has come to represent the epitome of all that’s cool about Port Jefferson village right now so it's no wonder that the funky eatery will play host to a food trend recently imported from overseas: the pop-up restaurant.
Imagine going to your favorite eatery and discovering that the kitchen has been taken over by a young chef who wants to try out his innovative dishes for one night only. That’s the idea of a pop-up restaurant, and if it sounds like new fad, you might be mistaken.
According to Doug Weiler, one of three chefs bringing the first pop-up to Toast on July 17, what’s old is new again.
“They’re not a new thing,” said Weiler. “They were done in Europe a number of years ago and it’s a way for people who don’t have space for a restaurant for whatever reason to have their own restaurant for a night.”
The idea is simple. Chefs take over a kitchen, promoting their own style of food preparation and a pared down menu for a limited guest list for one night. It could be a reoccurring thing, happening on a weekly basis (as with some Manhattan pop-ups) or it could be sporadic, as is the case with the three chefs planning the pop-up menu for Port Jefferson.
Doug Weiler, a 27-year old chef originally from Hauppauge, Kyle Fiasconaro, 26, who is a professional food forager from Commack and Dan Shannon, 31, a chef who hails from Cincinnati, all have put together a five course meal of their own design and philosophy for the eating event.
The three men who developed the idea while working together at a local restaurant have called the endeavor "Lost and Found Popup Restaurant."
Shannon who worked at Toast when he first moved to Long Island approached owner Terry Scarlatos about the idea. Scarlatos gave them the go ahead.
“He supports the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Weiler.
Behind the menu will be an attempt to bring back the way people used to eat, with food that is farmed, fished or foraged hyperlocally.
“We want to go back to the way it used to be where you had a relationship with who you were getting food from,” Weiler said. “Not only a farmer but a friend. Getting product from growers supporting a community and sourcing everything from the community.”
The trio discussed their shared take on assembling a menu, putting local first, even above hammering down a specific meal. Weiler said the food they will serve is subject to change slightly depending on availability, which follows along with the whole theme.
Before refrigerated trucks shipped food across the country, hunters, fisherman and farmers put a meal on the table taken from a small geographic area so the chefs are reaching back into history. They feel that true American food is eating what the immediate area provides.
Fiasconaro’s specialty is foraging for food, finding local edible items in the wild and adding them to the ingredients.
“This way of cooking was lost and now we’ve found it again,” said Weiler.
Hence the name of their first pop-up restaurant.
According to Weiler, dinner will be a four course meal with an extra bonus vegetable meal included that they haven’t advertised.
The menu includes, fresh baked bread, bite sized treats (one of which is a cheese treat provided by ), a salad of greens, a vegetable course, a meat entrée and dessert. Beer and wine will be served. The beer is from and wine is from Anthony Nappa Wines, a private label line of wines from former Shinn Vineyard winemaker Anthony Nappa.
Dinner costs $45 for the food and $15 extra for beer or wine. There will be two seatings of 25 people each on July 17, one at 6:30 p.m. and another at 8:30 p.m.
Although the three chefs met a few weeks ago to develop a menu, it’s still subject to change.
“We try to plan ahead based on what’s available,” Weiler said.
That casual take is how they imagine the entire night will go. Much like Toast, Weiler says the atmosphere for Lost and Found will be relaxed and fun.
“Like a group of friends coming together,” he said. “Not stuffy.”
If all goes as planned, they hope to do this every other week.
“We’d like it to be at Toast depending on how the first one goes,” said Weiler. “But it could be at any location.”
That’s the idea. It could pop-up anywhere.
To make reservations for Lost and Found Popup Restaurant at Toast Coffeehouse, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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