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Taste Test York closed its doors, weighs next move

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The four partners involved in Taste Test, from left: Robert Faucette, operations director; Allison Witherow, creative director; Toni Calderone, president, and also owner of Tutoni's Restaurant in York; and Jordan Pfautz, finance director.
The four partners involved in Taste Test, from left: Robert Faucette, operations director; Allison Witherow, creative director; Toni Calderone, president, and also owner of Tutoni's Restaurant in York; and Jordan Pfautz, finance director. - (Photo / )

Taste Test, a well-known restaurant incubator in downtown York, is closing its doors.

The Taste Test group said Friday that they will be closing this week and might establish a new one in another town, according to a news release.

“We haven’t made any final decisions yet but we’re looking at other towns in Pennsylvania that are similar to York, as well as up-and-coming neighborhoods of larger cities in the U.S.,” said Toni Calderone, president of Taste Test and owner of O.N.E. Hospitality Group, the umbrella group for Taste Test.

The goal of restaurant incubators such is to give aspiring restaurant owners the opportunity to test and refine their concepts to determine if they will become popular in the community.

Incubators also serve as a revitalization tool to fill vacant storefronts with businesses that are more likely to endure, according to the release.

In 2016, Taste Test was awarded the YorIt Social Venture Challenge grant and moved from doing sporadic events at YorKitchen in Central Market to establishing a brick and mortar location on the corner of King and Duke streets in the Royal Square District.

Over 25 restaurant concepts have been tested in the space, including Hamir’s Indian Fusion and Cornbread West.

However, in 2018, fewer aspiring restaurant owners were expressing interest in using the space, and the group decided it was time to move on.

Paco’s Tacos, which first began in Taste Test’s pop up space and moved into the more permanent side of the incubator at 105 S. Duke St., is also closing. O.N.E. Hospitality’s bar, The Cantina, will be moved indoors to take over the space vacated by Paco’s Tacos. The bar will reopen in May, according to the release.

O.N.E. Hospitality will remain at its current location in the Royal Square District. No plans have been confirmed for the Taste Test’s pop up location at 101 S. Duke St.

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Maria Yohn Nease

Maria Yohn Nease covers banking, finance and York county. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at mnease@cpbj.com.

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