If you spend any time Downtown, you surely have a special place in your hungry heart for the Goodwich, the award-winning sandwich shop operating out of a tiny kiosk in Dino’s parking lot. You’re also likely saddened by its recent temporary closure, as it transitions to a permanent location at Soho Lofts. But what’s to come of the OG location, which has housed other foodie endeavors?
After a quick upgrade to the cooking facilities, Goodwich proprietors Josh Clark and Theo van Soest are transitioning the spot into a culinary incubator, where up-and-coming chefs will run their own kitchens. “The concept is going to evolve into something where we can showcase local talent and chefs with an idea of something they want to try but don’t have a place to do it,” Clark says.
DineFine, the umbrella company that runs the Goodwich and its associated catering operations, will provide support services, everything except food, beverage and the menu. Those will be up to the chef. The space will be leased out in three-month blocks with a single opportunity to extend another three months. Once this trial ends, a concept will have had the opportunity to establish a track record of cost and commercial viability. It’s Clark’s hope that investors will become interested in what might be a viable concept.
The initial tenant/guinea pig will be chef Justin Kingsley Hall (former executive sous chef of Comme Ça West Hollywood) with his SLO-Boy concept, which premiered last year at the Downtown Brew Festival. Named after Hall’s hometown of San Luis Obispo—“laid-back people who go for a 22-ounce beer on a Monday afternoon,” he says—the concept will co-mingle various influences from his culinary past, “American-French rustic” highlighting “the simplicity of food” with few components and slow-cooking styles of roasting and braising. Expect a Santa Maria-style tri-tip sandwich, a deep fried Cornish hen he affectionately refers to as Coq in a Box and beef cheek tamale with popcorn masa.
After Hall completes his tour of duty, applications will be taken for the next slot. The venue, for which Clark and van Soest are still considering names, will be open to anyone who has a viable business plan for a food concept that could work in an 8-by-12-foot booth. So whether it’s called Chef’s Corner at the Goodwich, Goodwich Concept Kitchen or even the succinct TBD, it’s bound to be an exciting endeavor.