Revolving Test Kitchen
Currently featuring CocoRays | 420 Common Street, Lawrence, MA
How it Works
Participants in the Revolving Test Kitchen are granted a ‘golden ticket’ to trial their business model, build their capacity, understand their market, and prepare to grow into a permanent location. The program is designed to provide access to free space in prominent café in downtown Lawrence with a high end build out and ample space for storage, prep, and customer space. Beyond free rent, participants receive technical assistance from a number of area partners and personal mentoring from food entrepreneur Sal Lupoli.
Throughout their time in the program—which lasts up to a year—businesses will work with the Lawrence Partnership and City of Lawrence to identify an appropriate permanent location and will develop financial projections and a business model to qualify for funding from the Lawrence Venture Loan Fund to help make the transition.
Ray Gonzalez was born to a single mother who had moved to Lawrence from Puerto Rico, escaping an abusive family and looking for more opportunity for herself and her children. Ray was one of 4 children raised by his mother, Coco, who at one time held down 3 jobs to put food on the table, but he was raised with a sense of hope for his future, a hope that was manifested in his outstanding abilities on the basketball court and his full scholarship to an elite prep school for high school, Williston Northampton. Ray always thought that success meant getting out of Lawrence, moving to a bigger city and perhaps even playing professional ball. But after a series of injuries and with a two year degree in education, Ray settled back in Lawrence.
But the drive to create, to add value, to innovate, to be an entrepreneur was strong in Ray and eventually led him to the kitchen, where he first envisioned the business that would evolve into Coco Rays, the food truck that carries his mother’s name. The idea of a food truck landed in his lap when a friend found a beat up old FedEx truck for sale and the authenticity of his taco recipe was infused by a local customer who had run a restaurant in Mexico for years. But what makes and entrepreneur an entrepreneur is the ability to sieve opportunity when presented, and that is exactly what Ray did.
Coco Rays was officially opened in 2012 and Ray worked the truck 7 days a week in those first years, bucking traditional food truck standards of only opening on weekends. The decision to serve tacos was an acute marketing decision based on a lack of taquerias in the region, but the fusion taste and menu that is unique to Coco Ray’s is a reflection of Ray’s personality, and that of the city in which he was raised.
As Ray takes full advantage of being the first food entrepreneur of the Revolving Test Kitchen, he also takes on the role of a special kind of business leader, one that understands his role in his community and is committed to lifting boats around him as he grows. In that regard, he is a perfect representation for the growing tide in Lawrence. To meet Ray, learn more about the Revolving Test Kitchen and taste the flavor of Coco Rays for yourself, stop in to 420 Common St in Lawrence, where you will find him trialing new recipes, investing in his staff, and building a foundation for future success.
420 Common Street, Lawrence, MA
Apply to the Program
The application is now open for next year's program participant! Follow the link below to learn more about the requirements and how to apply.
To learn more about how to get involved, contact Derek Mitchell at