Multiple stations in a food hall

Cooking up success

By providing space and support in a busy downtown food hall, the Indianapolis Black Chamber of Commerce is helping up-and-coming restaurateurs build businesses

Housed in a historic 1886 market house, the Indianapolis City Market is the bustling home to food stalls, a farmer’s market and shops selling artisanal goods — and host to a half million visitors a year. It’s also where the Indianapolis Black Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) is helping emerging restauranteurs launch and grow their culinary businesses.

With its S.O.U.L. of the City Kitchen Incubator program, the IBCC is providing space — and guidance — for entrepreneurs like Derrick and Taria Slack, shown in the slideshow below, who rolled out a vegan food truck during the pandemic and now hope to bring their vegan comfort food and message of healthy eating to a wider audience.

The IBCC’s S.O.U.L. of the City Kitchen Incubator will have five stations at the market for retail food businesses, plus a commercial kitchen space that can be used by food truck owners or caterers for meal prep. The idea is to give culinary startups a highly visible platform for at least two years so they can further develop their dining concepts and build a customer base, with the goal of shifting to a stand-alone restaurant in the community. That’s DaWuan Finley’s hope for Chef Wuan’s Kitchen, a meal prep and catering business he launched in 2021 (shown in the slideshow above). He sees his partnership with the IBCC as a chance to eventually serve his home-cooked meals with a Southern twist in his own restaurant.

This program grows out of IBCC’s mission of supporting Black and minority-owned businesses and promoting economic opportunity in the Indianapolis Black community. The support for IBCC’s S.O.U.L. of the City Kitchen Incubator is an example of Bank of America’s commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local neighborhoods around the country. From entrepreneur funding and expanding home ownership to professional skills training and healthcare access, Bank of America continues to partner with innovative leaders to help communities implement solutions to society’s biggest challenges.