HONESDALE—A new commercial kitchen space operating out of the old Katz underwear factory is open for business and for public rental.

Looking to expand their business, local hops product manufacturers Jason Nacinovich and Chris Tuleya recently renovated a ground-floor suite at 525 Church Street to suit 1,500 square feet of commercial kitchen space.

“It's been a long time planning and envisioning,” said Nacinovich, describing the feeling of seeing the kitchen's completion as “unreal.”

Nacinovich explained he and his business partner had been renting commercial kitchen space from Kim's Pub and Grub to produce their array of hop-based barbecue seasonings, “But as we grew and as they got busier and busier, we were kind of stepping on toes and we felt bad.”

The hop barons set out to make their own kitchen space to grow their business and in doing so thought of another opportunity for other small businesses like them.

“My business partner Chris and I said, 'why don't we build this space not just for us, but for people like us that want to grow their business and want to take it to the next step',” said Nacinovich.

And so they did.

In around six months, the pair had renovated their space with the help of local businesses and contractors and installed the workings of a commercial kitchen.

Complete with an eight-burner gas stove, double convection oven, two smokers, 50 cubic feet of refrigeration space and over 50 square feet of counter space, the Hop Barons Kitchen is available to rent for local small food producers, private events and parties, and other culinary endeavors as well.

“We will have pots, pans, the utensils you need to create and cook,” said Nacinovich.

Keeping a bit of rustic charm within the modern kitchen setting, the hop barons incorporated elements of the old factory within the kitchen.

Two wooden sewing tables were repurposed as a butcher's block and dining table, and pieces of the old heating system were turned into the coat rack which greets visitors at the door.

A place for more than food

“What you can do here is endless.”

The space is available 24/7 for small groups to gather and the kitchen facilities can be used both by aspiring culinary enterprises and private individuals.

“If somebody goes strawberry picking and wants to make 100 pounds of jam, they can come here rather than trying to squeeze it into a kitchen at home,” said Nacinovich.

Anyone who needs copious kitchen space to cook for a large party can also use the facilities, he added.

For lengthy cooking procedures, such as smoking meats, Nacinovich noted chefs may leave in between if they wish, “Just be aware that...somebody else is going to come in maybe and use the oven during that time. It's a community.”

Maintaining that community feel, the seating space within the kitchen can function as a meeting place for business groups or private parties to enjoy.

“Anybody could use it,” said Nacinovich. “Anybody could rent it. Whether it's local mom and dad that want to hold a holiday party here. Or somebody wants to come in and make a bunch of desserts for a party. And they don't have to make anything. They can come here and rent the space and hang out if they want.”

Hop Barons Kitchen also plans to host cooking classes for learners of varying skill levels.

More information about the kitchen and how to rent space or sign up for its programs is available online: www.hopbaronskitchen.com.

Who are the Hop Barons?

Jason Nacinovich and Chris Tuleya, The Hop Barons, have been producing barbecue spices and seasonings made from locally grown hops for four years.

Their spices can be found for sale or cooked into food made at Kim's Pub and Grub, KC Pepper, The Mustard Seed, Wallenpaupack Brewing Company, Dave's Super Duper, Clark's Market, Fertile Valley Farms and Calkin's Creamery.

The Hop Barons have even collaborated with Black and Brass Coffee Roasting Co. to make a coffee rub seasoning.

“That's where it stemmed to think of the community first. Because a lot of people helped us out...,” said Nacinovich.

More information about their products is available from: www.hopbarons.com.