Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Look Inside the ‘Ghost Kitchens’ That Are Operating Out of 60 Morris Street in San Francisco

I’ve posted before about “ghost kitchens” — delivery-only restaurants that operate with little more than a range and a refrigerator. But, until today, I hadn’t seen what one looks like.

Joe Kukura, writing for Broke-Ass Stuart (via Andy Baio):

We popped by one of San Francisco’s most prominent ghost kitchen facilities, and Jesus is this place dirty and depressing. Though Business Insider gave 60 Morris a glowing write-up, we found the place looks like a combination of 850 Bryant and the kind of SRO lobby where the check-in counter has bulletproof glass. It is operated by disgraced Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s new venture CloudKitchens, but their $400 million in VC funding from dirty Saudi Arabian money is not evident in the facility’s hand-written signs, bare bones interior, and general below-minimum-wage dystopian chic.

Surely some of the negative impression of this place comes down to the poorly-exposed nighttime cellphone photography in this article. There are no photos of the kitchen; it could be spotless, for all we know.

Yet it is hard to imagine that this is the future of food, where this is a derelict industrial building masquerading as two dozen different restaurants where, inside, workers create meals to be stashed in a locker for an underpaid delivery driver to ferry, at great expense, to its destination. After decades of lame jokes in stand-up comedy routines about the quality of airline food, it sure seems like that shouldn’t be what we aspire toward.