Monday, February 11, 2013

What is a Pop-Up?

I speak to the crowd at The Truck, The Brewer, and the Blogger I
at the Tin Roof Brewing Company
Pop-up restaurants are now at the pinnacle of trendiness.  They've been popular for years in New York and San Francisco.  They're getting press in New Orleans in publications like Garden & Gun and Country Roads.  An underbelly of food movements, pop-ups seem to have followed a similar model to food trucks as far as being a canvas for a new generation of young culinary minds without the start up costs of brick and mortar restaurants.  But what exactly is a pop-up restaurant or dinner?  It seems like they are all different, and there's no set formula, but there are certainly some consistencies.

To me, in order to be a pop-up, the establishment must emerge and then vanish.  Literally, it should pop-up, then pop back down at some point.  However, the timing varies for each pop-up.  Some pop-up restaurants take over a vacant spot for several months.  It is an opportunity for a chef to try a new concept without starting a fully fledged restaurant.  Other pop-ups, like the ones I've done, last for one night only.  Gulf Pig in Shreveport is a similar series of pop-up dinners.  Each has its own menu and theme, but they are all done under the Gulf Pig label for one dinner service only.

Some pop-ups are recurring, popping up in the same location one day each week.  These have been seen all around New Orleans at restaurants that are otherwise closed on Mondays.  They essentially lease their space out to another chef to do a pop-up restaurant.  The food is typically far from the normal fare at that the host restaurant selling.

Speaking to the crowd at a Pop-up Wine Dinner at Roux Wine and Spirits in Prarieville, La

Each pop-up is unique, but my preferred style is the one-and-done method.  Sell some tickets, put on an awesome dinner in a unique space, then go back to the drawing board to create a menu for the next dinner.  In true Bite and Booze fashion, my pop-ups have all been themed around pairings with beverages.  I've used wine and beer to help me create my menus.  I'm thinking a whiskey dinner might need to be coming up soon as well!

Actually, the next dinner in the "The Truck, the Brewer, and the Blogger" series is coming up on March 14th.  I'll once again be joined by Taco de Paco and Christina Stephens to put on a five course beer dinner at the Tin Roof Brewery.  We just put the menu online (see below), and signup link is active.  Reserve your seat now!

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