La Dorita Cooks and Virginia-based Frontier Kitchen Announce Asset Sale of Main Street Culinary Kitchen Incubator in Sharpsburg, PA

After first opening its doors to local food entrepreneurs in 2013, La Dorita Cooks is passing the torch to Frontier Kitchen to deliver an equally superior experience to Pittsburgh area startups.

PITTSBURGH, FEBRUARY 20, 2024 – La Dorita Cooks today announced the turnkey sale of its culinary kitchen incubator assets, inclusive of the 6,500 sq. ft. building at 2310/2312 Main Street in Sharpsburg, PA, to Virginia-based Frontier Kitchen, a business incubator for the culinary world.

Since opening its doors in 2013, La Dorita Cooks has helped more than 200 business owners access the resources and assistance they need to grow successful food companies with free workshops and consulting and kitchen share services, acting as a proxy to capital in early years when growth is risky. Since moving to Charleston, SC at the height of the pandemic in August 2020, La Dorita owners Gastón and Josephine Oría remained open and committed to serving artisanal food businesses until they found the right new ownership–someone who shared the same core values that are essential to continuing to serve the local food community.

“It is with grateful hearts that we close this chapter of our culinary careers in Pittsburgh and hand over the reigns to Frontier Kitchen. For the past ten years we have had the privilege of not only working with hundreds of different food entrepreneurs, but years of cooking alongside Sharpsburg’s youth at the free cooking classes we hosted from 2013 through the onset of the pandemic. We would like to thank Bridgeway Capital, the now closed non-profit organization Urban Innovation21 formerly led by William Generett, Jr., and Volunteers of America for their unwavering support in helping us to achieve a wide variety of community impact goals, from job creation to workforce training, healthy food access to neighborhood revitalization and localizing the food economy,” La Dorita Founder, Josephine Caminos Oría said. “Since opening our doors, our business philosophy has always been to stay true to the food, stay true to family, and lend a helping hand where needed, just as our company’s namesake, my Grandma Dorita, would have done. It has not been easy to find someone to pass the torch along to. It took years, but it was certainly worth the wait. It is time for us to step aside and allow Frontier Kitchen to continue to deliver an equally superior experience to local startups. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to Sharpsburg and are confident Frontier Kitchen will be an incredible asset to the neighborhood and Pittsburgh’s scorching hot food scene.”

With a history of deep involvement and unwavering commitment to helping local food companies take their place in the market, Frontier Kitchen brings an unmatched understanding of the culinary food world to Pittsburgh. Following the successes of its two operating kitchens in Lorton, VA and Chantilly, VA, this will be Frontier Kitchen’s third location that is slated to remain operational during the transition. Frontier Kitchen will lead the Sharpsburg location into a new phase of revitalization, reaffirming the brand’s mission to empower people to achieve their entrepreneurial goals and create strong, sustainable companies.

CEO of Frontier Kitchen, Brenda Cromer says, “We are so excited to join the burgeoning foodie community in Sharpsburg and the greater Pittsburgh areas. In Virginia we launched from the kitchens dozens of new local brands, two new national brands and well over a hundred new shops and restaurants into the community. We are so pleased by the warm welcome we have already received from the Pittsburgh community and cannot wait to support Pennsylvania’s entrepreneurs to help make their business dreams come true.”

 

Food entrepreneurs interested in learning more about Frontier Kitchen should contact Jamie Walters, Kitchen Director of Frontier Kitchen in Sharpsburg, PA at (412) 643-4544 or by email at jamie@frontierkitchen.org.

