Barrio Food Hub Opens In San Diego With Huge Array Of Ghost Kitchen Concepts

February 20, 2021

Now open in downtown San Diego is Barrio Food Hub, a 10,000 square-foot "ghost kitchen"-filled warehouse founded by the former CEO of Uber that will eventually house more than 50 eateries. 

In 2018, Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick invested $150 million in a startup called City Storage Systems, which bases its business on repurposing under-utilized real estate buildings to become spaces for new industry sectors, such as online food delivery. The following year, City Storage founded CloudKitchens, which now has more than 40 locations across the country, including in metropolises like New York City, San Francisco, Nashville, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and several in Los Angeles. Once CloudKitchens renovates and outfits its buildings, it then leases spaces to national chains and independent food purveyors for "virtual" take-out & delivery-exclusive eateries that do the majority of their business via online delivery apps like UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub, Doordash, etc. Only some locations house onsite dining areas, but that all may change depending on the progress of continued COVID-19 restrictions around the country.

CloudKitchens has tried to separate its parent company from each of its more than 40 properties, using names like "Food Center" and "Food Nest" for its locations. The San Diego CloudKitchens location is now open in Barrio Logan. Dubbed the "Barrio Food Hub", the building currently houses approximately two dozen different concepts ranging from Spring Valley's Cali Comfort BBQ offshoot Cali BBQ, to Willie Wingz Asian-influenced chicken wings, to popular Japanese hibachi concept El Arabachi. Other food vendors now open or in the process of opening in the Barrio Food Hub are San Clemente-based Biggie's Burgers & Fries, Mo’ Betta Noodlery, WTFries, Gabriella's New York City PizzaCultivated Greens global vegetarian & vegan food, Ocean Beach's 30-year-old Little Chef Chinese, Falafel California, Village Kitchen, BirdN-Bun, Cheng Sushi Sauces, Santee-based The Omelette Factory, Tandoori Grill Indian food, Weenie Hut Jr., Nicolosi's Pizza House, SugarBears Sweet Provisions, Out of Towners "plates of the States", Chubby Pie, Plant-based Pizza Co., Aloha Kine Grindz, Big Kahuna Chicken Company, FireBirds Nashville Hot Chicken, Blue Poke, Mama Mia Pizza. Fuku Sushi, Southwest Grillers, Hana Hawaiian, and Gordy's BYO. 

Known my various names such as "ghost" and "virtual" kitchens, commercial spaces like CloudKitchens new Barrio Food Hub are billed as a way to give restaurants and chefs the opportunity to operate a business within a small space to prepare food without having to worry about the substantial costs of maintaining a dine-in, brick-and-mortar restaurant. With CloudKitchens, operators can launch an eatery on online delivery apps or use the space to prepare their food products for area farmers markets, which greatly reduces overhead costs. Described as a "WeWork for restaurants", CloudKitchens offer its tenants fully outfitted kitchen spaces that come with everything a restaurant or chef would need, including cooking equipment, sinks, hoods, WiFi, and sometimes even marketing assistance. 

The average kitchen size at Barrio Food Hub is 200 square-feet and each unit comes with a private kitchen equipped with a nine foot exhaust hood, three compartment sink, hand sink, prep sink, brand new gas and plumbing connections, and floor drain. Rent for a unit starts at around $3,750 per month, plus utilities and extras. Like other CloudKitchens location, the San Diego branch has a central pick-up area and tablets for delivery drivers to sign in, a large flatscreen listing order updates, and a waiting area with onsite bathrooms for drivers. There is also a kiosk to allow for walk-up take-out orders. Based on the success of the first location, up to 2 more CloudKitchens outposts are expected to open in San Diego County.

Barrio Food Hub is located at 2707 Boston Avenue in Barrio Logan. For more information, follow the concept on Instagram