our story


Welcome to Urban Cookhouse

Whether you are a loyal customer, local farmer, landlord, or want to know more about career and investment opportunities, we truly appreciate your interest and support for our growing brand. At UC the commitment to “Buy Local, Eat Urban” extends beyond the quality ingredients we cook with every day. We are unwavering in our commitment to creating local value in every community through the way we serve our guests, the quality of life for our employees, and the manner in which we do business with suppliers and partners, big or small. Again, from our family to yours, thank you for making Urban Cookhouse the special company it is today. We look forward to serving you soon!

-Will Gillespie, President and Owner

The Cookhouse

The entrepreneurial spirit that UC was founded on is illustrated in a photograph that hangs on the wall at all Urban Cookhouse locations. The picture shows one of the original founder's great-grandfather, Ralph James Tomaino and his children: Pasquale, Josephine, and Alfonso. Ralph immigrated to the United States from Italy in search of better opportunities. He landed on New York’s Ellis Island in 1920. After arriving in the U.S. and settling in New Jersey, he opened a business that would stay in the family for more than 50 years. A large portion of the profit for the R.J. Tomaino Market came from the sale of vegetables that were displayed on two sets of large wooden steps outside the store and much of the inspiration for the use of local produce on UC’s menu comes from this family photo.

Flash Forward 90 Years

Once the idea for Urban Cookhouse was developed we opened our first location in downtown Homewood, Alabama in June of 2010. It’s been just few short years and a couple more successful restaurants later, but the UC story is just starting to take off. Plans are finalized and construction is under way to open multiple locations across the Southeast in 2015. While it’s no mystery to our loyal guests, the secret to our success isn’t in the menu or the welcoming interior, but within the family of people that work at Urban Cookhouse each day. Today we are proud to say our growing team is operating vibrant, bustling restaurants consistently earning recognition and consumer awards for serving excellent tasting food with exceptional customer service. Stay tuned. We will be serving you the same tasty dishes and unmatched southern hospitality tomorrow!