The Nickel Tour: Pop ups aren’t novel anymore, but they’re still a major draw… if you can get to ‘em before they’re gone.
The restaurant business is a tough one. People devote immeasurable time and energy into opening restaurants with absolutely no guarantee of being successful. While it’s not exactly a fix-all for this type of gamble, pop-up restaurants provide a nice middle ground. Yes they take money, yes they take time, and yes, they take creativity. But they allow chefs to try out ideas, build an audience and tally some major lessons without the financial or time commitment of a traditional restaurant.
The pop-up movement gained full steam in the U.S. around 2011, after gaining popularity across Europe. You can find a pop-up in just about any location within any city. The allure of enjoying a completely original meal of the limited-time-offer variety is an enticing one, and the trend doesn’t show any signs of letting up in the coming calendar year.
With so many options, the field can seem overwhelming. Here are a few interesting pop ups of note that will be making an appearance sometime this year.
This is a continuous pop-up restaurant/bar and kitchen space. The claim to fame is that “literally anything can happen.” It’s a space where chefs and mixologists can be playful, experiment with new ideas and collaborate, and where local orgs can host events. Tickets range from $15 to $250, and though events are different they mostly include food, drinks, and a “one-of-a-kind” experience.
DaNet: Portland, Oregon
The food at this Russian pop-up experience was named Portland Cuisine of the Year 2014. Events are hosted each month, as Chef Paley transforms the Portand Penny Diner with authentic Russian décor, artwork, music, and of course, food. A five course family-style meal costs $65 per person plus gratuity, and $20 for drink pairings.
Equity Eats: Washington, D.C.
As of this spring, one building in D.C. will house a group of pop up restaurants that will rotate each month. That means new chefs, new food and new atmospheres to dine in … all within the same space. The idea comes courtesy of Equity Eats, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping newbie restaurateurs earn capital for their establishments. The initial launch will feature three eateries that are trying to raise money for their establishments. Customers can either buy tickets to dine in advance or at the door, and meals will have fixed-prices. The (soon-to-be released name) will be the largest dining establishment of its kind in the city.
Mosquito Supper Club: New Orleans, LA
The creators here aim to share some of their roots by putting together events that celebrate Cajun music, food, and that honor the fishermen and farmers of their family’s history. With an atmosphere that “mirrors a Sunday afternoon at our Grandmother’s house,” this venture is a cool addition to the city’s already expansive food scene.
Momofuku Milk Bar: New York, New York
The popular destination for sweet treats is expanding with a pop-up stand in Madison Square Park this month. Famous for staples such as compost cookies and crack pie, they’ll be adding cereal milk hot chocolate and hot apple cider with miso butterscotch to the lineup in their rustic cabin-themed shop. Specialty drinks will retail for $4, and standard prices will apply for their traditional menu items.
Shoryuken Ramen: Richmond, Virginia
From December 2014 through February 2015, ramen is brewing at this pop-upestablishment. Shoryuken has taken over the dinner fare at LUNCH Restaurant in Richmond, serving up their own unique tributes to Japanese ramen tradition. Active on social media, they’re always looking for new destinations to host the next pop up round— or to host cooking demonstrations around town.
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