Created in 2011 by Timo Santala, Olli Sirén and Antti Tuomola the Restaurant day encourages common people to open their own restaurants, cafés and bars for a single day. The initial restaurant day was the result of the founders’ frustration with bureaucratic hurdles and regulations that made impossible to create pop-up eateries in Finland. They discovered, however, that the Finnish laws allowed to open a restaurant without permits if was only for a single day. Then they came with the idea of promoting a bit of civil disobedience by organizing the restaurant day, an event that turns the city into a carnival that promotes and celebrates food culture, only for a day.
Finding restaurants that are opened for a single day can be challenging. To locate the restaurants the organizers created an online map that shows the location of the pop-ups, a short description of their offerings and some contact data. Anyone with an internet connection can access the map and find tasty offerings in the surrounding areas. The map is a key tool for the restaurant day, as without it would be too complex to inform a whole city about informal restaurants that are opened only for 24 hours.
While the Restaurant day started in Helsinki, Finland, the idea has spread around the world and currently more than 190 cities in 56 different countries participate in the event. It is estimated that more that around 36000 restaurants have catered more than 180000 guests during the past Restaurant Days.
Video 1: Cocoa – cocoa.fi / Music by Gracias x JTT – Dedication / Graphic Design by Kiia Beilinson – kiia.fi
Photo: Tuomas Sarparanta / Pikku-Berliini, Helsinki – Restaurant Day 17.2.2013 – Restaurant Pikku-Berliini’s currywurst menu was really popular among diners.
Video 2: RestaurantDay.org / vimeo.com/restaurantday