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Old 08-23-2010, 10:20 AM   #1
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Pop Up Restaurants

Has anyone else heard of these? I am not sure if more than just this one chef is doing it, but I love the concept.

Chef Ludo LeFebvre wanted to open a restaurant, but was very scared to make a long term commitment because of how hard the business is, even if you are great at what you do. He wondered why he could not just open a short term restaurant. He had a friend who owned a bakery (I think) who agreed to let him use his space at night for a few weeks to have a place he could serve customers. It was just something that intentionally was around for a few weeks and then was gone. It was a huge success. He now has done this a few times and demand is huge. Reservations were snapped up in 20 minutes for the entire run the last time they were offered. I believe they had 3,000 people trying to get reservations at the same time.

I love this idea. It is such a new and refreshing concept in an industry that has not changed much in a very long time. What are your thoughts?

You can read more about the chef and his pop up restaurants here.

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Old 08-23-2010, 10:36 AM   #2
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Hmmm. Interesting.

It does generate demand because it's something new and different and there's a bit of adventure to it as it's like a treasure hunt.

I wonder if the same group of restaurant enthusiasts end up with all the reservations and block out the casual restaurant-goer. By the time word gets out to the general populace, it's gone. Does that make it elitist?

I wonder how good the food is???
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:48 AM   #3
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I learned about this on NPR this morning Andy. From their descriptions alone, the food sounded amazing.

I am guessing that it is not the same group of people who get in each time, but that is just a guess. It sounded like the space he usually got was very small, about 10 tables or so, and the demand is very high. They compared it to getting concert tickets. You need to luck out that you are able to get through on the phone when they release the reservations for sale. There probably are repeat customers because they would most likely be in the know about when the reservations will go on sale, but it sounds like there are enough other people who know too who they will have to fight against to get a spot.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:58 AM   #4
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I didn't know this phenomenon existed until your post. I think you're right about there being a core of repeat customers with some different ones each time.

It depends on how you find out about a new pop up and when to call.

Regardless of all that, it's an exiting concept for dining. After a series of pop ups, does this chef decide he could make a lot more money with a real restaurant and go traditional? If he does, does his food become boring and business drops off? In other words, is the the concept or the food that brings people back? Not saying the food is bad, just not all that great but good enough with this concept.

Speculation. That's all I have.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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I wish the piece the did on the radio gave more information. They said this chef has worked for some of the top chefs in CA, but they did not say who.

It sounds like he does not plan on opening a traditional place any time soon. After the first run was so successful he was able to take some time off and enjoy himself being unemployed for a few months before working again. They made it sound like he really liked that style of working for a short while then taking a break and doing it again. I would have to guess the novelty would wear off eventually though.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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Here is a page that I found that has one of his menu's along with photos of the food.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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Definitely NOT low brow cuisine. Looks fascinating. Some things I'd really like to try.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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I think the apps sound more intriguing than the main courses. Cauliflower ice cream could be quite interesting.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
I think the apps sound more intriguing than the main courses. Cauliflower ice cream could be quite interesting.
Definitely NOT interested in that. There is no place in my gastronomic universe for cauliflower in any form.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:25 AM   #10
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