WEST TOWN — A burgeoning food delivery startup with a focus on healthy meals is expanding to West Town and plans to hire 10 new workers.
Humboldt Park resident Josh Katt started Kitchfix in October 2012 after he received so many requests to be a personal chef that he struggled to keep up. Instead, he decided to deliver special meals to whichever homes and businesses wanted them.
"It got to be so big that I needed to have a commercial kitchen," Katt said.
Then known as CJK Foods, the business soon cultivated a fan base that includes para-athlete Susan Katz along with others who don't have much time to whip up gourmet meals meeting special dietary standards.
Katt's startup might be fresh to Chicago, but he's had plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of the cooking world. As a 14-year-old, he'd spend weekends slinging pizzas and washing dishes at a local restaurant close to his Michigan home.
Now, from a roughly 1,200-square-foot shared kitchen in River North, Katt's business creates menus that are all free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn.
And with a $300,000 round of funding led by investor Ken Leonard, also known for his role in helping Protein Bar get off the ground, Katt can lease a nearly 5,000-square-foot space at 1731 W. Grand Ave.
The expansion will allow Katt to add deliveries and cut down on the amount of time customers need to order in advance, he said. He said he picked the area for its relatively low rent and close proximity to both West Side neighborhoods and Downtown.
"I’m really excited about just being able to really deliver a product that is truly helpful for people," Katt said.
The meals, which include locally sourced meats and vegetables as well as organic ingredients, range in price from about $12-$15. Sides and smoothies are about $5-$7. Delivery is $10 for those in the city and $20 for the suburbs.
Customers can pick out meals with a certain calorie range as well as those that adhere to the Paleo diet or are anti-inflammatory.
"One of our biggest focuses is making food we want to eat," Katt said.
He's also looking for 10 more people to join the team, including chefs, cooks, delivery drivers and salespeople. Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
He hopes growing his business will allow him to reach more people who want a meal that provides nutrition while saving them time.
"People love that they don't have to worry about what's for dinner," he said.
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