ST. LOUIS – Deli Star Corp. announced plans to build its Food Discovery Center (FDC) — the company’s new “hub for research and culinary innovation” — at City Foundry STL in midtown St. Louis. The center is scheduled to open in early spring 2021. The FDC will feature multiple test kitchens, an education/instruction area, office space and a production facility. It will be staffed by 30 full-time employees.

The 16,500-square-foot facility will include “two fully equipped test kitchens and four research-chef stations, a lecture-hall-style instructional space for culinary-science and food-nutrition classes, conferences and demonstrations; the Simple Promise employee café and farmers market row; and a 4,500-square-foot customized ‘ghost kitchen’ production facility,” the company said.

“Over the past 30-plus years, Deli Star has built a solid reputation as a leader in product and process innovation and safety,” said Justin Seigel, chief executive officer of Deli Star. “We have always viewed food as the intersection of science and culinary arts. We are eager to share this philosophy and learn from — and with — like-minded culinary leaders when we open the Food Discovery Center at The Foundry.”

Deli Star is working with design and construction firm The Lawrence Group on overall site design, engineering and construction, and has contracted Ford Hotel Supply to develop the design of the test kitchens.  

“St. Louis has blossomed into a culinary innovation hub, and City Foundry STL is well positioned to become the epicenter for continued growth,” said Chef Charles Hayes, vice president of culinary innovation and R&D for Deli Star. “At Deli Star, we are strong believers of open innovation — the collaboration and sharing of ideas to move our industry forward. Our new space and our proximity to like-minded industry leaders at City Foundry will benefit all involved — from our employees, customers and partners to our counterparts at City Foundry.”

In 2016, Deli Star created a dedicated space to collaborate with foodservice partners at its St. Louis Innovation Center. In need of additional space and production capabilities, Deli Star chose the City Foundry STL for the site of its new center.

“In recent months, we have experienced a dramatic shift in how the hospitality industry will have to operate,” said Will Smith, asset manager of City Foundry STL. “By bringing together great culinary minds like chef Charles Hayes and the rest of the Deli Star team, along with James Beard winner (and City Foundry STL culinary director) Gerard Craft and his team at Niche Food Group, City Foundry will play a critical role in helping our industry reinvent and rebuild itself in the wake of COVID-19.”