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Portland gets its first taste of the Fork Food Lab

9/28/2016
Photo / Lori Valigra
Photo / Lori Valigra
Neil Spillane (left) and Eric Holstein, co-founders of Fork Food Lab in Portland. The lab held its public opening for its tasting room on Tuesday night.

The tasting room of Fork Food Lab, Maine’s first privately-owned, membership-based commercial kitchen incubator, had its public unveiling yesterday and visitors had the chance to see first hand how some of the culinary delights of Maine are made.
The Bangor Daily News was at the opening on Tuesday night, where co-founder and CEO Neil Spillane touted some of the startups that will use Fork Food Lab as a chance to test market their culinary creations.
Among the startups that call the 72 Parris St. lab home is the nitro cold brew coffee company, White Cap Coffee, and the made-to-order meal prep company, Carr Eats.
“We are really empowering Portland to be part of the process,” Spillane told the BDN. “Like a beta tester for a game company, we are creating the feedback loop that’s like a bug report. It goes directly to the developers and they fix the problems. We are doing that, but for food.”
The 5,000-square-foot Fork Food Lab, which won a Regional ReCOGnition Award for Job Creation and Economic Development in June, was funded by a $34,000 Kickstarter campaign by Spillane and co-founder Eric Holstein.
"We're in an environment where you want to be a successful food business and, to grow, you need great products," Spillane told Mainebiz in April, shortly after purchasing a two-story building that found a new lease on life as the food lab. "So the tasting room is that first step, where Fork members can sell products right away and get feedback on different iterations."