19 May 2012
Pop-up restaurants are a phenomenon that originates in Finland. Did you know that? Today is the day for pop-up restaurants and practically anyone around the globe could be a restaurateur for a day. The idea is to encourage people to open up temporary restaurants, cafés and bars.
670 restaurants participated in the happening today. . In the first ever restaurant day there were 50 restaurants participating in 15 towns in Finland. This year there are 670 restaurants in 17 countries. Wow! The idea is that anyone can put up a restaurant for a day. An excellent opportunity to fulfill your dreams! Be a restaurateur for a day! The organisers will help you with practical matters and I’ve understood that very little red tape is needed.
I set out to test some of the pop-ups in the afternoon with a good friend. We took a tram to the trendy area of Punavuori in the heart of Helsinki and spotted the first one instantly. It was an old kiosk selling pita bread. We aimed for the streets with the bars and nightclubs for the +20 and found a pedestrian street full of people and yes, pop-up restaurants! Most of the restaurants or should I say stands were selling bread in one form or another – pita, tacos, enchiladas, buns, wraps, wafers – with sweet or savoury filling. The prices were from 3 – 5 Euros and you could get a mug of juice with your bite.
I was happy to get some of the action in my pictures but you can’t fully feel the atmosphere.
As we moved i.e. walked towards the finer area with boutiques, shops, restaurants and parks the pop-ups changed into cafés selling coffee, tea, cakes and biscuits. On Tarkk’ampujankatu we found the lovely Sweetie Pie girls – two young ladies selling cakes. They told to have baked 19 cakes and what they had left at 3 pm was 4 slices. I had one of them and it was a delicious peanut butter banana cake. The recipe comes from a granny in Canada. Absolutely fantastic! Please send me the recipe if you have it. I’m trying to get hold of it, did not think to ask for it then and there.
What a splendid day for the restaurant day. It is 15 degrees and sunny, no clouds in the sky. Helsinki seemed to be enjoying the pop-ups and ice hockey. We are hosting the world championships in Helsinki this year. Today was not a lucky day for the Finnish team – we lost to Russia 6-2.
I’m in for the next restaurant day! We started planning our stand on the way home in the tram! What to bake and how to serve, where to put up the restaurant! I’m happy to have a year on me.
I’m sure you can find posts on the day on Facebook and in other blogs. And CNN has some footage on it too. More about restaurant day at http://www.restaurantday.org/
If you’re interested in Helsinki, my beautiful city, the city tourist pages are at http://www.helsinki.fi/en/index/matkailu.html