Creative foodies of the world (re)unite! On February 17th, from Amsterdam to Toronto, Poznań to Paris, people will be congregating in art galleries and parks, sidewalks and beaches to meet, eat, and celebrate the next edition of International Restaurant Day.
Restaurant Day began in Helsinki in May 2011 when people with a love of food decided to go around the city’s bureaucratic regulations and open their own one-day restaurants en masse. Since the first 40 restaurants popped-up in a wide range of re-imagined urban spaces across Finland, Restaurant Day has expanded to 689 restaurants in 131 cities and 25 countries that have quickly adopted to this new Finnish tradition. Restaurant Day’s website and app, have interactive maps that makes finding pop-up restaurants in your city and around the world easy.
Restaurant Day nourishes the intersection of food and pop-up urbanism that we love, encouraging people to engage with their cities creatively by making spaces to gather, connect and eat. Anyone can open a restaurant, anywhere, and some quirky endeavours have inevitably surfaced, like a sandwich bar in Helsinki that served bread in a basket from a third floor apartment window!
But your restaurant doesn’t need to be over-the-top. The most successful pop-up cafés are often the simplest: table cloths elegantly draped over long tables that stretch laterally along the street, food made with care from freshest ingredients, and any excuse to linger and enjoy city spaces that are often only passed through. Though this upcoming edition may see less outdoor pop-ups in more northern countries, the weather hasn’t deterred the world’s fervent adoption of Restaurant Day.
February 17th in Amsterdam will see thirteen restaurants popping up all over the city. Mostly indoors, creative one-day restauranteurs will be offering delights ranging from expensive, fine dining experiences, to creative re-imaginations of the cheapest ingredients. Outdoor dining opportunities are available, of course, and people will be bracing the cold for an organic pig-roast in the Westerpark!
Once the dust settles on Sunday evening, for those that can’t wait for the next Restaurant Day (the next one is in May), the Pop-Up City thought it would be a good opportunity to share another website that allows people to creatively gather around food year round.
Thuisafgehaald and its English counterpart Shareyourmeal are meal sharing websites bring another dimension to food and the peer-to-peer economy. The website allows you to share your home-cooked meals with people in your neighbourhood (and of course, you can also participate by simply eating your neighbours’ food). The website maps nearby kitchens, gives descriptions of what’s on the stove, and includes prices, photos and reviews. Though it hasn’t quite taken off in North America, Thuisafgehaald is exploding with popularity in the Netherlands, the UK, and the Czech Republic.
Whether it’s safely from your own kitchen, or out on the streets, parks and sidewalks, Restaurant Day and Thuisafgehaald show that it’s easy to transform our cities into landscapes of delicious food and imaginative places to eat, meet others and explore. These projects make use of technology to break down the traditional barriers between restauranteur and restaurantee, and are signs of the exciting and constant evolution of the peer to peer economy.
Photo 1 courtesy of Roy Bäckström
Photo 2 and 3 courtesy of Tuomas Sarparanta