Woodberry Kitchen is evolving its popular Baltimore restaurant into an event space dedicated to hosting locally-sourced food experiences.
Funded on 09/19/2022
Woodberry Kitchen is a regenerative restaurant and locavore dining experience in Baltimore, Maryland, owned and operated by James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde. From its beginnings 15 years ago, Woodberry has always been focused on sourcing as many of its ingredients as possible from nearby producers. By buying directly, Woodberry drives over $1M in sales annually for sustainable and regenerative food producers, creating a ripple of local economic impact throughout the region.
Woodberry's commitment to regenerative agriculture goes far beyond farm-to-table, offering an ever-evolving culinary experience that’s completely in-sync with what’s being harvested in the region at any given time–often altering their menu within hours of receiving fresh produce. As Chef Gjerde says, “the relationships we have forged with local producers can be found in every bite.”
Woodberry Kitchen is seeking a loan from Steward for equipment and infrastructure improvements that will allow them to complete renovations on a 120-seat event space (with an intimate 30-seat restaurant). The transition to an event-based model comes as diners are spending more on food-focused events and less on eating out at restaurants. And events can be far more predictable with some events booked out well over a year in advance.
Woodberry has proven that it's possible to turn a profit without sacrificing local sourcing or sustainability. Now they aim to apply their recipe of success to regenerative catering, all while increasing staff pay to ensure their employment is more equitable.
The new event space is scheduled to open by late summer of 2022, with a smaller restaurant reopening at the end of October.
Woodberry Kitchen started with the question, “What is the best way to feed ourselves?”, and has been led by this philosophy since it opened in 2007. Driven by an awareness that commodity agriculture was a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, Woodberry began working with growers around Baltimore/DC and moving the restaurant in the direction of a locally-driven cuisine. Today, business continues to be rooted in practices that minimize environmental degradation while maximizing returns to farmers and food producers from throughout the region. This includes:
Woodberry Kitchen holds as one of its core tenets that the best way to support regional farmers and food producers is to purchase their products, and chef Spike Gjerde has an exceptional track record of doing just that. Woodberry developed its approach to cuisine around the idea of economically supporting regional agriculture through consistent purchasing and paying fair prices for the farm products on which they base their menu. Key to the success of this approach is Woodberry Kitchen’s willingness to share the stories of the farms with whom they partner. Support for Woodberry Kitchen translates directly into support for the farms and food business throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. This puts their mission in direct alignment with our mission at Steward.
Photo Credit: Scott Suchman
Kitchen Equipment - $50,000
Tavern Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment - $60,000
Events Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment - $40,000
Tent - $30,000
Material for Renovation - $50,000
Legal Fees & Misc Loan Costs - $13,700
Total Budget: $243,700
This loan will be made to Watershed LLC, a Maryland limited liability company, which is the sole owner and operating entity of Woodberry Kitchen. Woodberry Kitchen provides an event space and a small restaurant dedicated to local sourcing.
This loan will be used to refinance a short-term bridge loan from Steward for equipment and infrastructure to get their renovated event spaced focused on local and regional ingredients off the ground.
The total loan amount is $243,700 which will assist Woodberry Kitchen in growing and expanding its business.
This loan is secured by a second-position lien across all business assets. Steward’s underwriting team was comfortable with a second position given the amount of business assets held by the entity as well as the primary lien holder being an SBA EIDL loan with favorable terms to the borrower. The business holds assets with a value 2x+ the value of its outstanding debt, including this new Steward loan.
This loan is set at a 6.5% interest rate, with a 60-month term, and fully amortized monthly payments beginning 3 months after funds are disbursed.
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