From infrequent seasonal events and festivals to word-of-mouth happenings, pop-up eateries have become the edible whack-a-mole of the local scene. Originally, pop-ups were simply kitchen takeovers for brief periods of time—unemployed cooks giving the dream a go and employed chefs looking to take a walk on the wild side occupied vacant storefronts or established restaurants on an off-night to experiment with new flavors and dishes. Today, pop-ups come in all sizes, shapes, and durations.
The One-Night Stand
One night only, this blink-of-an-eye pop-up opens for a lightning flash, dispensing food and drink and then disappearing into the night. Seventh Son plays host to a weekly roster of popular mobile culinary vendors, including Challah Food Truck. Challah’s Cate Randazzo likes to switch it up occasionally and host a pop-up from another truck, or give one of her own sous chefs a chance to run the show. Last month, Matt Swint of Majita Breads swooped into the truck and, for one night only, Challah transformed into an Italian trattoria, offering up genuine tastes of the boot-shaped nation, from arrancini to a rabbit ragu. These one-night-stand deals zip through social media to get the word out. “I like to change it up,” Randazzo said, “give other people a chance.” Standing around the firepit at Seventh Son, Randazzo watches as people enjoy Swint’s food, happy in the role of match-maker. Learn about these special guest appearances by following Challah Food Truck on Facebook.
Every once in a while restaurants cheat and have an affair with new cuisine. Whether trying out a new
product or debuting a whole new slate of dishes, established eateries create their own pop-ups.
Throughout this fall, La Tavola in Grandview hosted four morning pop-ups highlighting coffee and Krista
Lopez’s astonishing pastries. “This is just a way for us to test the waters,” Rick Lopez said. “With Panera here in Grandview closing to make room for Cameron Mitchell’s new restaurant, there’s a market for daytime goods.” The pop-up café hours have encouraged the Lopez’s to take a stab at it. Get another chance to enjoy La Tavola’s daytime offerings once more before Christmas, and then again in January. Get updates on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Sometimes a chef just moves right into a kitchen and takes over, a match made in meal heaven. Columbus has seen this before, especially with the successful runs of The Coop and bebe at the Hey Hey Bar and Grill in German Village. The latest kitchen takeover to catch fire features the mash-up of Katalina’s Café and Oddfellows Liquor Bar. These two spots could be brothers from a different mother—both have carefully chosen tchotchkes as décor and a devil-may-care attitude that belies generous service and excellent food and drink. These pairings work best when both parties meet somewhere in the middle, allowing for the identity of both places to mesh. In this case, Katalina’s brings its legendary pancake balls and sweet-and-spicy bacon to the High Street drinkery, as well as its Latin-influenced brunch offerings. The Trio Amoroso (three chorizo sliders) bridges the two places as they are slathered with Mikey’s Slut Sauce aioli. “We’re very particular about who we pair with,” said Oddfellow’s proprietor Mike Sorboro. “And this fits awesomely.”