In the coming weeks, students will again be able to savor restaurant-quality dishes in residential colleges, with dishes ranging from peach melba to stuffed leek.
Starting from Friday, Y Pop-Up — a non-profit student-run food business — will be opening up three pop-up locations every Friday, Saturday and Sunday that will serve food in a restaurant-like setting.
This year, Y Pop-Up has expanded from only one location to three: House of York in the Davenport Dive, Ash and Honey in the Ezra Stiles Buttery and Ampersand in the Jonathan Edwards dining hall annex.
Each pop-up will set a specific theme for its food, serving style and ambience, co-founder of Y Pop-Up Lucas Sin ’15 said. The staff team for each pop-up restaurant was chosen at the beginning of the semester, and includes a chef, a business manager, several cooks and an “owner.” Sin said the “owner” is in charge of all non food-related matters, including interior design and general operations.
“We’re focusing on making Y Pop-Up into a legacy of sorts,” Sin said. “It’s important for us to make a difference in the food community.”
Sin said the group is in constant flux — beyond the menu and locations, the staff is refreshed every semester.
“Every year it’s about getting new people to try this out,” he said. “People do come back to work as waiters or front-of-house staff, though.”
House of York, which opens this Friday, focuses on the idea of “feast food,” Sin said. In other words, food that is “meant to be pushed around and shared.” Sin, who works at the pop-up as chef, said that every week, House of York’s staff team comes up with a 12-course dinner menu revolving around this theme.
Ash and Honey, which is slated to open on Saturday Oct. 11, is based on the idea of a gastropub — a pub setting with high-quality food.
Owner Michael Park ’17 said Ash and Honey made the Stiles buttery kitchen and minimal looking spaces around the buttery a fundamental part of their decor.
The food at Ash and Honey, business manager Angeline Wang ’16 said, is also intended to be reminiscent of childhood food, not just typical comfort such as grilled cheese or tomato soup.
“We’re trying to capture this kind of ethos where the food is something you remember your mom making, such as a specific ethnic dish.” Park said.
Park said that in order to realize this ethos, he is communicating with the Yale Farm and local beekeepers so that the pop-up can use sustainable ingredients and honey.
Ampersand, a pop-up café that will be open on Sundays, is Y Pop-Up’s third project of the semester. Its main concept is based on pairings of food and drinks, but the food served will also be paired with poetry, music and art. The team plans to have art hanging on the walls and groups performing music throughout the meals.
Y Pop-Up cofounder Kay Teo ’16 said that as it expands, the business plans to prioritize sustainability and waste-reduction. All the money that the pop-ups make goes back to buying quality ingredients, making the menu cheaper and purchasing new kitchen supplies, Sin said.
Teo said the group is also making an effort to maintain communication between projects.
“We want to market ourselves as a brand with three different entities, as a start-up group,” she said.
But House of York owner Monica Chen ‘15 said that more than a start-up, Y Pop-Up is about teamwork and sharing passions. Sin also said the projects led to camaraderie between team members.
“Everyone’s in a machine mood — people are clinking glass and talking loudly and every cook is in the zone and doing what they’re supposed to do as best they can,” he said. “And it feels like a well-oiled machine.”
Y Pop-Up was founded two years ago, and its first project was the Underground Noodle Collective.