Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Public markets and pop up restaurants

I have advocated for years that virtually all public markets should have demonstration kitchens, and ideally "community kitchens" to serve as business incubators.

Why not also have a kitchen space that supports so-called "pop up" restaurants? Give the restaurant space for one month, not unlike "Restaurant Wars" on Top Chef, and they can work out their concepts, develop a following, and maybe "graduate" to more permanent spaces?

USA Today has an article on pop up restaurants, "Pop-up restaurants serve specialty food on the go," which made me think of this as an idea.

From the article:

A trend that has been flourishing in big urban centers such as Los Angeles and New York for several years, pop-up restaurants are, ahem, popping up all over. Temporary and often culinarily avant-garde, they spring up for a short period of time, be it a single night, a week or several months, promoted via social media, e-mail lists or simple word of mouth.

They have been known to take over empty lofts, airplane hangars, and restaurants during off-hours — pretty much anywhere the imagination dares to go, but with access to a working kitchen. As evidenced by their proliferation, pop-ups can indeed be profitable. In fact, their popularity is only enhanced by their fleeting nature, creating even more demand and perhaps an air of exclusivity.

A pop-up's emphasis is often on pushing the envelope — be it with the food, the venue or the entertainment. That said, most pop-ups tend not to be fly-by-night enterprises, as they want to build a loyal following, and are required to abide by restaurant or catering health-department regulations in their town.

Probably you could argue that the DeKalb Market in Brooklyn supports pop up type operations as does the food truck phenomenon.

In any case, this would be a natural extension of the public market and food markets as food-related business incubators. See the report, Public Markets as a Vehicle for Social Integration and Upward Mobility.

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