Durham restaurant incubator and event space The Cookery is expanding its footprint in the West End neighborhood to include a new ballroom, bridal suite and private garden, according to co-owner Rochelle Johnson.
The expansion, which includes additional kitchen space, increases The Cookery’s total square footage at 1101 W. Chapel Hill St. to more than 12,000 square feet.
Previously, The Cookery only offered 2,500 square feet of indoor space for event use, but its new ballroom alone will add 5,000 square feet of space. With the addition of the ballroom as well as the new garden, The Cookery will be able to host up to 500 guests for some events.
To accommodate the growth, The Cookery is building into a neighboring building — the historic Scruggs Building at 1105 W. Chapel Hill St.
Johnson and her husband Nick Hawthorne-Johnson opened The Cookery in 2011 as a shared commissary for burgeoning restaurants to grow. It also mentors and organizes business lessons for the restaurateurs that use the space. Former tenants include local businesses such as Monuts and The Parlour ice cream shop.
Soon after it opened, The Cookery added The Front Room, an event space for wedding receptions, business meetings and pop-up restaurants. The new ballroom builds upon the The Front Room’s space and will be able to seat 256 guests. The private garden will also provide additional space for up to 330 guests.
The ballroom, which will have an attached bridal suite, will be ready for commercial use on Sept. 1, and The Cookery is already accepting bookings for it, Johnson said.
The West End neighborhood has grown quickly since The Cookery originally decided to locate there in 2011. In recent months, the West End neighborhood has attracted several redevelopments, including a new restaurant from a co-owner of Nosh called Grub and a new physical space for the yogurt shop Local Yogurt.