About La Dorita Cooks
La Dorita Cooks is Pittsburgh’s first commercial kitchen incubator to offer shared commercial kitchen space and business support programs for local start-up and early-stage food makers that aspire to become established, high-growth food enterprises. In the capital-intensive culinary industry, La Dorita’s kitchen incubator allows entrepreneurs to mitigate start-up risk and grow their food ventures in a community of like-minded business owners. Gastón and Josephine Oría established La Dorita Cooks’ kitchen share incubator in 2013 to address a problem they personally faced when starting their own dulce de leche specialty food business. The Oría’s, like many food startups at the time, were unable to find accessible commercial kitchen space that would allow them to manufacture their product line in a licensed commercial kitchen. They were forced to build their own commercial kitchen in the dining room of their home, proving up-front costs in the highly regulated food industry to be extremely prohibitive. This considerable up-front investment put the Oría’s far behind the eight-ball when starting their business. Since opening their doors, the Oría’s have helped hundreds of other food start-ups avoid making the same mistakes.
About Frontier Kitchen
Frontier Kitchen specializes in helping new entrepreneurs make their idea into a company. Being a business owner in the food industry is unlike any other industry; you have to not only understand the artistry of food, but the science of business and making them work together is no easy task. That is what Frontier Kitchen teaches. With a ten-year proven track record, our goal is to grow your company too big to stay in our shared space and to help you achieve your definition of success.

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Just in time for lent: tarta pascualina, Argentina’s Eastertime pie

“What’s for dinner, Mom? ¿Que vamos a cenar?” Is there any question more hated by moms than this? In a house with six children constantly calling this out to you on a seemingly well-timed rotation from the minute they walk through the front door? As if you have nothing else to do with your day. Those five words are undoubtedly a setup for most any home cook. There is no right answer given most everyday meals don’t come with a hundred percent approval rating. Growing up, on day’s my mom found herself unprepared and had clearly had enough—God bless her—she narrowed her response to the following: “Caca.” That was a telltale sign to stop where you are, shut your mouth, back up slowly and steer clear until dinnertime or summoned. Unless your hormones had you feeling extra sassy that day and you dared ask—“Just asking, Mom, but will that sh** come on a stick or will it be neatly tucked away and baked into a golden-crusted tarta?”

Not all tarta is created equally. Argentines will put just about anything between two pie crusts and call it a day: butternut squash and ricotta, ham and cheese with morrones, eggs, corn or tuna. Name any ingredient and there’s probably a layered tarta it calls home. But Argentina’s Eastertime tart, tarta pascualina, is the crowned queen among them. Traditionally eaten during Lent and Easter, this savory pie is immensely popular in Argentina and eaten year-round, despite its moniker. From her envious filling—sautéed swiss chard, onion, ricotta, pâté de foie and hardboiled-eggs—to her double-decker flakey pie crusts, she’s la Madre María de tartas. Our Mother Mary of savory pies. A testament to how the simplest of ingredients can be combined to create the most unforgettable first bite—one that can fortify you with the strength to rise up, dust off your pants and move on.

My abuela Dorita’s tarta pascualina was inches thick and, true to our family’s carnivorous nature, contained just a touch of pâté de foie to ground its earthy parts and add a depth of flavor. Chalk full of onions, swiss chard and—after a stint in the oven—eggs that hard boil and bake right into the pie, it was comfort food par excellence. Tarta Pascualina is likened to Argentina’s resurrection pie—its “Eastertime Tart.” Italian immigrants who voyaged to South America to gamble on a new life brought the recipe for this tasty and filling pie. Its origins lie specifically in the region of Liguria, Italy, where the dish can be traced back to the sixteenth century.The traditional recipe calls for thirty-three layers of phyllo pastry, representing the number of years of Christ’s life—Argentina’s mythical first Lady, Evita’s, too. Like Jesus, Evita was just thirty-three when she sat down to her last supper, but fifty-some years later, her presence still lives on.

If you’d like to treat your loved ones to a Lent-friendly, meatless version of Abuela Dorita’s tarta pascualinarecipe this Lent, I promise you won’t be disappointed, especially if quarantining has you down in the dumps and the only place you can go is up. You can get this recipe, among many more, today! Simply pre-order my culinary memoir, Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses HERE, and we’ll send you a complimentary Advance Reader Copy today, along with a digital copy of the recipe. You’ll then receive the final hard copy of Sobremesa in May, just in time for Mother’s Day. Simply send a copy of your receipt and address to this email with “Preorder and ARC” in the subject line. (While supplies last.)

Let me know if you give this recipe a try. I’d love to hear from you. Just email me. I’d also love to hear if you bought the book and what you think. Your support means the world to me!