At its grand opening in the Morse Buttery this past Saturday, Ash & Honey became the latest addition to Yale’s pop-up restaurant scene.
Y Pop-Up, an undergraduate umbrella organization that helps organize student-led eateries in residential colleges, spearheaded the new eatery — its third in the last month.
Earlier this fall, Y Pop-Up’s leadership auditioned potential chefs to join the Ash & Honey cooking team, and four were then selected to head up the new pop-up based on the idea of a gastropub — a pub setting with high-quality food. On Saturday night, Ash & Honey’s initial menu featured a range of dishes, including a honey cake dessert, a shaved poppy seed salad and a steak selection, among other choices. The meals include locally sourced, seasonal and fresh ingredients, according to the cooking staff.
“The menu is focused on cooking the food you missed,” Anna Lipin ’18, one of the gastropub’s business managers, said.
Ash & Honey drew a significant crowd during its grand opening. Approximately 40 students attended the eatery,and 10 parties were placed on the waitlist for the evening, according to Lipin. She added that reservations were filled within one hour of being posted on the gastropub’s Facebook page.
In response to the strong showing on opening night, she said that the team would offer a more streamlined and updated reservations system in the upcoming weeks. The gastropub also intends to add additional seating to the Saturday night set-up. Though Y Pop-Up cofounder Kay Teo ’16 and other members noted that the Morse buttery is smaller than other Y Pop-Up venues, a communal table for walk-ins will likely be added to the seating area.
Y Pop-Up cofounder Lucas Sin ’15 said that the buttery offers a unique vibe when compared with the settings of Y Pop-Up’s eateries in other residential colleges, lending itself to a more intimate experience than a space like the Davenport Dive.
“Personally, I find Ash & Honey’s gastropub environment to be unique in creating a chic, classy feel suitable for a Saturday night out with friends,” said Charles Wong ’18, a business manager at House of York, the eatery in Davenport. “Given the limitations on how extensively the space can be transformed for the night — due to the pop-up nature of the project — the lighting, table arrangement, selections of furniture and music play a big role in determining the environment.”
Wong added that the House of York in Davenport focuses on delivering a casual, family-style dining experience, while Ampersand in Jonathan Edwards seeks to provide a laid-back environment to chill out or study.
Ash & Honey Head Chef Michael Park ’17 said he is confident from Saturday night’s showing that Ash & Honey will continue to be a sought-after dinner destination throughout the rest of the semester.
“Once doors opened, everyone was totally immersed in the moment, which is a pretty miraculous thing to see,” Park said.
Lipin said that she believes Y Pop-Up overall has excelled in reaching a significant portion of the Yale community, and each of the eateries provides undergraduates with a different type of dining experience.
“Our ultimate goal is for even one customer to look back 10 years from now and think of Yale and remember one of our dishes,” Park said. “Taste is so subjective that its hard to design a menu just for the customer, but we make our choices in hopes that our food will leave that type of impression.”
While Y Pop-Up members do not need to have cooking experience, they often bring unique experiences and interests to the table. Park, for example, has worked in previous Y Pop-Ups and formally trailed during the summer at Per Se — one of the top-rated restaurants in New York City — and cooked at Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Y Pop-Up’s chefs work voluntarily and rotate out after each semester. Each pop-up is open once a week — House of York on Fridays, Ash & Honey on Saturdays and Ampersand on Sundays.
Ash & Honey will open again on Saturday, Nov. 1st, following fall break.