The SCV Hub is the place to be for indecisive dinner plans with a group of friends or a one-stop spot to try new cuisines.
From Indian to Italian to Southern, The SCV Hub is a “virtual food hall” operating on a model similar to the ghost kitchen concept that increased in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It opened on Oct. 1 with 18 commercial kitchens set up in the back of the 10,000-square-foot facility, enabling new local restaurants to promote their cuisine.
The current local establishments include: Dr. Tandoor, Smash Daddy’s, On Ice Beverages, Valley Kabob, Gemello’s, Great Indian Kitchen, Keto Sweets Los Angeles, Blossoms Sweet Kitchen, Honey’s Kitchen, Mississippi Georgia Fried, Ronin Kitchen, Stellenzo’s Pizzeria, Los Tacoholics, with T.C.G Dim Sum and Noodles House and Five Fingers Grill coming soon.
According to The SCV Hub’s website, diners can order online, have their meal delivered, order at the kiosk and pick it up in the lobby, or simply mix and match. While the place is virtual, people are still welcome to walk in and order with indoor and outdoor seating available, although the space is limited, at its location in the Valencia Entertainment Center, 23460 Cinema Drive.
Owners Chris and AnnMarie Collins and Scott Wesselhoff began the process in 2020, arguably at the height of no-contact dining during COVID-19. To ensure that every county standard and health protocol was met, in addition to the custom build-out, it took The SCV Hub nearly two years to open.
“This process started back in 2020. We started looking into it, researching it back then. We consider ourselves more of a virtual food hall because people can actually come in and order. They’re all individual, separate kitchens, but they’re not open like you would see in a typical food hall, so we call it virtual because they’re all on our online ordering platform or on our kiosk,” Chris said. “We saw this as an opportunity for that but also what we saw in it was that for small local businesses, restaurateurs, it gave them the opportunity to do a startup at a lot less capital expenditure.”
The SCV Hub is catered toward local mom-and-pop shops that can start at just a fraction of the cost of a new restaurant — as low as a tenth of the total, according to Chris.
While The SCV Hub opened a few months ago, there doesn’t seem to be a slowing of orders, as many residents have grown accustomed to takeout and delivery during the pandemic.
“People got into that routine during COVID and everything else and so, you know, we thought that there’s nothing like this in Santa Clarita, and we thought it would be a good fit. We’ve gotten a really good response from the public,” Chris said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can to support small local businesses. So that’s one of our big goals.”
The manager of The SCV Hub, Liz Celi, does not like the term “ghost kitchen,” as some might consider the setup to be.
“A ghost kitchen has better quality food by businesses that want to have a start. It is low-cost to start. The food takes time to be made and is authentic, rather than it being quick like other fast food places,” Celi said. “We have an element of diversity that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. I just tried the new Sri Lankan place and it was amazing.”
While there may be misconceptions regarding what The SCV Hub is, or what differentiates the establishment from other major chains, the proprietors say it’s simple: The food is authentic and local.
“A food court could hire young people in big corporations trying out their first job, while The Hub has restaurants that are often family-owned or trained chefs who want to share their food and get it out there in the community,” Celi said.
Those who choose to dine at The SCV Hub won’t have the chance to watch the chefs make the food, but that’s intentional.
“In other places, you might see the kitchen, but here we like to make sure that the chefs aren’t stared at,” Celi said.
Celi encourages people who are looking for a new place, or rather multiple new places, to give it a try. “I want people to know that this place is great.”
The SCV Hub’s website is at www.thescvhub.com.