Mercer Island diners can now experience a world of flavors in one sitting or with one takeout or delivery order from FaveKitchens.
With five micro kitchens cohabiting in one spacious cooking territory, founder and CEO Praveen Akula has brought his robust plan of cuisine and technology to life in the former Mo’s Pizza location in Town Center.
Customers can order their meals on a kiosk and have them zipped over to their table by a delivery robot. Five chefs are at the ready to prepare orders from their individual restaurants’ menus: Agraharam and Aahaar (Indian); Vinason Pho (Vietnamese); La Chingona Taqueria (Mexican); Topolinos Pizza and Pasta along with Mo’s (Italian); and Maria Luisa Empanadas (Argentinian).
With Akula’s business model — which he developed as part of his business administration certification at the University of Washington — he’s trying to change “the fundamental thinking of the consumer, the fundamental thinking of the restaurant, how they can operate. It’s all about co-op — that kind of changes the whole perspective.”
FaveKitchens aims to ease the financial burdens and operating costs for the independent restaurateurs who already have busy and successful locations elsewhere, bringing them into the five-pronged Fave fold to expand their businesses side by side.
In a competitive environment, Akula said, “There are challenges, but at the same time we have a process in place, we have policies in place where they can co-exist and still be individual.”
Akula and his crew held a soft launch on Feb. 21 and went full scale with a March 11 grand opening, which featured a ribbon cutting with Mercer Island Mayor Salim Nice, Deputy Mayor David Rosenbaum and Chamber of Commerce staff and board of director members in attendance.
The initial FaveKitchens location came into play in July of 2020 in Seattle. Each morning, employees prep their fresh ingredients at Fave’s Seattle hub to use at that site and they are also delivered to the Mercer Island location for the local chefs to weave into their meals.
Akula said that he was drawn to Mercer Island for its family residential location along with the city’s close proximity to the Fave hub and to connect with customers in downtown Bellevue.
With every move he makes with the business, Akula keeps each restaurant in mind on how it will benefit them. He said the experience has been working out well for all parties and customers thus far.
“The best thing is to see them working together. Different cultures, different set up all together. Everybody has a different thing,” Akula said of the chefs. “I saw one employee’s birthday celebrated by all restaurants, sharing it. And that was like the best thing that you can see. I was like, ‘Cool.’”
FaveKitchens, a Chamber of Commerce member, is located at 2630 77th Ave SE. For more information, visit http://www.favekitchens.com.