Clark Pope
Pope’s Kitchen

Founder(s): Clark Pope

Product(s): As one of the first members of Central Kitchen(then known as Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen), I have had the pleasure of watching it grow and change from a for profit kitchen with a focus on catering businesses to a nonprofit with a mission to grow the local food business, many of whom are looking to create retail products. Personally, I have developed over 30 products for the marketplace.Currently, I am actively selling 17 in the open marketplace, two under private labels with another 4 in development for clients. I am best known in the general marketplace for my Bloody Mary mixes,having won awards both locally and nationally.

Year Founded: I started as a catering and gift company in 2000, building the Pope’s brand early in 2010. Pope’s Kitchen became an LLC in 2015.

 

Where did you initially create your product?

The original 14 products were developed and sold from my home –8 are still on the market and 3 are regularly requested to come out of retirement. Once the launch kitchen was opened, product development was moved to their commercial space.

Where can you find your product(s) today?

The Wine Spot on Lee Road was my first retailer. Then, I was picked up by Market District, Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, Acme, World of Wine and Liquor and Merchant’s Mrkt at Legacy Village. My first restaurant was Market in Rocky River. Currently, you can find my Bloody Mary and other cocktail products at restaurants and bars throughout Ohio.

What did you do in a former life?

Restaurant Kitchen Manager, General Manager, Sysco Sales and Marketing, Special Events Director, Air Show Supervisor, High School Teacher, amongst other random adventures.

What inspired your product(s)?

History and responsiveness to the public and market forces.

How has Central Kitchen helped your business?

Central Kitchen has provided me with a safe, clean, ODA & FDA inspected space to create and produce my products.

Which Central Kitchen services were used?

Commercial kitchen space, Incubator class, and more. I have helped teach several of the Incubator classes and assisted in kitchen management. I introduced Central Kitchen to my contacts at local and regional stores and assisted to set-up the bi-annual Market District product review. I serve as a resource for labels, bottles, insurance coverage,licensing and more for new members.

Goals for the future:

  • Continued product development
  • Continued growth in the marketplace
  • Continued participation in the growth of the Cleveland food scene and protecting its reputation
  • Assist in the growth of the Food Hub’s co-packing program
  • Assist new companies with their growth
  • Continue to mentor developing companies
  • Possible return to teaching