The owners of Walker’s Point restaurants La Merenda and Engine Company No. 3 have converted a home used as storage into a commercial kitchen where they plan on renting out space to other food operators and expanding their brand.
Peter and Sonia Sandroni have recently upgraded their property, a 1,200-square-foot bungalow at 809 S. Barclay St. that will be used by the couple and Sweet Tooth, which shut down its bakery in Elm Grove this summer.
Sweet Tooth will be renting space to bake and take customer orders out of the newly-renovated commercial kitchen, said Sonia Sandroni, who has owned La Merenda for 10 years and Engine Co. for three.
Meanwhile, the Sandroni’s will also be moving some of their operations from La Merenda and Engine Co. to the space.
“We had been looking for a way to expand our production for some time,” Sandroni said.
The catalyst for the kitchen was the Sandroni’s desire to expand their line of homemade soda, which is served at both restaurants in soda form and in mixed drinks.
Made from fresh fruits and natural ingredients, the soda includes flavors such as citrus, cola, cola lite, lavender, ginger and various tropical fruit flavors depending on the season.
Sandroni wants to expand the line by selling to other restaurants, farmer’s markets and possibly grocery stores.
La Merenda also has an in-house butcher and plans on transferring some of the production work to the Barclay building along with some of the catering business from Engine Co.
Eventually, Sandroni would like to set up a storefront at the Barclay building for Sweet Tooth to sell its cakes and La Merenda to sell its meats.
“That’s a little ways down the road,” she said.