300seats bringing pop up concept to BR

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POSTED: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 7:31pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 3:37pm

It’s a trend happening not only all around the nation, but the world as well.

“They're doing them in Madrid, London, Spain, New York and now Baton Rouge,” Manuel Valencia, founder of 300seats, told NBC33 News when explaining the concept for its latest cultural event.

It’s called a pop up restaurant, and it’s a new way for potential business owners to test the water during these times of economic uncertainty.

“One of the things we want to do with this is to get people thinking a little differently, that even includes the business owner,” Valencia said. "This is a great way for entrepreneurs and future business folks to test out concepts to see what works.

“We realize that in an economy like this, there’s lots of out of use spaces all around town,” Valencia continued to explain. “By us coming in and taking over this space, even if it’s just for a weekend, we will perk the attention and eyes and ears that are in the restaurant business and maybe even pop the question in someone’s head that maybe I can open a restaurant in this space.”

In a city where the restaurant industry is not lacking in competition, many first questioned whether it was a task that would be worth undertaking.

“At first I thought, ‘man this is really cool, but will it work in Baton Rouge?’ The more research that we did about it, and seeing pictures from these other awesome events, we thought why not, let's try it,’” Celeste Landry, Event Director for The Edible Event, said when asked about her initial reaction when pitched the concept. “Baton Rouge has got a really cool art scene, so I think this is something that will continue to push that further.”

For some, the temporary setting allows for a much needed break from the typical fried dish that has become a staple in most Louisiana-based eateries.

“There’s been those times that you try to do things without frying it, but you always go back to it because you have to do what it takes to pay the light bill,” William Wells, Executive Chef and owner of Culinary Productions, said with a laugh.

And for others, it’s a way to gain potential business even before that business is open.

“We really wanted a way to kind of showcase and more or less have a sneak preview of what’s to come when we open,” Matt Anderson, General Manager for Zolia Bistro Enoteca, said when explaining why Zolia opted to be a part of the Pop Up Restaurant. “We thought this is going to be a really great fit for us to showcase some of the nice plates that we’re going to be offering in December.”

The Edible Event will feature a Spanish Contemporary theme at the VIP launch event to be held on Friday, Sept. 16. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The next two seatings will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The first will begin at 11:30 a.m. and is an Italian Bistro theme that will feature items from Zolia Bistro, as well as wiz-kid chef, Matthew Bouchner, a 13-year old based out of Lafayette, La. Bouchner will team up with Zolia to add an added kick to the menu.

The final seating of the night has a bit of a twist – the food will not be served until midnight. It’s going to take the feel of a New York dinner, and Culinary Productions has some goodies planned that are not to be missed. Doors will open at 9:00 p.m.

Each event will also include additional entertainment features that will accentuate the theme for the menu.

Click here to purchase tickets to one of the three seatings available.

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