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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 08-19-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
bdadams84
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I'm trying to start my own BBQ vending business. My biggest obstacle is the Montgomery County health department. They require that all prep work is done in a licensed commercial kitchen. Even a mobile kitchen requires a licensed commercial kitchen as a "base of operations". They will not license a residential kitchen for commercial use.

I've contacted a few commercial kitchens in the area to see about renting time in their kitchens. I haven't heard anything yet.

Does anyone out there have experience working with health departments with similar requirements? Any advice?

I understand and respect the need for regulations to ensure that the public is served food that is safe. At the same time requirements that are overly tight restrict the growth of new business which is needed in this economy.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
BBQ Nuts
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You are not alone... we're running into the same issues in Fairfax County, VA :(
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Unread 08-19-2012, 02:51 PM   #3
bdadams84
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Originally Posted by BBQ Nuts View Post
You are not alone... we're running into the same issues in Fairfax County, VA :(
The regs seem to be about the same in the DC area. I checked Montgomery County, Fredrick County, and DC. They're all about the same.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 07:01 PM   #4
toadhunter911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdadams84 View Post
I'm trying to start my own BBQ vending business. My biggest obstacle is the Montgomery County health department. They require that all prep work is done in a licensed commercial kitchen. Even a mobile kitchen requires a licensed commercial kitchen as a "base of operations". They will not license a residential kitchen for commercial use.

I've contacted a few commercial kitchens in the area to see about renting time in their kitchens. I haven't heard anything yet.

Does anyone out there have experience working with health departments with similar requirements? Any advice?

I understand and respect the need for regulations to ensure that the public is served food that is safe. At the same time requirements that are overly tight restrict the growth of new business which is needed in this economy.
Try some local churches. My church has a complete commercial HD approved kitchen that sits unused most days (for now I use it twice a month). Also check with fraternal organizations like Moose or Elk lodges, FoE, KofC, etc.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 07:12 PM   #5
bdadams84
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Originally Posted by toadhunter911 View Post
Try some local churches. My church has a complete commercial HD approved kitchen that sits unused most days (for now I use it twice a month). Also check with fraternal organizations like Moose or Elk lodges, FoE, KofC, etc.
I have started looking at church kitchens. Up until last month, that would not have been an option due to county zoneing laws. Local organizations and private schools are a limited option since the zoneing restrictions still apply with the exception of the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

The zoneing change for church kitchens is very new. I just learned of it today. That being the case I'he got to see who's willing to help and what may be required in trade.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
toadhunter911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdadams84 View Post
I have started looking at church kitchens. Up until last month, that would not have been an option due to county zoneing laws. Local organizations and private schools are a limited option since the zoneing restrictions still apply with the exception of the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

The zoneing change for church kitchens is very new. I just learned of it today. That being the case I'he got to see who's willing to help and what may be required in trade.
I'd guess a couple of BBQ's a year would get your foot in the door...
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Unread 08-20-2012, 04:31 AM   #7
bdadams84
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That's the hope!
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Unread 08-20-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
42BBQ
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Good luck, I'm in early planning stages right now here in Lancaster county PA. I've been poring over the HD regs and I'm hoping I can just have my mobile site setup certified and I'll do my prep on site for now. Option 2 at this point for me would be to go to my church and ask them for kitchen access.

I would only be prepping butts, whole untrimmed spares and maybe brisket on site. To me that sounds do-able at the scale I'm looking at. I am looking at farmers market type vending. Again, good luck.
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Unread 08-20-2012, 04:54 PM   #9
bdadams84
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I hoping to start with the same stuff, pork butts and briskets. Once I can lock down a deal for kitchen space, the rest will be relatively easy. I did hear back from a local kitchen, but no real details yet. The owner wants to sit down and chat. But it wasn't a flat out "no"!
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Unread 08-20-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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That's a start! Keep posting progress if you can :)
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Unread 08-28-2012, 12:18 PM   #11
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The restrictions in Mont. County and Fairfax don't surprise me. I am down in Prince William and was looking to do some road side vending but have not been able to find what the regs are. I see all manners down here from the smoker behind the truck to the full competition rigs with kitchens and a/c.

Let me know how it goes for you and where you get located, I'll be sure to come by and support you.
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Unread 08-29-2012, 04:20 AM   #12
JimmyDAL
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I would suggest that you build a trailer that will meet the health requirements so down the road you don't have to rely on anyone.
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Unread 08-29-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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How to the HD regs apply to your smoker if you using a HD certified kitchen? My understanding is that here in TX your smoker has to be screened in. This is true for restaurants and mobile vending.
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Unread 08-30-2012, 05:01 PM   #14
Mdboatbum
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Grew up in K-Town. Good luck! Might consider going over to the Bethesda Co-op Market at Old Georgetown and Greentree and asking them how they got their BBQ trailer going. I'm guessing they probably have a kitchen in the market, but they might be willing to give you some insight.
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Unread 09-01-2012, 06:38 AM   #15
JimmyDAL
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J's, my smokers Stumps 223's are mounted on the back porch, no problem w/health department. I designed it to be able to put on screens if needed.
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