Pop-Up Paradise: Temporary Eateries Let Restaurateurs Test Their Wares

By Patti Brandt Burgess
The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For those with mad culinary chops but no bank account to back it up, pop-up restaurants may be the perfect solution.

TRAVERSE CITY

These temporary restaurants can pop up in a winery, an empty eatery, someone’s home or, like several in the Grand Traverse area, in an establishment that may or may not serve its own food.

They can be for one or two nights at a time, like Conifer — which has popped up twice so far — or they can be a regular gig, like Glendale Ave., which serves casual foods at two different locations every Sunday and Wednesday.

Pop-ups can even be open daily, like the Rose & Fern Cafe, whose owner is working toward owning her own restaurant.

“It’s an opportunity for an entrepreneur to showcase their skills without capital, without collateral, without brick and mortar,” said Becky Tranchell, who runs Rose & Fern at Potter’s Bakery on Eighth Street.

The cafe opened about six weeks ago and has Tranchell serving up about a dozen items that include the Morning Missile, a seven ingredient-stuffed tortilla, and the Pesty Chicken, a sandwich with feta, cucumber and pepper jam on focaccia bread.

The cafe is now just a few tables in a space with a small kitchen that the Potters have rented out for smaller events such as kids’ birthday parties and cake-making classes.

Tranchell, 30, hopes to have financing in place to make the restaurant her own by the end of the year. For now she is paid an hourly wage by the Potters and doesn’t take home the profits. She also doesn’t pay rent, doesn’t buy the food and the menu is her own.

“It’s eliminated risk for me,” said Tranchell, who was an instructor at Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute.

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