Launch Pad Finale – Union Market – 12/07/2015 – 1:00 pm-5:00 pm - Union Market District
  • Launch Pad Finale – Union Market – 12/07/2015 – 1:00 pm-5:00 pm


    Date: Sun, Jul 12
    Time: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

You are invited to the Launch Pad Grand Finale, to be held at Dock 5, hosted by Mess Hall, Ris and Union Market.

This is the culmination of our Launch Pad Competition, whereby new and seasoned food businesses have been competing for coveted prizes that will help take their concept to the next level. The Grand Prize includes a 6-12 month takeover opportunity of Ris’ fully-equipped Union Market stall and a mentorship from Ris Lacoste herself; plus a free Mess Hall Membership that will offer not only operational support, but access to some of the most successful food startup brands in DC.

Our five Finalists will present before industry leaders and members of the press at this LIVE Grand Finale. Each contestant’s ‘pitch’ will be scored by a panel of experts.

You will be ringside and have the opportunity to taste products from all five finalists (see below). PLUS your vote will count toward the overall point total! The winner will be announced live.

A party will follow to celebrate the spirit of the competition, which is to connect food entrepreneurs with people that can help small businesses grow. Locally produced snacks and beverages will be on hand. Hometown bartenders will be mixing specialty cocktails featuring Jefferson’s Ridiculously Small Batch Bourbon, Gosling’s Rums, andPallini Limoncello.

Arepa Zone

The popular food truck is aiming to win a stationary presence in Union Market through the contest. Ali Arellano and Gabriela Febres also hope to launch a second food truck to dish out arepas, cachapa and tequeños around town.

Bao Bros Bar

Louis Grayson and Nelson Wong think bao buns are too often relegated to the appetizer section of the menu. Their concept is a customizable fast-casual bao joint with fillings like pork belly, lamb, chicken, tofu, and a variety of sauces — and, on a sample menu, punny names like the “Rocky Baoboa” (steak, crispy onion, shallot, jalapeno). Their mock- up logo is an appropriately bro-ish fist bump. @baobrosbar


This fast-casual Italian concept from Mark Baik, Minji Suh and Jin Woo Park would serve speedy, high-quality fresh pasta bowls — think Red Hen, not Noodles & Co. A sample menu promises squid ink pasta with calamari, tortellini with seasonal fillings, and good-old spaghetti with meatballs. Dishes would be ready in under six minutes, and would utilize locally sourced ingredients.

Half Smoke

D.C.’s most beloved sausage gets the fast-casual assembly-line treatment, from hometown aspiring restaurateur Andre McCain. In addition to the eponymous spicy links, McCain also wants to offer pork, beef, chicken and veggie sausages with fully customizable toppings, including chili, kimchi, and artichokes. He’ll dish out tater tots and Brussels sprouts on the side, with funnel cake for dessert. And with the changing of the seasons, he’ll introduce more exotic offerings, like a foie gras and duck sausage, or smoked elk.


You may have already seen Jenna Huntsberger’s sweets at farmer’s markets and coffee shops around town. Winning the Mess Hall competition would give Whisked! a more permanent and visible presence, and room to expand the current roster of quiches, pies, and cookies. @whiskeddc

For more information and tickets, click here!