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Mother-Daughter Duo Pin Dreams on Newly Opened Lakeview Kitchen and Market

By Ariel Cheung | June 8, 2015 8:32am

EAST LAKEVIEW — If you enjoy a delicious croissant today at 3109 N. Broadway, don't expect it to be there again tomorrow.

The rotating stream of start-ups and caterers at the new Lakeview Kitchen and Market means customers will never know what to expect when they peek at the market-side shelves, where participating businesses can showcase and sell their products.

But it also means Lakeview entrepreneurs looking for a less expensive way to break into the food industry now have a place to call their own.

Wendy Grahn [left] and daughter Maggie O'Brien opened the Lakeview Kitchen and Market, 3109 N. Broadway, as a shared commercial kitchen for start-ups and catering businesses. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

"The brick-and-mortar expense is huge when you're trying to build your brand and get your product out there, so using a shared kitchen makes it possible to eliminate the cost of all the equipment until they're ready to have their own shop, if they want," said co-owner Wendy Grahn.

Already, Grahn's daughter, Maggie O'Brien, has moved her dessert catering business, Velvet Dessert, into the shared kitchen, along with Cookie Yum and Vegani Gourmet. The Vig restaurant, which is expected to open in late summer, is currently doing recipe testing in the kitchen, too.

But to get a return on their $400,000 investment, Grahn said they'll need more tenants.

The fully stocked kitchen at the shared Lakeview Kitchen and Market is open 24/7, with daytime and overnight hours available. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

Grahn and O'Brien have been working toward this day for the past 18 months, after the storefront that once housed the now-shuttered House of Fine Chocolates caught their eye. The paperwork was completed in January, and after renovations and professional-grade kitchen updates the kitchen opened May 15. The market followed with a grand opening Monday.

Ariel Cheung says the pair is enjoying their time together so far:

The 24/7 kitchen has everything needed for a professional cook or baker, from confectionery ovens to two huge freezers to mixers and sheet pans. Companies can rent hourly kitchen time for $15 to $25, depending on how often they rent and whether they choose daily or nightly hours. Storage space is also available.

Grahn never dreamed of working in the food industry until her daughter approached her with the idea to open a shared community kitchen. After struggling to find available space for O'Brien's Velvet Dessert baking in other shared kitchens, the two women knew there was a need they could fill in their own neighborhood.

Freshly baked madeleines (destined for the Low Line Market in the Southport Corridor) cool on a rack in the newly opened Lakeview Kitchen and Market, 3109 N. Broadway, on Thursday, June 4, 2015. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

"I said, 'Don't toy with me. Don't say things like that if you don't really mean it.' Because a mother-daughter [business], that could be tricky," Grahn said.

When O'Brien assured her she was serious, Grahn jumped in and put her life savings into the shared kitchen, leaving behind a career in corporate training.

"I put my time in, and I was totally ready to get out of the corporate scene. I thought, 'How cool is it that I get to spend my career now with my daughter?' I've been here 12 hours a day for the past two weeks, and I love it," Grahn said.

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