Pop Up Restaurants Are Everywhere

April 4, 2011

pop up restaurant

Pop-up restaurants, speculated to be one of the major trends in the food world this year, have been literally popping up all over the place. While we can look to the usual suspects (New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago) for nights of intrigue and excitement, a few new players have also joined the game.

In Sydney right now is Joost Bakker’s temporary restaurant known as the Greenhouse. While the restaurant itself is a permanent concept, the location routinely changes - opening in Melbourne, shifting to Perth and now in Sydney for a short time. No matter where the Greenhouse appears, it forces patrons to take think about where food comes from, locally sourced produce and materials, and the idea of cooperative living and production. The restaurant itself is constructed solely from recycled or sustainable materials, including a rooftop garden and vertical gardens covering the exterior walls and insulation in the form of hay bales from a local granary. Food is served with compostable cutlery, wine is served from large vats on the counter and drunk from recycled jars.

In New York, John Fraser & Co. recently opened What Happens When in SoHo. Their lease expires at the end of summer and so the experiment ends. The menu changes every month and is of the prix fixe persuasion, with the most recent “movement” having begun on March 29th. Unlike Bakker’s eco-conscious project, Fraser’s restaurant is all about the food and nothing else. The ambiance is beside the point; the seating is uncomfortable; the space cramped - but the meals served within this small dark corner of SoHo are incredible.

However, these popup ventures aren’t necessarily even restaurants. Last year, Alan Philips began a new project called the Guerrilla Culinary Brigade, with the express purpose of bringing something different to the table - so to speak. For Philips, pop up events are all about the Pop - as in Pop Art. One of his most recent events was a three-night extravaganza March 10th-12th, looking to artists like Warhol to create Pop Art-inspired cuisine and decor, here one day and gone the next.

Photo by Greenhouse