Metro Detroit’s Unique Pop-Up Restaurants

Pop Up Restaurants in Detroit

Detroit is home to a diverse population, and that rich diversity is reflected in the area’s restaurants. From a farm to table Airstream in a community garden to Pakistani American fusion cuisine, here are some of the city’s unique dining experiences.

Encourage guests to share their experience with your restaurant by using review management software. This will enable you to respond quickly to feedback and make necessary improvements.

1. Location

There aren’t many limitations on where you can host a pop-up restaurant. You could rent a space from another restaurant during their off hours, use a private home, an apartment complex or even a food truck. The most important thing is that you have an open space that can pass health inspections and adhere to the standards of a restaurant. You will also need a kitchen that’s equipped for cooking operations and cutting tables where you can prepare your dishes before serving them to customers.

The diverse population of metro Detroit is on full display in the area’s unique restaurants. From a vegan food truck to a vintage Airstream used for dinners, these pop-ups are making their mark in the city’s culinary scene.

2. Concept

Depending on the chef’s goals, the concept of the pop-up restaurant can be just as important as the location. For chefs who are experimenting with a new cuisine or concept, a pop-up can provide the opportunity to test out their ideas and build a customer base before they invest in a permanent location.

Other chefs like to use a pop-up as an opportunity to launch their brand and showcase their skills. For example, Detroiter Erin Sabo launched her French pop-up, Les Deux Dachshunds (The Two Dachshunds), in a local coffee shop before opening her brick and mortar.

The city’s diversity is reflected in the variety of pop-up restaurants that have cropped up. From a farm to table Airstream in a community garden to Pakistani American fusion fare, you can find it all in Metro Detroit.

3. Permits

The costs of permits and licensing may not be obvious line items when planning a pop-up restaurant, but they’re essential to your success. Check with your local health department to see what requirements apply. Some examples include water, electric and food handling permits. In addition, some cities require a food service manager certification that can be obtained either through your local health department or a third-party online training provider like ServSafe.

Detroit and its suburbs have embraced the pop-up concept, spawning many regularly hosted events that showcase culinary creativity and serve as a proving ground for future brick-and-mortar restaurants. Here are a few of our favorites.

4. Marketing

As a low-risk venture, pop-up restaurants offer chefs and restaurateurs a way to test out their food and concept. If the restaurant and menu is a hit, it can easily be transitioned into a permanent location.

For example, Side Biscuit, a Detroit-based pop up restaurant that serves chicken wings and biscuits, recently converted to a permanent brick-and-mortar spot. Ricewood, a barbecue restaurant from Windsor, and Basil Babe, a Thai eatery from Ypsilanti, also moved from trucks into dedicated spaces this year.

For diners looking for new and exotic flavors, the Detroit-based pop-up restaurant Sarap offers Filipino cuisine—a vastly underrepresented dish in the city. And for dessert lovers, Blu Kitchen, which specializes in macarons—a sugary sweet that has received little local attention—serves them at various locations while it awaits its own space.

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