Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Kitchen LTO creates DFW’s first permanent pop-up restaurant
How can it be permanent and a pop-up restaurant? Read on.
WEST DALLAS Trinity Groves is becoming Dallas’ new land of opportunity, where entrepreneurs with grand ideas can find both funding and guidance to manifest their business models.
The neighborhood’s newest concept, Kitchen LTO, holds true to that mission in an unprecedented way. The 2,500-square-foot blank canvas of a building is posed to be the area’s first “permanent pop-up restaurant” that will change in design and offering every four months.
The "LTO" in the name stands for “limited time only.” The space invites up-and-coming chefs and interior designers to compete for the low-risk opportunity of opening and decorating their dream restaurant. Artisans who apply are first evaluated by a committee of local industry experts, who pick between five and seven finalists from the pools of both chefs and designers. The public is then left to decide, first, which chef should take over the space and, second, which designer will build it out.
“Dallas is really a hotbed for creative, divine, culinary talent,” said Casie Caldwell, founder and owner of Dallas eatery Greenz and the mind behind Kitchen LTO. “It’s a way to move up those talented sous chefs and give them a platform for their artistry.”
On May 30, the team behind Kitchen LTO will reveal the chefs and designers in the running to create the inaugural pop-up. Foodies and socialites can purchase tickets ($25-$30) to the event, which is also a tasting of the chefs’ menus. Lines for voting open at the dinner and run through June 10 on the Kitchen LTO website. Winners will be announced June 11.
Caldwell expects the preliminary incarnation of Kitchen LTO to open by mid-July, which means the chef has roughly five weeks to finalize a menu. The designer, with an allocated $12,000 budget, will change everything from the paint color of the interior to the fixtures, artwork, and table décor. The kitchen and bar layout as well as the cooking staff of Kitchen LTO will remain static, Caldwell said.
Then, four months later, it all comes down and starts anew for the next chef and designer.
Caldwell developed the idea for Kitchen LTO after meeting with restaurateur and Trinty Groves investor Phil Romano, who is adamant about cultivating organic business ideas in the 15-acre plot of West Dallas. Romano wholeheartedly embraced what Caldwell thought might be “the craziest idea on Earth.”
“Just like Trinity Groves will act as an incubator for providing restaurateurs a lower cost venue for testing a concept’s viability, Kitchen LTO becomes an ‘incubator within the incubator,’” Romano said in a press release.
If a restaurant is successful during its four-month stint at Kitchen LTO, Caldwell said it could be considered for a permanent location in Trinity Groves, though that is not guaranteed. The same goes for designers, she said.
“The opportunities are endless there,” Caldwell said.
Kitchen LTO is currently accepting applications to fill the space during the winter. Chefs must have at least five years experience and no prior name brand accomplishments. Chefs and designers apply separately, so decorators must be able to adapt to the type of cuisine and culinary vision, Caldwell said. For more information, visit Kitchen LTO’s official website.Follow @tineywristwatch
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