Clyde's Restaurant Group, a Graham Holdings Company subsidiary, announced the formation of Clyde's Kitchens, a collection of virtual restaurants offering carryout-only menus.
"We created menus that would appeal to a broad range of people, from busy professionals working from home to young families like mine, as well as college students with limited dining options," says Kevin Keller, director of operations.
Launched last fall, District MeltHouse, serving "gooey & gargantuan sandwiches," was the group's first carryout-only concept. Clyde's Kitchens has since grown to include DC Street Pies and the newly opened DC Sushi Fast and District Fried Chicken & Co., which premiered this week. A collaboration with a local celebrity is also in the works for a burger concept designed to generate charitable giving.
"We have always focused on providing great meals in a great atmosphere. Now, with the pandemic, we've spent a great deal of time figuring out how to deliver that same experience at home," adds Keller. "Our recipes and packaging have gone through extensive testing and development to accomplish just that. We miss having full bars & dining rooms; until that returns, we can at least bring that same great experience and quality to you."
With large, state-of-the-art cooking facilities and a team of expert chefs, Clyde's Restaurant Group was well-positioned to form a ghost kitchen operation. Clyde's Kitchens also serves as a food incubator, allowing collaborating chefs to explore new ideas, techniques, and equipment. These "pop-up" concepts protect jobs while continuing to support local suppliers, partners, and the community during the pandemic.
"Our priority at Clyde's remains to constantly look for ways to both protect the jobs of those who are working and hopefully create new jobs for those who are not," says CRG President John McDonnell. "Creating ghost kitchens out of our existing CRG kitchens not only generates sales and jobs, it also provides a fun format to incubate our way through culinary ideas not otherwise possible within the format of our existing menus. Finding fun and creating jobs during COVID is not the easiest puzzle, so we are incredibly thankful for the great reception these brands have received."
"As a chef, it is exciting to be immersed in discovery," says Stephen Lyons, Clyde's Restaurant Group's corporate executive chef. "Clyde's has always embraced a ‘give-it-a-try’ attitude. Curiosity is in our DNA. I have spent my entire career working in great kitchens, yet I have learned more in the last two months about frying a chicken than the years I spent at The Inn at Little Washington or around the world at Four Seasons. Time and curiosity are incredible things."
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