Thank You For Coming is a new restaurant project in Los Angeles, CA. We are currently seeking funding to get it off the ground. We thank you for your time and consideration!
Thank You For Coming aspires to
- inspire people to participate and activate the space
- help people engage in meals differently (e.g. by cooking themselves, bartering a skill for it, harvesting and foraging their own ingredients, or eating with new tools)
- be transparent about how the restaurant operates, including where the food comes from, how much it costs, how it is made, and who prepares it
- learn how to cook and feed better, always
- be a place where people aren’t afraid to come alone
- create collaborative relationships
- encourage people to come back again and again
- realize a low-impact, low-resource ecosystem through composting, recycling and reusing salvaged materials and equipment whenever possible
Contributions through this Kickstarter campaign will help fund things like:
- plumbing hookups for two sinks and a new water heater
- electrical work to plug in an awesome convection oven and other kitchen appliances
- health department approval to make and serve food
- permits are required every time changes are made to existing plumbing or electrical systems
Materials & Equipment
- hardware and lumber to build a 30 foot long counter
- the convection oven!
- hot plates
- refrigerator and freezer
- dishware and cookware
- garden boxes, including soil
Every contribution goes a long way in supporting Thank You For Coming. We are committed to keeping our dollar costs as low as possible by being our own labor force, and using recycled, scrap, and found materials and equipment whenever possible. We are committed to a strong do-it-together, all-hands, low-resource approach for every aspect of Thank You For Coming. We aspire to work with friends and strangers with unique skills and talents to build and maintain this project. We hope to engage them in forms of exchange that transcend generosity and volunteerism and encourage forms of mutual aid and benefit.
Thank You For Coming will have an unpartitioned, open floorplan to encourage interaction with all processes and functions, ranging from kitchen chatter to cooking to bookkeeping. Eaters will sit on one side of a wide, shared counter, while cooks utilize the opposite side as a kitchen prep surface. Ingredients will be grown in container gardens that will be adjacent and easily accessible to the kitchen, promoting activities like “picking and cooking your own ___.” Additional seating will be around a communal table that spans the length of the room and encourages large, family style dinners. A continuously updated display board will communicate the restaurant’s current resource needs, including ingredients, help wanted, and money. It will also display opportunities for participation, such as upcoming events and residency openings. The open floorplan allows for easy adaptation and transformation of the space into temporary, and often simultaneous environments for events, performances, classes, informal meetings, etc. All of these activities and elements will be observable from the street, through a big storefront window.
In November, we traveled south to visit friends and do research for a future project in Greensboro, Alabama. While there, we were fortunate to become familiar with PieLab and its community, which, in its most basic form, is a sit-down pie shop that changes its menu daily and offers $1 mugs of self-serve coffee. Their insignia reads, “Pie & Conversation”, and we had the opportunity to observe this in action. We learned how to make different kinds of pie dough, waited tables, made coffee, and learned about the restaurant’s day-to-day operational challenges. But we also chatted with the town’s lone barber, heard inmates’ life stories, met farmers who invited us to visit their farms, borrowed a sewing machine, picked up some embroidery tips, and learned about southern pecan and catfish culture.
The pie was delicious, but more admirable perhaps was PieLab’s ability to engender an environment of community interaction and inclusiveness. At the forefront were the stories told, new ideas being brainstormed, connections made and skills and services exchanged. Observing and participating in these interactions resonated with us, and helped us identify similar values in some of the temporary food environments we’ve created together -- with the help and participation of a large group of friends and collaborators -- in Los Angeles. Our emphasis has always been on process, and the collaboration and education that coincides with it.
We’ve put together meals for 150 people at a time as part of a collective that organizes the Artist Bailout, an ongoing democratic meal that funds artists in a tanda structure. Because of the nature of Artist Bailout being a community-driven funding mechanism centered around a shared meal, we feel it’s important that the community Artist Bailout benefits takes part in preparing the meal. We encourage everyone to cook (and eat) with us, whatever their skill and comfort level in the kitchen. In cooking with people, we’ve also expanded our own know-hows by learning new methods for making and preparing food from others. Additionally, Artist Bailout meals are made with intentionally-limited resources and budgets because of our goal to raise more funds to support the artists in our community.
In 2010, we opened a two-week trading post called the Cantry. We taught ourselves how to make and preserve shelf-stable foods to build up a stock for our shelves. We declared ourselves pantlers -- keepers of the pantry for our large extended family. We opened our doors to people by inviting them to trade food, goods, services and stories with us and by hosting family-style dinners prepared by different homecooks each night. We kept a long log of exchanges and transactions made. In creating The Secret Garden series the same year, we identified home vegetable gardens around Los Angeles, and worked with their owners to open pop-up BBQ pizzerias that used ingredients sourced from their gardens. By inviting the public into strangers’ backyards, we were able to generate an environment of discovery and informality, which helped to nurture unique and spontaneous interaction.
Informed by our past projects and from what we saw at PieLab, we were hit with a strong conviction to build a place of our own where we could further explore ideas about food, economy, culture, people, and all of their intersections. A restaurant is a place where these ideas and explorations can be shared with others on an ongoing, everyday basis. Breaking bread together and building connections over food is a centuries-old concept, and with our restaurant we hope to use food and its rituals to facilitate dynamic interactions, relationships and all the possibilities in between.
In addition to the projects and places mentioned above, we are informed and inspired by numerous other sources. From a perspective of re-thinking purposes and places for food, our range of inspiration spans from Public Matters' Market Makeovers, to Old Field Farm’s agricultural and art residencies, to learning how to cook from our friend yoyo, who runs a weekly pop-up restaurant out of galleries in Tokyo. Although we lack space to list them all, our references and inspirations are endless and critical to our process, and we look forward to sharing them with you all at Thank You For Coming.
-------- Laura Noguera and Jenn Su Taohan
P.S. Extra super special thanks to ::: Michael Rippens, Jonathan Robert, Cynthia Su, Trent Wolbe, Sue Huang, Dan Ehrenfeld, Una, Eunnis, Gloria, Susan Estrada, Rob Barber, Brian, Lisa Nguyen, Natasa, Cal, Ruslana, Jeff, Vincent, Lucila Caro, Angelo Bellomo, Nadav Havusha, Roshni Divate, Grace, Egon, Roger, Emily, Stephen Villavaso, Colleen Corcoran, Ava Bromberg, Avo Tavitian, Saskia Wilson-Brown, Odet Mkrtchyan, the whole ATX and ATX kitchen crew, Wonnie Ro, Johnny Sweeny, Cosmo, Ian Vanek, James Dion, Anthony Sant'anselmo, Marie Sullivan, Zha Zha Aghili, Boo, Mark, Lenore, Arman, Sophie Lvoff, Gillian Garcia, Dylan Su, Annie Le ::: for being in our video / helping us get our video done 'n stuff / ongoing feedback + support!
- (30 days)