The Cookery is one of the most versatile warehouse wedding venues in the downtown Durham area. It features two large ballrooms in separate buildings. Each has an outdoor patio space. The unique layout of The Cookery allows for large Durham weddings of up to 330 flowing through each indoor and outdoor space. Alternately, The Cookery can host intimate Durham weddings and rehearsal dinners if the couple utilizes the smaller ballroom and its patio.
The Cookery’s original space – the Front Room – boasts ceilings stretching 20 feet high and large front windows to bring in natural light to the space. There is a built in bar in the back of the front room and stairway that leads to a loft. Both feature iron work by the owner and add a fabulous character to the building. There is also a chalkboard wall, waiting for your wedding artist to lend a creative touch and backdrop perfect for a dance floor.
The ballroom is perfect for a downtown Durham warehouse wedding reception. This room alone can accommodate more than 250 guests. Matching the style of the original front room, this area has beautiful exposed brick wall and already installed vintage lighting. In the back of this space you’ll find the bridal suite that is an aesthetic match to the industrial wedding venue and also opens up into the garden patio. The outdoor garden event space at the Durham Cookery is perfect for a ceremony. Or, have your guests enjoy the fire pit during the reception.
Most weddings flow as such: Guests enter through The Cookery garden patio, for a lovely outdoor wedding ceremony in the heart of downtown Durham. Guests move into the The Front Room for cocktails, followed by dinner in the new large space. Then, they move back into The Front Room for dancing.
After identifying a need for commercial kitchen access for food entrepreneurs in Durham, in 2011 Nick Hawthorne-Johnson, a licensed contractor and co-owner of Bull City Restoration, decided to revive what once was the Durham Food Co-op building. The kitchen concept quickly expanded to include the event space. Nick’s wife, Rochelle Johnson, resigned from her graphic design and marketing business to help grow this business. This husband and wife partnership built a culinary incubator that uses the collaboration of many businesses to create new experiences and products that revolve around food.
The Cookery is now considered a culinary hub – in addition to providing commercial kitchen space for rent by the hour, it offers a beautiful private event space in Durham. The Johnsons now also own Cast Iron Group, a hospitality group encompassing a family of businesses that revolve around the love of food, drink and all that surround it. Dashi is a Japanese ramen shop and izakaya in downtown Durham, and Ponysaurus is a Durham brewery.
One of the Cast Iron team members recently got married at The Cookery, and offered some insider tips on this venue, as well as planning in general.