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Paul Flessland, Published January 15 2013

Square One Rental Kitchen serves restaurants, cooking buffs

FARGO – Casey Steele once rented space in a commercial kitchen to bake cakes for weddings and special occasions.

That experience provided the recipe for her own kitchen near downtown to serve catering services and cooking enthusiasts.

Steele opened Square One Rental Kitchen & Event Center last week to provide cooking enthusiasts and organizations with the equipment they require to meet their cooking needs.

The facility at 1407 1st Ave. N. comes complete with two commercial kitchens and an event center seating up to 40 people. All a person needs to use the kitchen is a reason and a commercial food preparation license.

One of the primary functions of Square One Kitchen is to help restaurants and bakeries that are just starting out by providing them with a full kitchen. “They’re selling [their product] elsewhere,” Steele said. “They just need a place to make it.”

Square One Kitchen is open to rental 24 hours a day to accommodate clients’ busy schedules. Steele’s business philosophy is to be accommodating to her customers.

“The better these businesses do,” she said, “the better this facility does.”

Square One Kitchen plans to schedule cooking classes taught by members of the community or Steele herself.

The former office building had to be completely remodeled. The project allowed Steele, who graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in architecture, to use her design skills.

With help from her husband, Matt, she demolished the former office space and remodeled it into a kitchen. The project took five months.

Before establishing Square One Kitchen, Steele used the YWCA’s kitchen for her bakery business. She hoped to one day have a bakery of her own.

Steele turned her business dream into a reality with the help of Jim Stenerson, a member of Service Core of Retired Executives, or SCORE.

SCORE’s goal is to help small businesses get off the ground by providing expert counseling and mentorship throughout the starting process, as well as a new perspective. “We’re a stepping stone for business,” Stenerson said.

Many businesses SCORE helps are restaurants and bakeries, which makes Steele’s business particularly important.

“This is something that we at SCORE were really looking for,” said Stenerson, because the nearest rental kitchen of this type is in Minneapolis. It can cost between $50,000 and $75,000 or even more for a commercial kitchen, so the best choice is often to rent, he said.

Square One has scheduled an open house from 4 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 24.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Paul Flessland at (701) 241-5502

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