How do you feel about pop-up dinners? The one-night only, out-of-town chefs swinging through, or ambitious cooks trying their hand at their own restaurant. If you’ve ever been to one, how was it?
I’ve never been to one, a few have sounded interesting but mostly I am skeptical. I do participate in a fair number of pop-up markets, but that’s a different, more of a farmers market for crafters (and the odd chocolatier), no obligation to buy.
The commissary kitchen I previously used was home to the local chapter of Dinner Lab, recently closed. From what I saw in the kitchen, I hoped people were there for the novel experience at least as much as the food I mean, I’m sure they did their best, but it was always a total clusterfuck when they were in. Today there was supposed to be a pop-up Mothers day brunch at my current place of kitchen use that was cancelled due to low sales. I would have thought anyone could kill it at MD brunch. There is another pop-up dinner scheduled in a few weeks featuring ramen made by a couple of experienced professional cooks. I’m sure it will be tasty, but how many people want to buy tickets for $27 ramen (apparently you get to keep the bowl). I’ll stick with the huge and delicious upscale $16 Hawaiian saimin up the street and not clutter up my cupboards with souvenirs.
On one hand, pop-ups give cooks and chefs a chance to explore new avenues and gain publicity. On the other hand, they are not likely to be the finely tuned experience that comes with running nightly service and take business away from the brick-and-mortar restaurants who are already struggling to keep their piece of the pie.