Food Incubator, Marketplace, and Farm-to-Table Restaurant Coming to Locust Point

| August 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

Digital Bay Center, a Baltimore technology incubator and accelerator that looks to looks to assist “socially disadvantaged populations” with venture capital and investment, is opening a food incubator, marketplace, and farm-to-table restaurant at the former home of The Port Public House and JR’s Bar & Grill at 1229 Hull St. in Locust Point. Digital Bay Center will complete the purchase of the 3,760 sq. ft. building in October and is looking to open the facility in the spring.

Digital Bay Center was started by Colby Smith and Kendrick Tilghman. Peter Daniels also worked with Smith and Tilghman to develop the idea. All three said they have a passion for technology, economic development, and public service. Digital Bay Center’s office is at Power Plant Live! and works mainly with “technology businesses from cyber security, communications, technology education, and workforce development to name a few,” said Smith.

The company is expanding into the food industry because they see a lack of food incubators in Baltimore and love the city’s history of growing companies such as McCormick & Company; TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc., founded by Reginald F Lewis; and Park Sausages, the first African American-owned company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Daniels was born in Jamaica, grew up in Jamaica Queens, NY, and served in the United States Marine Corps which brought him to Baltimore. He has worked at T. Rowe Price for 25 years.

Smith said he grew up in Memorial Baptist Church in East Baltimore where his grandfather was the pastor. He is also the son of a former judge for the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Smith has spent 12 years working in the court system.

Tilghman was born and raised in Baltimore and his grandfather owned the former Sphinx Club which was later run by his father. He has an MBA in electrical engineering and has a passion for “STEMifying” things, especially in the food and music industry. He serves on multiple business organization in the Baltimore area.

When Daniels, Smith, and¬†Tilghman discovered the Locust Point building, they loved the space, location, and the fact that it was “pretty turn key.”

“Locust Point has been called ‘Baltimore’s Ellis Island’ where immigrants boarded large ships searching for a freedom, liberty, and a fresh start in the United States. So, what better place to launch a new fresh journey on another kind of ship, the “Entrepreneur-Ship,” in Locust Point!” said Digital Bay Center in notes about the project.

The concept in Locust Point does not yet have a name, but it will have a farm-to-table restaurant and stalls from small business vendors on the first floor. Digital Bay Center is removing the bar from the first floor so it’s more “family-friendly.” A smoothie shop called RX Smoothie, which will offer traditional, CBD, and illness-based smoothies, will share the second floor along with a bar. The third floor will continue to be meeting space that can be used for training, meetings, and neighborhood association meetings. The kitchen will be used by the restaurant and will serve as commercial kitchen space for the members businesses and students.

The building will be open to the public everyday for lunch and dinner.

The space will be “technology-driven” with kiosk ordering systems built into tables, which can also be used by kids to play games. There will also be robotic servers called Belle Bots, and they are working with delivery robots and drones as well as kitchen robots.

Digital Bay Center will work with smaller food-oriented mom-and-pop shops looking to get off the ground, companies looking to grow regionally, and businesses striving for an IPO. They will work with entrepreneurs in different aspects of the food industry to produce items that will end up on store shelves, develop carryout shops and future restaurants, and develop food technology.

Digital Bay Center will host community events including a Chef 4 A Day program, train people on food technology, train community members on the ServSafe and the Clean Kitchen Project, and implement the Nourishment Innovation Network (NIN) that “will comprise community organizations, local governments, educational institutions, and business partners who meet regularly to advance a typical food and economic opportunity agenda.”

A portion of the proceeds from Digital Bay Center will be donated to local organizations such as Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School, Latrobe Park, Pathways to Autism, Cars for Cancer, Children of Fallen Police Officers Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and the Locust Point Community Association.

Digital Bay Center’s Locust Point facility is funded by private investors as well as a Maryland Legislature Bond Bill that was sponsored by Senate President and District 46 Senator Bill Ferguson and District 46 Delegate and Democrat nominee for Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman. Daniels, Smith, and Tilghman said they also have received great guidance from District 11 Councilman Eric Costello. They thanked each of them for their support.

Digital Bay Center is hosting a public meeting tonight at 730pm at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church. It will look for community input including what the facility should be called.

Renderings from Digital Bay Center

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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