Ground Up Cafe planned for Springfield Innovation Center launches Kickstarter

Jul 13 2017

The Innovation Center, a $5.5 million project, is about 85 percent completed and more tenants are expected to move in this fall.

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SPRINGFIELD — Ground Up Cafe, the coffee shop planned for the Springfield Innovation Center, will have coffee, pastries, yogurt, sandwiches and bone broth.

Bone broth?

It’s a savory brew made from simmering bones with vegetables for a long time and it is chock full of vitamins and collagen. Bone broth is a steaming-hot trend in the culinary world and Ground Up Cafe head chef John Peter Wentworth plans to make bone broth in house and serve it for the price of a cup of coffee.


“We have spent a lot of time thinking about the menu and what we want to offer,” Wentworth said.

Wentworth, who grew up in and around New York City, has lived and worked in the Pioneer Valley since 1995. He  was formerly co-head chef at The Dirty Truth in Northampton, general manager at King Street Eats and chef and beverage manager of Gateway City Arts in Holyoke.

He’s part of the management team for Ground Up along with Jared Henshaw,  previously the GM for Rao’s Coffee in Amherst and Northampton, who will run the coffee program.

The plan is to start renovations to the space in the next week or so and open by September.

Ground Up will offer coffee and other beverages, breakfasts and lunches and vegetarian dishes on the go, along with high-end cocktails and snacks for the after-work crowd.

“Get them when they are coming into town for the workday and get them when they are leaving work, either for home or in between work and dinner at a restaurant nearby,” Wentworth said. “If you come in at breakfast and lunch and hit the serving line there will be five or six hot sandwiches just made and ready to go. You can grab and go.”

If you want something made to order, Ground Up will be able to handle it in just a few moments.

The cafe will also make a signature chai, a type of tea served in India, and will use sustainably sourced coffee from Share Coffee in Hadley.

A Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the cafe has a goal of raising $10,000 toward renovation costs. Funders at different price points get different packages of goodies in return. The $7,500 level includes having a menu item named in your honor.

Kickstarter helps artists, creators and businesses fund projects. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans, according to the website’s FAQ.

“We thought it would be good publicity,” Wentworth said of the crowdfunding campaign. “It would let people know we are here and that the project is moving forward.”

The money also will allow Wentworth, Henshaw and the investors who own Ground Up to build a second kitchen sooner rather than later. The second kitchen will give Wentworth prep space and also will serve as a restaurant incubator, giving new food-related businesses space to experiment and get a toehold without having to build their own commercial kitchen.

“We want to create job opportunities by creating more businesses,” Wentworth said. “People can use this space to springboard into food trucks or into brick-and-mortar.”

Creating and shepherding new businesses is the goal behind the Springfield Innovation Center, a project of DevelopSpringfield that will soon be home to Valley Venture Mentors, co-working space for new companies and rental office space. The  Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts has already moved in upstairs.

“We are completing this project from the top down,” said Jay Minkarah, CEO of Develop Springfield.

He plans to have the 24,000-square-foot building at 270-284 Bridge St. completed by fall.

The $5.5 million project cost includes money spent buying the properties. DevelopSpringfield received a $2.2 million grant from the state’s MassWorks Infrastructure Program, $500,000 from MassMutual Financial Group and $30,000 from the Beveredge Family Foundation.

Historic preservation tax credits also help finance the project. The rest is money DevelopSpringfield borrowed.

DevelopSpringfield is a public-private partnership that redevelops decrepit property in Springfield that private developers won’t tackle with the goal of rejuvenating neighborhoods.

The Innovation Center joins neighbors like The Dennis Group, United Personnel, TSM Design and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.



Jun 2024