Asha Prihar

The Silliman Buttery transformed into Hogwarts Friday evening as Y Pop-Up — a student-run cooking organization — hosted a Harry Potter-themed dinner complete with music from the movie soundtrack, a Sorting Hat and a “magical” meal for diners.

Y Pop-Up serves a multi-course dinner every other week in the Silliman buttery and aims to cook creative cuisine for the Yale community that will make students think more deeply about the food they are eating. Friday’s dinner was a four-course meal that cost $18 a head for the 61 students who managed to claim a coveted reservation.

“Harry Potter was a theme that, as soon as someone on the team proposed it, we knew we were going to do it because there was such a great reaction both internally from YPop and from the greater community as well,” said Y Pop-Up President Noah Kopf ’21. “I was not at all surprised that we got so much interest in people coming to this one.”

Y Pop-Up is organized into a “back-of-house team,” which creates menus and prepares food, and a “front-of-house team” that handles nearly everything else, from interacting with guests to serving the food and decorating the space.

The courses, which were inspired by and named after Harry Potter, included “Tea Time,” “Polyjuice Potion,” “Forbidden Forest Pasta,” “Butterbeer Creme Brulee” and a “Golden Snitch Truffle” as the secret dessert course. Y Pop-Up team members said they focused on creating an immersive and memorable dining experience.

“I want diners to walk away feeling like they have eaten something that they’ll keep thinking about, that they’ll remember the food they ate and how they felt when they first saw a dish arrive at the table, when they took that first bite,” wrote Y Pop-Up member James Han ’23 in an email to the News. “Especially in an opening like Harry Potter, I wanted the diners to feel like they were really a part of the ‘Wizarding World,’ and I wanted the food to make them feel like they were immersed in that world.”

Han explained that being involved with Y Pop-Up has allowed him to pursue his love for cooking — something he enjoyed doing at home but feared he would not be able to continue at Yale. According to Han, Y Pop-Up provides him with a community of people with whom to share his passion for food, in terms of both his fellow team members and the students who attend openings to enjoy the food.

While the food on the menu is important, the Y Pop-Up front-of-house team also works hard to make the dining experience as special as possible, said front-of-house team member Sam Bezilla ’23. For the Harry Potter-themed event, the team made a special trip to Ikea and ordered new decorations online in order to transform the buttery into Hogwarts, even giving diners handcrafted, wax-sealed Hogwarts acceptance letters as they took their seats.

“The Harry Potter vibe and having good people and good food has made this night amazing,” said Drew Ward ’23, who ate at the event.

Y Pop-Up was founded in 2012.

Julia Bialek |

Julia Bialek currently serves as a public editor for the Yale Daily News. Previously, she covered the student policy & affairs beat as a reporter on the university desk. Originally from Chappaqua, New York, Julia is a junior in Saybrook College studying political science and history.