochester, that’s already happening. There’s many different places you can operate for a communal kitchen,” he said. “We don’t have that here.”

Clark said it’s costly to run a bakery.

“You have to be there early in the morning. It’s hard to find help. You have to have good recipes and you have to have an outlet,” he said. “When you have some networking and some people you’re working with, and you also have people coming in who may be visiting some of the other kitchens, you have an outlet of selling your product and it’s not all on you. You’re not the only one paying the gas bill. You’re not the only one paying the electric bill. The idea would be to get some sort of a house tenant that’s a bakery, then possibly add three or four food trucks in there and there should be enough room where there could be a small Mexican takeout-only or an Italian restaurant. It would be basically takeout …”

Clark said the bakery and the food trucks would be key to the kitchen that would go next to the Snyders’ restaurant/tasting room.

“When you walk in, you’re going to come into a vestibule,” he said. “You’re going to have a double doors straight to go into the tasting room or you’re going to have a single door left to go into the communal kitchen, which will have a small dining room in the front. It’s going to be mainly a pickup area to pick up food, if people are operating out of there and they’re having a takeout. The prospective tenant that we have to operate the kitchen has identified a possible bakery. He has tentatively secured one once the kitchen is in operation.”

Clark said his goal is partly “to open the building up to citizens of Batavia.”

“I can’t explain how many people I meet that have never been in the building. It’s been there for over 100 years,” he said.

“It really got Batavia going in the late 1800s. They had almost 3,000 people that worked there. It (the Harvester building) bleeds history,” CLark said.

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