New Restaurant Trend: Set Your Own Damn Table

new restaurant trendAs a sucker for anything food-related and non-traditional, this food revolution is absolutely inspiring, delightful, and I feel lucky to be alive in this era. Yes, that's how excited I am about food. Which is why I longed to be back in New York City when I read about this new trend literally popping up in Manhattan and Chicago: temporary pop-up restaurants.

Not unlike the retail version that usually occurs close to the holiday shopping season, some fancy chefs are experimenting with restaurants where the goal isn't longevity. And it seems like they're having a blast creating concepts that focus on the food, not the sign, not the vastness of the wine list, and not your traditional experience.

However, there is one element diners used to white tablecloth service may be unhappy about in the upcoming opening of chef John Fraser's SoHo joint, What Happens When: You have to set your own table.


The idea of the pop-up restaurant is that overhead costs will be low (no long-term, expensive rent), menu items are limited, and corners are cut so the chef can focus on the food. Which really is why you're going there in the first place. So Fraser's concept is to have drawers of cutlery underneath the table, and diners can set their own table.

I love this DIY attitude paired with high-end dining. I won't, however, be going there with any family members whom I've argued with in the past over whose turn it is to put out the silverware. But there are some lines I won't cross in the pursuit of a unique foodie experience. If restaurants say you have to start doing your own dishes, perhaps. Or sauteing your own onions. Helping myself, and pouring my own wine, however, I'm willing to do that for the sake of, um, keeping the overhead costs down.

Would you go out to dinner if you had to set your own table?


Image via Cookieeater2009/Flickr

Read More >