DoorDash Kitchens’ new San Jose location has evolved to become a fast-food restaurant as well as a delivery service.
Although it initially resembled a ghost kitchen, DoorDash Kitchens now offers dine-in services at the Plant Shopping Center on Curtner Avenue. The location, which had its soft opening in May and officially opened on July 31, offers a selection of 10 eateries, connecting customers with restaurants they might not otherwise experience. Offerings include Aria Korean Street Food’s fried chicken tacos, Koi Palace’s crispy shrimp dumplings and Sweet Street’s crème brulée cheesecake.
Ashlee Tran, head of the new restaurant model for DoorDash, said the location was intended to eventually offer dine in, walk out and take out options.
DoorDash Kitchens previously had a temporary popup location at Westfield Oakridge Mall from July to November in 2021. Tran said positive results led it to find the right spot for a more permanent location. DoorDash Kitchens Culinary Manager Dillon Barry said having 10 restaurants under one roof is a life-changing experience for the restaurant industry.
Rather than individual stalls for merchants to rent, there is one large shared kitchen for DoorDash chefs and kitchen staff trained by each restaurant to create the food. DoorDash Kitchens provides a way for fledgling and out-of-area restaurants to test new markets while avoiding the expense of opening their own storefronts.
“There is so much that goes into building and establishing and growing a restaurant,” Tran told San José Spotlight. “DoorDash was looking to create innovative ways for our merchant partners to be able to grow their footprint… without all of the upfront costs and investment they would have with a typical brick and mortar.”
Indoor and outdoor dining tables take advantage of the shopping center’s foot traffic. Tran said customers can sample food from the various restaurants from around the Bay Area.
“The reception from the public and the walk-in traffic has already been tremendous,” Tran said. “People are really excited… to see another food option there.”
For The Melt, which has restaurants in Palo Alto and San Francisco, this is a chance to test new waters, Sean Reiter, director of brand revenue, told San José Spotlight.
DoorDash Kitchens’ culinary employees spent time training at The Melt, Reiter said. The Melt is planning to open restaurants next year in Mountain View, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.
Reiter said the restaurant’s MeltBurger, made with Angus and Wagyu beef filled with melted cheddar and topped with jalapeño pickle relish, is its best seller, and its grilled cheese is also popular.
He hopes The Melt’s success at the Plant Shopping Center gives the owner confidence to open additional locations in San Jose.
“I think the demand will prove that,” he told San José Spotlight.
Although the model is new for DoorDash, San Francisco-based Local Kitchens has been using this approach to introduce residents to various eateries in Silicon Valley since last year.
San Jose Fire Capt. Ira Ryan, who came to DoorDash Kitchens with his firefighters, said the convenience and versatile menu was a plus, and they plan to return. The men ordered coffee, bulgogi, an Acai bowl and salad.
Customer Alice Alfaro, from the East Bay, was at the Plant shopping and looking to grab a some food. She came upon DoorDash Kitchens and saw The Melt among its choices. She liked it in Palo Alto and planned to get a grilled cheese sandwich.
“I think it’s awesome,” Alfaro said. “It’s always good to have a variety and more choices.”
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected].