New restaurant: oops, it's gone!

He says:

I was reading about a trend in New York called, “Pop Up Restaurants.”

These are the equivalent of raves for the food industry. A few people get together, find a location, renovate it and open a restaurant. Now the trick is they only stay open for a month or two, after that they close shop and go do another one somewhere else. Wow, anyone who has had a restaurant will tell you that opening a restaurant is madness. Opening day is nothing short of insanity, you work 36 to 48 hours straight, you eat nothing and you usually snap at every employee including your spouse non-stop. Why would you want to do it over and over and over again? Craziness! Yes, restaurants are extremely high risk, often failing within the first few months to few years, but that’s no reason to close the door after a month. It takes your staff conservatively 3 to 6 months to really find their feet and become really good in that new concept.

How about from a customer’s point of view… you drive around and see this cute little restaurant, you walk in with your office colleagues, sit down and eat an amazing meal. A month passes, then you decide to take your new girlfriend because you have been talking about this new restaurant who serves the most amazing crab cakes, you dress up, stop to pick her up at home, and drive across town to find out that they closed a few days ago… for good… they’re gone!

I am the first one to tell you - it is hard to make money in our business, but I am not convinced that these pop up restaurants have the answers by opening and closing before the paint is dry.

She says:

I have to agree, it sounds a bit on the insane side to want to build and re-build a restaurant. I have heard of underground travelling dinner clubs, serving fancy meals in changing locations to avoid any problems with health inspectors and the like; but who wants to move, and re-paint, and re-train staff? I like the world in between the idea of being in a rut and seeing places get old and tired, and the concept of needing to change everything like you change your socks, all the time. So, how about a few suggestions for places that might be new, but are ones we hope will stick around so they can become favourites for a while??

First, there is Okanagan Street Food (812 Crowley Ave.). We have mentioned this place before, but it really does rock. How can you not like homemade fries like Mom used to make, but with truffle mayonnaise and blackberry ketchup? Then there is Fish Taco Tuesday, a phenomenon that could be called “pop up”, I guess, as apparently it was created by regulars. A bunch of people just show up and order fish tacos on Tuesday. Any day of the week suits me – I just think they’re wicked. This is a place where homey AND cool is a great combination.

Next there is a place we haven’t been to yet, but I know we have to try, so it’s on my list for this weekend. De Bakker Kitchen (1014 Glenmore Dr.) is a tiny place across from the Kelowna Golf & Country Club that has a wood-fired oven. They used to sell their bread at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market, but now have a store-front operation, and the word from our foodie friends is that their pizza is awesome! Since we have a pizza oven at home that Martin built, we have to go check this out.

Last, is a place that works if you want to grab something for home – whether you want it just to heat up, or if you are cooking up a storm. It’s one of Martin’s regular haunts when he shops for his clients, and it’s the kind of place I like to browse in the way most women browse in shopping malls. Valoroso Foods is now also on the Westside (Kelowna – 1467 Sutherland Ave.; West Kelowna – 2441 Main St.) They have sundried olives that are addictive, and wonderful cheeses and cured meats that go great with the fresh buns, or on a pizza dough that is ready for baking. The staff are knowledgeable, and the shops are open till 6 pm so you can stop in on your way home from work. These guys have stuff that Superstore doesn’t carry – it’s worth the stop!

The big thing with patronizing any business, especially a food-related one as they don’t ever seem to make lots of money, is that your loyalty counts for a lot. If you are loyal with one of these “pop up” places, it doesn’t really matter as they don’t last long enough for it to make a difference. But if you have a place you like, make sure you tell your friends, and stop in as often as you can, as it might make the difference to them staying a bit longer. Life is short, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work on making our favourite moments (or meals) last a little longer.

Enjoy your long weekend -Bon Appetit!

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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