October 26, 2010

Why BYOR Will Change The Way We Eat.

Bring Your Own Restaurant?  What the Hell?

A fad or the future?

Inspired by a story on NPR by Jill Kaufman.

“On a recent evening, an abandoned gas station with a curb blocked by cement barriers is the meeting point for a group of people who appear to be pulling chairs and tables from the trunks of their cars. It’s almost dark. Some boxes are set on the sidewalk; linens and dishes and food are pulled out; and what moments ago was an eyesore has been transformed into a popular place to eat. It’s called BYOR. That stands for “bring your own restaurant”… It’s free to those who share.”

I just had to click, I tried to fathom what bring your own restaurant could possibly mean.  After reading I realized it might just be the revolution that people who love the restaurant feel without all the downsides to the modern experience.

BYOR is a movement that was started in Holyoke, Massachusetts and involves a pot luck style dinner that is free as long as you bring food.  It’s hosted every other week and the location is found using Facebook.  It’s pretty simple but it seems like this might just be the start of a bigger trend.

This is a game changer ladies and gentlemen, for several reasons:

  1. Sense of Community: “Holyoke has a reputation for being dangerous. But BYOR, by being so public, might be changing that image… Descendants of families who came here generations ago from Ireland are eating alongside Latinos, African-Americans and Asians.”  In this short time, it has changed a community in a tangible way.  Imagine if this movement has time to flourish.
  2. Ensure the quality of your food: How many times have you bit into your chicken or hamburger, and wondered of it’s quality, or the treatment of the meat beforehand.  Have you wondered how far this broccoli traveled to be a compliment on your plate?  This can ensure that you are using ingredients that meet your standards of quality but also your ethics.
  3. Ensure proper hygiene: Again, how many times have you glanced into the kitchen of the restaurant that you are eating and wondered if the restaurant would pass the grade? It is a serious issue, and food poisoning can knock a person out for days.  This would allow you to keep high standards for hygiene and cleanliness that cannot be ensured by anyone but yourself.
  4. Mingle with New People: All the benefits of cooking at home often come with a cost, you often lack the company that would be part of a more traditional dining experience.  I understand you usually sit at a table but it is more or less the buzzing atmosphere of a good restaurant that really sets the tone for a quality experience. Now you can have the best of both worlds, as seen in Holyoke, people off all races and religions sitting side by side and sharing the buzz.
  5. Cost Savings: Even cooking a larger amount of food might lower the cost, it will still beat eating out on a constant basis.  If you do this every other week and spend a little less than what you would normal spend at a restaurant, including tip and drinks.
  6. Try New Foods: You can’t beat being able to try an assortment of new foods in a buzzing atmosphere for a lower cost than a traditional dining experience.  Count me in, as I was a bit sheltered in my dining options as a young’n it has been an awesome experience living in Boulder and being exposed to Japanese and Ethopian foods.  It has expanded my respect and admiration for other cultures and has been a great way to learn.

In Holyoke, they are reviving what was a dilapidated area that has certainly see better days.   They are doing it and building  a sense of community.

So I challenge residents all over to keep this movement going and help make a difference in your life and community.

Read the full story. (Photo Courtesy Peter Palombella)

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