FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With food delivery on the rise, it seems like there are twice as many restaurants on delivery apps than actual restaurants in your area. You may not even recognize the names of some of them.
Why? It turns out, those restaurants you don’t recognize are likely not actual restaurants. Instead, they may be ghost kitchens, which are delivery-only options based inside another restaurant’s kitchen. In some cases, the “restaurant” may actually be a group of chefs cooking food in a hub for multiple other “restaurants.”
While ghost kitchens were around before the COVID pandemic, they became more common over the last few years, according to Eater.
There are some associated with celebrities, like YouTuber MrBeast and “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D, and others that are a pseudonym for restaurants you know.
So how can you tell? One of the easiest ways is to check the address of the location.
Take, for example, The Burger Den in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It shares a DoorDash page and an address with The Meltdown. That address actually belongs to a Denny’s.
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, TenderBox, The Wing Experience, and The Burger Experience are all actually Smokey Bones. Tender Shack is an Outback Steakhouse, It’s Just Wings is Chili’s, and Bird Dawgs is Buffalo Wild Wings.
Pardon My Cheesesteak (the ghost kitchen of Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take) in Chicago is based at Lucky’s Sandwich Co. on North Clark Street. It shares two locations in Fort Wayne: Baba’s Steak and Lemonade and a Bobby McGees.
As you can see, it’s not uncommon for a restaurant to serve multiple ghost kitchens. Hubs for those kitchens can also vary from city to city. The items available through the ghost kitchen can also vary from the actual restaurant’s menu.