by Brian Addison
They're sometime called "virtual kitchens." Other times they're called "cloud kitchens" or "shadow kitchens." But they're mostly known as ghost kitchens, commissary spaces where chefs and cooks can prepare food that is either picked up on spot or delivered through third-party apps like Postmates or (the much greener, more local) Maritime crew.
The basic gist? Budding brands or major food players can skip the costs and stresses of a brick-and-mortar, rent a kitchen to churn out food for the day, and have it delivered or picked up by those who order online.
And the two major ones in Long Beach—the Daisy Diner at 1388 Daisy Ave. and the former Seoulmate space at 4712 E 7th St.—represent over 50 different restaurants, from major players like Mendocino Farms to smaller brands that simply need a kitchen.
However, the secrecy behind these kitchens can raise eyebrows: Even getting a tour at the Daisy Diner is difficult, let alone figuring out how it is precisely operated. Part of Uber's ex-CEO Travis Kalanick's $130 million ghost kitchen adventure—infamous for being shrouded in secrecy
—the Daisy Diner doesn't advertise its association with Kalanick on any level. The result? A seemingly local, cute ghost kitchen for seemingly local, cute food brands. (Shortly before being forced to resign, Kalanick launched Uber's massively successful UberEats, which toward its end, began moving beyond delivery and into ghost kitchens, so the move from Kalanick seemed obvious.)