Electric Avenue Kitchen

George Bivins knows East Pittsburgh like the back of his hand.

He grew up in the area, fondly remembering the days when factory work was plentiful and a small-town atmosphere was prevalent. Although he made his success in the restaurant business in New York City and Los Angeles, Bivins always had a desire to bring business back to his hometown.

“My dad worked right down the street at Westinghouse, so I always wanted to do something back here at home,” Bivins said.

When updated regulation in the Keystone State changed the game for a number of food entrepreneurs, Bivins saw an opportunity.

“The law changed in Pennsylvania at the top of 2023, so people can no longer cook out of their homes for commercial purposes,” Bivins said. “They need a health-certified kitchen, so that’s what I’m trying to provide.”

While central Pittsburgh had a considerably saturated market for this type of operation already, Bivins knew there was also a need on the city’s east side, his old stomping grounds.

With that, he got to work looking for a space that would suit his needs. Luckily enough, a former restaurant space on East Pittsburgh’s Electric Avenue became available, and Bivins swooped in to buy it. However, he lacked the funds needed to purchase all the equipment to run a regulation standard commercial kitchen: refrigerators, ovens, cleaning facilities and much more.

Fortunately, Bivins met with Neighborhood Community Development Fund loan officer Stefani Smith. With Bivins’ considerable experience and solid business plan, Smith proved more than able to help him receive financial assistance, allowing him to make the necessary investments in equipment to jumpstart his business.

“If it weren’t for Stefani, I don’t think I’d be standing here today. This would be a different space,” Bivins said. “She was key, because she had a lot of enthusiasm, and her belief in the idea gave me the confidence to keep pushing forward.”

Bivins plans to open Electric Avenue Kitchen on March 1, 2024, at 1500 Electric Avenue in East Pittsburgh. Starting then, his commercial-grade kitchen space will be available to any food entrepreneur who needs the tools to start their own business dreams.

“They can rent the equipment, the refrigeration space, anything they need to help them grow their businesses,” Bivins said.

“I’d like all the food entrepreneurs in the area to know: if you need a place to grow your business, that’s what I’m here for.”

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3923 Perrysville Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15214