Pop-up, chow down
Google "pop-up dinner" and you'll quickly get a sense of a growing food trend, one stretching from L.A.'s LudoBites events with celeb chef Ludo Lefebvre to Denver's Hush Concepts dinners to Philly's Talula's Table farm dinners.
Many are pricey, guerilla-style gatherings, with hipster essence oozing everywhere. They certainly make an experience out of eating, which is in part what local chef and Springs native Kevin Campbell aims to do with Full Circle Cuisine (fullcirclecuisine.com).
Campbell has partnered with Ranch Foods Direct to host his own pop-up dinners (20 people max) inside Ranch Foods' market (2901 N. El Paso St.). They'll feature family-style meals, built largely around Ranch Foods meats and local produce, at a community table. The $45 a head will include Colorado-made beverages. On account of this being a start of a business that Campbell hopes to grow into a brick-and-mortar operation, he's taken the secretive element out (no last-minute notice of venue, etc.): He'll accept reservations by web, Facebook or phone, and post menus roughly a week ahead of meals.
Campbell says the idea for Full Circle came after five years of catering in Phoenix, where he ran his own sustainability-minded outfit for a stint, and after meeting chef Anthony Myint of San Francisco's notable Mission Street Food, a pop-up turned establishment. He also visited Talula's while researching a way to launch his own pop-up, then floated the idea by Ranch Foods' Mike Callicrate, who invited him to use the market "whenever I wanted." The goal, he says, is to host events two nights a week for all of 2012.
Some food items, even during winter months, are coming via the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers' Marcy Nameth; warmer months will obviously bring even more fresh produce to complement rich protein mains.
As for the name: When Campbell returned to the Springs from Arizona, "someone said, 'Well, you've come full circle,' which also represents the philosophy of farm to chef to table to community, and back to farm," he says.
The next dinners, always at 7 p.m., will take place Thursday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 4.
Down and out
• Owner of Flow of Mexico (16 E. Bijou St., 633-2526) Jose Luis Flores says that unless a buyer steps forward, he will close the restaurant after service Saturday, Jan. 28.
• After an explosive start in mid 2010 and talk of expansion into settings like airports, Opb&j abruptly closed recently on 3 E. Bijou St. One has to wonder if the opening of nearby P.B. & Jellies in late 2011 contributed to the demise.
• Broadway Deli ceased its operations at 4475 Northpark Drive late last week, after a decade at its prior 7170 N. Academy Blvd. location, and about a year in this space.