11 | Apr | 19

Joanne Coggin

Pop Up – Or Permanent?

There’s no denying the appeal of the pop-up and the kitchen takeover. Because it’s temporary, you’ll rush to meet your mates there for after-work drinks – and make sure that your trip into town incorporates a stop-off for lunch. We see it after every rotation at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds – as the six old traders are lifted out, six new traders are lifted in, and there’s always a rush at the tills. But what happens when street food becomes more permanent? As Kerb in London contemplate a big move indoors, will traders lose their appeal?

Bundobust is a great example of a street food business which has successfully made the shift. It’s serving a Gujarati-inspired menu indoors alongside a huge choice of tasty craft beers, (with names such as ‘Bombay Dazzler’ and ‘Juicy Bhangra’), but manages to keep a casual and communal feel. From talking to the punters, it’s clear that permanence is actually part of the appeal – the fact that their sites in Leeds and Manchester will be there next month.

Later this month pop-up and festival stalwarts Holy Crab along with Wholesome Junkies and Blue Caribou, who featured on My Million Pound Menu, are setting up their permanent home in the Arndale Food Market in Manchester. Whilst, just up the road, Yakumama are ready to open up their doors to a permanent home in Todmorden. Which makes the British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s (check out the 2019 finalists here) more necessary than ever, as we search for the talent of tomorrow.

Does this mean that ‘street food’ is losing its essence or does it just mean more choice to those workers who otherwise would have had little choice at lunchtime? Does a permanent home allow street food traders to expand their menus and their businesses by building on their hard graft on the street food circuit up and down the country? Or should we be moaning about integrity and credibility. Answers on a postcard please….