Feature: Town Made in Wakefield Helps Launch Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Food businesses, from makers to restaurateurs, find their stride with support from a commissary kitchen


There’s an umbrella term for those who bond over the discovery of a good meal: “foodie.” These days, everyone seems to be a foodie – and many would-be chefs and restaurateurs have a culinary concept or recipe they want to share with the world. But to cut their teeth in an industry saturated with new and innovative dining, food makers must not only be the best of the best at what they do, but also need to acutely know the taste buds of their hungry market.

That’s where Town Made comes in. Lowering the risk that comes with taking a chance on an idea, the commissary kitchen in South County enables aspiring food-makers to start small, providing resources, support, and, most importantly, commercial kitchen space for rent. “For a lot of makers, this is a project that they’re turning into a dream, which they want to turn into a business,” says Rachael LaPorte, food and beverage director of Town Made.

Under RI law, members are required to obtain their Food Safety Manager Certification to work out of Town Made, and once they do, they can take advantage of two industrial spaces: the Main Street Kitchen, the larger of the two spaces, which is geared toward baking needs with a 35-quart mixer, freezer, proof box, grill, fryer, ten-burner stove, and two convection ovens; and the Columbia Street Kitchen, with a smaller footprint, is made for food production and designed with efficiency in mind. The spaces are open 24/7 for makers to operate whenever they have the time, and with many entrepreneurs juggling multiple priorities – between day jobs and families – flexibility is critical.

But what makes Town Made unique compared to similar spaces and services available, LaPorte explains, “is that we have our retail space connected to the building.” Makers can use this “front of house” aspect as their “testing ground,” says LaPorte. “It’s where they can really test their products, get a feel for their market, and generate some type of buzz.” Renting a full-service kitchen space combined with the bonus of marketing and sales support creates a safety net for burgeoning entrepreneurs, along with the opportunity to collect community feedback. This lets makers be slow and methodical in perfecting their recipes and firming up business plans.

Since opening just under two years ago, Town Made already has a host of success stories. Gansett Craft Chocolate now sells their retail products at Greenline Apothecary and other stores and markets; La Belle Peche Coffee Roasters is opening a brick-and-mortar space in Cranston; and 401 Sauce Company distributes their condiments in locations across the state. Currently, 22 members rent out the space, some of whom are in the initial trial stages, while others fully operate their businesses from the Town Made “home base.” 

Space is what William Fritz, owner of W’s Mobile Wood Fired Pizza Oven, needs. The Johnson & Wales graduate opened his business four years ago during the height of the pandemic, and he operates out of a trailer equipped with a wood-fired oven. “We go there [to Town Made] to make our own dough. We proof it, we ball it all, and we also cook our sausage, our steak; we slice a lot of our vegetables – onions, peppers, mushrooms – it’s just really a nice prep area.” He currently uses the space once a week, but as the busy season approaches with farmers markets, brewery pop-ups, and private outdoor events on his schedule, he will spend two or three days a week at Town Made preparing the components for his gourmet pizzas. Fritz offers 15-20 signature pies, but customer favorites are his chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza, and his fig, arugula, goat cheese, and honey combo.   

Brenda Horvath, on the other hand, uses the Town Made community and business support to help navigate the trials of entrepreneurship. Under the moniker Brenny’s Tropical Bake Shop, her specialties are frozen custard treats with graham cracker crusts and finished with dipped white chocolate shells. A third-generation baker, Horvath has made pastries her entire life, from baking wedding cakes for wineries in Napa, California to key lime pies for Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West, Florida. When she moved back to Rhode Island, she says, “I wanted to bring a taste of the Keys back with me,” and introduced her key lime popsicle to Matunuck Oyster Bar – still her top buyer – while she waited tables there.

Horvath has been making the popsicles for 10 years and joined Town Made last year to learn how to launch and market her product. “They’ve been right there for me,” she notes, giving the examples of Town Made helping her with the Department of Health paperwork and creating her business card and logo. “It’s really a learning experience, and it’s been great. It’s never too late in your life to try something new,” she asserts. With Town Made by her side, Horvath is ramping up production and packaging and hopes to expand her business. She has set her eyes on Westerly – specifically the Watch Hill area (“I’d love to get one of my popsicles into Taylor Swift’s hands!”) – along with selling at Fisherman’s Memorial Park Farmers Market in Narragansett, and even making her popsicles for private events, like weddings.

The Town Made vision of community supporting community stems from founders Ken and Christina Procaccianti, owners of Greenline Apothecary. The kitchen is located in  their original Wakefield pharmacy. They kept the space after relocating in the same town, and turned the space into a co-op kitchen. “They have a love of local food and for wanting to support our local food economy and community,” LaPorte says.

Town Made teamed up with the USDA to create the A.C.T.I.O.N. Scholarship, a grant that supports local food producers by covering portions of commercial kitchen time and membership if they are committed to using local produce. It’s a way to not only support the local food and farming communities, but also a way “to close our food loop and the amount of miles we put on our local food,” says LaPorte. 

James English runs two businesses at Town Made: Toil and Boil and Sea and Smoke Catering – the latter was a recipient of the scholarship. Catering for private events, Sea and Smoke is “a fusion of barbeque and New England cuisine,” English explains. He offers an array of food from Texas-style brisket, pork shoulder, and ribs to a “shellfish feast cooked over the coals.” His open-fire cooking concept uses all locally sourced ingredients – vegetables and meat – and “the seafood is coming right off Point Judith or New Bedford.”

As the success of Town Made and its makers grows, more opportunities will arise for Rhode Islanders to choose local businesses, eat farm-grown food, and maybe even follow their own foodie dream.


Talk of the Town

The following plucky entrepreneurs operating out of Town Made are at various stages of their foodie business dreams. To learn more about each, find them on social media, and follow @townmadekitchens. Visit the retail space at 203 Main Street, Wakefield, and online at TownMade.com. 

401 Sauce Company

Back Rhode Flower Farm

Beach Town Beverage Company

Bee’s Sweets

Brenny’s Tropical Bake Shop

East Landing RI

Fig & Fromage Charcuterie

Gansett Craft Chocolate

Hanna Lange’s Spreads

Iron Rose Cottage

Jovial Foods

Little Fire


Ocean State Juice

Organic World Farm

Rhody Raw Bar

Rhody Wild Sea Gardens

Saunderstown Garlic Farm

Sea and Smoke Catering

Toil and Boil

W’s Mobile Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Wild Dogs



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