April 10th, 2012
Awesome Food is pleased to announce that its seventh micro-grant of $1,000 has been awarded to Thank You For Coming, a collaborative restaurant project based in Los Angeles, California. This project was chosen from among nearly 800 applicants from around the world who have applied for grants from Awesome Food, a chapter of the Awesome Foundation.
Known as the restaurant “where everyone can be a cook,” Thank You For Coming will operate in a collaborative and participatory manner in that the staff will rotate through a residency program that gives “citizens with varying interests, desires and skills, an opportunity to cook for the public, be a farmer, play with a space, and experiment accordingly.” This will allow participants to be actively engaged in the space—be it by cooking the meal themselves, foraging or harvesting their own ingredients, or even by simply eating with a new tool.
“We selected Thank You For Coming because it puts a creative and imaginative spin on dining—bringing an element of modern interactivity to the relatively passive restaurant experience,” said Awesome Food trustee Josh Simon, co-founder of Function Drinks and proud inhabitant of Los Angeles. “This concept will provide an intriguing level of transparency about how a restaurant operates, how much food costs, where it comes from, all the while fostering a real sense of community—a few of the many reasons we’re excited to help provide a boost to their Kickstarter campaign.”
Currently, Thank You For Coming is running a Kickstarter project that ends on April 21 to raise $10,000 for the restaurant. So far, nearly 140 backers have pledged over $7,000 towards their goal. Thank You For Coming will use their $1,000 grant from Awesome Food to help cover start-up costs associated with renovations, permits, materials and equipment. This may include plumbing and electrical upgrades, health department approvals, a convection oven, dishware, and lumber and supplies to build a 30’ counter space. The team is committed to keeping costs as low as possible by being their own labor force and using salvaged materials.
Located at 3416 Glendale Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA, the restaurant plans to open in June. The operating owners, a four member team consisting of Laura Noguera, Jonathan Robert, Jenn Su Taohan, and Cynthia Su Taopin, will oversee and facilitate the residency program and general operation of the restaurant.
Inspired in part by a trip to Greensboro, Alabama’s Pie Lab, the operating team aims to make Thank You For Coming into a highly interactive community. As the design currently stands, the restaurant will have an unpartitioned, open floor plan that gives it flexibility to adapt to an event space, while encouraging interaction. Ingredients will be grown in container gardens that will be adjacent and easily accessible to the kitchen, allowing people to pick and cook their own fresh ingredients. Eaters will sit on one side of a wide, shared counter, while cooks utilize the opposite side as a kitchen prep surface. A communal table will span the length of the room to encourage large, family style dinners. This open design will also lend itself to easily transform into a community space for meetings, classes, performances, and other events.
The Thank You For Coming operating owners are no strangers to creative and food-related projects. Between the members of the group, they have experience as teachers, scientists, builders, artists, organizers, master gardeners and food preservers. Past projects have included trading post The Cantry and the highly-successful Artist Bailout. They’ve also contributed to other food-related projects like Eat The Butt and Market Makeovers.
On Saturday, April 14, Thank You For Coming will host a work day event to build the milk crate farm that will support their kitchen. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, drop by between 9am and 3pm to help mix soil, line crates, and plant vegetables. There will be free food and refreshments for all volunteers! For more details or to RSVP, see their facebook event page.
Photo credits: Jonathan Robert, Autumn Rooney, and Jenn Su.