Real Good Kitchen Announces 501C3 Project, Supper Club, and More

Daddy D's Food Truck - RGK Community Meal, Photo Credit RGK
Daddy D’s Food Truck – RGK Community Meal, Photo Credit RGK

Real Good Kitchen (RGK) opened in 2021 as a full-service, shared commercial kitchen space led by Bailey Foster. You have seen the fruits of their labor if you have visited local breweries or frequented the Market. Many of their members have loyal followings already, and having access to this kitchen space for minimal investment has allowed them to reach further and higher to meet their goals of serving great food to Knoxville. RGK has had over 80 food entrepreneurs participate in their membership program, and they have 35 current members.

Intentionally positioned in East Knoxville, RGK serves its members and works toward food security and access in East Knoxville. Last summer, they piloted a program through RGK that provided prepared meals and recipes for families to send home with kids. Time and money are the most significant barriers to food security in the community. Bailey says, “Everyone deserves access to good food.” One of the multiple ways she is living out this mission this year is by working with United Way of Greater Knox on a food system project to address the food needs in the East Knoxville community.

In keeping with this theme of service to others through food, Bailey has begun at 501c3 called the Real Good Kitchen Foundation. This organization will provide a full-scale food business incubator program to give members classroom work, ongoing support, time in the kitchen with technical support, and other resources to help hopeful food business entrepreneurs get the best foothold possible to begin their journey. A grant to start this program has been approved through the Lawson Family Foundation to get this project off the ground. The summer meal project will run through the Foundation as well.

With a target of beginning its first cohort in the Fall, Bailey feels they can serve up to 4 invested individuals who want to start their own small business. She says her goal is that the cohort will receive help with financial planning and business model direction with help from Pathway Learn and will have mentors to support them throughout the process.

The mission is to provide the resources needed to make these businesses a profitable venture for each person going through the program. They will learn about economic development, financial security, and how to make sustainable, profitable businesses. Participants invest in participating in the program. Some details are still determined, but there will be a focus on persons of color, females, and immigrants.

Another development in RGK is catering. You can contact one source (RGK) to have access to any or all of the members to cater an event or gathering. They provide full service or a drop-off and set-up service. This gives you options for catering from any food businesses operating out of the kitchen. You’ve also seen them at recent festivals and events around town, like the Dogwood Arts Festival, where they debuted at Tasting Tent, which was delicious and so much food we couldn’t eat it all. They also participated in the Our Common Nature event, where they were so popular that they sold out at every tent by the end of the evening.

Taste of RGK at Dogwood Arts May 2023, PHOTO CREDIT Jared Worsham, Baily Foster, Alhen Drillich, Jordan Smith

In February, they began a “Supper Club,” highlighting one or two of the food members monthly to provide their food right out of the kitchen. This helps the food members to have a good night of sales and to get the word out about their food. You can stop in and pick it up, but preordering is the best way to ensure food availability. Sign up for their email list and follow them on social media to learn more about the Supper Club and other events, like their open kitchen tours.

As if these new ventures weren’t enough, Bailey is renovating an additional 1,600 sq ft space on the front side of the kitchen with plans to make a public-facing storefront for purchasing and picking up items from the food members, classes, meetings, and more. As it develops, they also plan to add a second RGK location in the Western Heights project. Look for that in 2026. I’ve been following since their outset because, you know, food. Getting to experience and share their growth is one reason I love writing here.

Who is your favorite entrepreneur hailing from Real Good Kitchen?