Five Food Entrepreneurs Going Head-to-Head for Union Market Slot

FRESH FARM PRODUCE AT UNION MARKET | YELP, Ned B.

FRESH FARM PRODUCE AT UNION MARKET | YELP, Ned B.

They say if you can't handle the heat, you better stay out of the kitchen, but these five entrepreneurs keep heating up the competition. Mess Hall's Launch Pad at Union Market Competition has one goal: to identify and launch a culinary concept at D.C.'s union market. The board of advisors will help the winner bring their ideas to life, giving them six months in a fully built, quick-service space in the city's largest entrepreneurial food hub. 

Nearly 50 business plans were reviewed, but only five made the cut. These finalists were judged on how comprehensive their business planes were and how their menus provoked the curiosities of the panel. Introducing the five aspiring restaurateurs:

Bao Bros Bar

Louis Grayson and Nelson Wong are turning bao buns from appetizer to entrée. Their concept is a customizable, fast-casual bao joint with fillings like pork belly, lamb, chicken, tofu and a variety of sauces. These guys definitely have personality, too, if their punny item limes like the "Rocky Baoboa" on their menu is anything to go by.

Half Smoke

Andre McCain is giving D.C.'s most beloved sausage the fast-casual treatment. He plains on offering pork, beef, chicken and veggie sausages with customizable toppings, including chili, kimchi, artichokes and more. Don't forget the tater tots and Brussel sprouts on the side! And would you like some funnel cake for dessert? But wait -- there's more! Later on, he wants to bring exotic tastes, such as foie gras, duck sausage and smoked elk. Read More