Restaurant Day gives a sense of community
LIFESTYLE - On Restaurant Day anyone can open a restaurant for a day. The first Restaurant Day was arranged in Finland in May 2011. Today, the event is the world's largest food festival. It is kept four times a year in hundreds of cities around the world.
The idea is that you can have a restaurant of your own in a park or in your house. You can give it a name and create your menu and set prices. Alternatively, you can visit other restaurants, try your neighbours’ specialities while dining in his living room or have some home-made pancakes in the park nearby.
Meri Lähteenaro, 23, from Helsinki had her restaurant two times.
“I was really excited after the first restaurant days' ‘positive anarchism’ against the government's over-patronage. This food festival started right after some new straighter regulations were imposed, which made it more difficult to have small independent cafes and restaurants in Finland.”
Lähteenaro thinks that young adults have a need to feel a sense of community.
“Living in block houses in cities is anonymous and you don´t know your neighbour. After the Restaurant Day there have been more similar events and neighbourhood festivals are now more popular than ever. These kinds of events also show that we are not only living here, but also participating and making a difference.”
Even though people organizing and visiting one-day restaurants make this festival possible, there is a Finnish Restaurant Day team, that is running the event and facilities.
Restaurants can register on the Restaurant Day pages, where people can find restaurants nearby and check interesting menus. At the moment the map looks quite empty in Belgium and the nearest restaurants are in the Netherlands, but maybe the situation will change before May.
Lähteenaro and her sister having their first one-day restaurant in Helsinki.
Text and photos: Marie von Bell