268 East Front Street in Burlington has always had a connection to food.
It was once a traditional grocery store before becoming a co-op grocery. Now the location is busy with contractors moving in refrigerators, stoves and making the final connections so the building can once again serve as a gathering point for foodies.
Wellsley Robinson is the president of Core Properties and Development. She explained the building’s new purpose.
“It’s now being turned into the Burlington Food Hall and Commissary Kitchen. The whole focus of this building has been community gathering for the citizens and the larger community,” Robinson said.
When Patrick and Mary Casey heard about the food hall, the couple jumped at the chance to join the new experience.
“I think there’s so much down here,” Patrick said. “When this opens up, it’s going to catch people’s eyes. They are going to want to know what’s going on inside of here.”
What’s going on is a large building divided into several sections. The large front section is anchored by Salisbury’s Go Burrito. Behind Go Burrito, are four stations where vendors prepare and sell meals.
Patrick and Mary named their business Casey’s Bistro. The bistro will feature healthy items like veggie meals and wraps.
There also will be not-so-healthy items like homemade chips. Before the pandemic, Mary owned restaurants in Charlotte. Casey’s Bistro will be the couple’s first business since the start of the pandemic.
Next to Casey’s Bistro is another new Burlington shop called Crush Superfoods, which is a health food cafe operated by Christian Zanora and Perla Medrano.
“This is the very first time we have jumped into the food industry,” Zanora said. “We are beginners, but we are ready for anything.”
Across from the tables and chairs are two more stations. One is occupied by Oby Ferranco and his family. They have operated restaurants separately in the past, but this is the first time they will run a business as a family.
Ferranco is confident the new venture Oishii Hibachi Grill will be a success in Burlington.
“It feels good to be a part of something that you know is going to grow,” Ferranco said. “It has a lot of potential, and people in Burlington know that.”
Behind the food stations, there’s a very large kitchen. Kristi Norris has claimed her spot and is ready to start her catering business Kreations.
“I’ve always had a dream to step out on my own and start a catering company or food services company of some sort,” Norris said.
Robinson is thrilled that so many first-time businesses are ready to be a part of the Burlington Food Hall and Commissary Kitchen.
“That really makes me happy to hear because that was the whole vision behind the food hall,” Robinson said. ‘It would provide opportunity for everyone. It will provide opportunities for local restauranters.”
Core Properties and Development in Burlington is still recruiting businesses for the commissary kitchen and food stations.
The Burlington Food Hall and Commissary Kitchen at 268 East Front Street in Burlington is scheduled to open in September.