Philadelphia restaurateur tests “pop-up” kitchens

    One of Philadelphia’s most prominent restaurant owners is inviting a small country kitchen with a national reputation to take over a downtown eatery. But don’t blink – it will last only three days.

    One of Philadelphia’s most prominent restaurant owners is inviting a small country kitchen with a national reputation to take over a downtown eatery. But don’t blink – it will last only three days.

    They’re called pop-up restaurants, where urban trendsetters or rural chefs set up shop for just a few days. Stephen Starr invited Talula’s Table from suburban Kennett Square to use the kitchen at Washington Square in Philadelphia – a restaurant that has been closed for three years.

    Talula’s Table has a national reputation, but it’s tiny. Getting a table is notoriously difficult – it only seats 12 people a night. Reservations must be made one year in advance.

    Owner Aimee Olexy says she wants to bring her country-bohemian experience to city diners.

    “It’s the height of Chester County bounty right now in all of our farms,” says Olexy. “We’re very energized this time of year. It’s the time of year when so many people want to enjoy the kind of thing we do.”

    Talula’s Table appears at Washington Square next week but it’s already sold out.

    Starr Restaurants plans a series of pop-up restaurants through the fall to test restaurant concepts without having to make a large investment.

    Ashley Primis of Starr Restaurants says it’s a chance for the company to test new ideas.

    “For us, it’s a really fun way to use what we can do,” says Primis, “from both a staffing and monetary position with all these great spaces we have, to bring something cool to Philadelphia without the commitment of putting together a ton of money and opening up a full-service restaurant.”

    Stephen Starr and Talula’s Table have been talking about collaborating on a permanent restaurant, but so far no plans have been made.

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