The rise of the pop-up restaurant (no pun intended)
Pop-up restaurants. Here today, gone tomorrow, but always memorable. As the name suggests a pop-up restaurant is a dining establishment that literally “pops up” from nowhere often at an unconventional space like a rooftop or parking lot. Pop-up restaurants can even be staged at local farms such as Churchview Farms in Pittsburgh where guest chefs from the region’s best restaurants present a multi-course menu paired with a local brewery or winery. A downtown Pittsburgh parking lot was converted into an elegant dining space last September for 50 guests to experience a seven-course tasting menu prepared by chefs Richard DeShantz of Meat & Potatoes and Keith Fuller of Root 174.
Why chefs should care about pop-up restaurants
As an up and coming chef, a pop-up restaurant is great way to build your reputation and market yourself. The pop-up allows you to have total creative freedom and showcase your talents. For more seasoned chefs, a pop-up would allow you to test that new concept you have been experimenting with. Marketing your pop-up event is important. This is a great opportunity to impress investors that would allow you to finally open your own restaurant or that second location.
Pop-up restaurants are a great way to fundraise
Pop-up restaurants can be a great way to raise money for local non-profits. Bobby Frye of Bar Marco in Pittsburgh hosted a pop-up dinner with eleven of the city’s best chefs and raised over $9,000 for the Food Revolution Cooking Club Michelin star chef Jason Atherton used a pop-up restaurant in London to raise over $40,000 for the homeless.
The pop-up restaurant experience
Pop-up restaurants create a unique and intimate experience for guests. It is something out of the ordinary for individuals who dine out frequently. Rene Redzepi, head chef of Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant, ran a pop-up at the Claridges Hotel in London for 10 days with a menu that featured dishes like live ants and flowers focusing on locally foraged ingredients. One of the most unusual pop-ups was on the London Eye. A capsule on the giant ferris wheel was transformed into a dining room with tasting menus from celebrated chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Richard Corrigan.