(Helsinki/Finland – 15 November 2012) The seventh international Restaurant Day will take place on November 17, 2012. Restaurant Day is a food carnival where everyone and anyone is encouraged to set up their own restaurant, café or bar for one day. It is an event created by ordinary people by doing something fun and creative, and sharing it with others. The event saw daylight only in May 2011, and is now taking place four times a year. Today it has grown to become hugely popular attracting enthusiastic amateur restaurateurs in more than hundred cities in dozens of countries to take part in. It looks like this time Restaurant Day is truly going global: Over 525 restaurants from 111 cities in 21 different countries have signed up already, and the number is growing every day. The last Restaurant Day in August drew together 782 food joints in 12 countries.
“Restaurant Day is something new and surprising,” comments Anni Sinnemäki, the chairwoman of the Helsinki City Cultural and Library Board. “It’s culture created by citizens for other citizens. It takes over the city and turns parks, street corners and living rooms into unique experiences, where food culture and citizens play main roles.”
Restaurants will be popping up at least in Mexico, USA, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Belgium, UK, Poland, Denmark, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Japan. People in Krakow and Poznań, Poland, will have several restaurants to choose from, while Kürbiskino, a cinema with an exclusive pumpkin menu is yet the only one in Vienna. Amsterdam’s various eateries will be catering everything from Soviet & American soul food to homemade pastries, while yet the only one day restaurant in Norway will be serving Slovenian delicacies in Trondheim. In Miami, a popup restaurant will be serving local & organic garden delights in a park, while in Bra, Italy, a mixture of Finnish and Thai style dishes will be available. In Berlin, various restaurants will be catering everything from gourmet raw food to an indoor brunch picnic, while in Okayama, Japan, a bakery and sandwich bar Aranjuez will be opening for one day offering freshly baked bread and sandwiches on a terrace with a view. A Mauritanian dinner will be set on the table in Wisconsin, while beetroot in five different ways will be served at Beet This in Budapest, Hungary.
The nippy weather of the North has not stopped the Finns from setting up restaurants outdoors: Restaurant Maradonan empanadat (The Empanadas of Maradona), located in Punavuori, Helsinki, will be serving empanadas, the hearty treats of Argentinian cuisine, straight from a kitchen window, already for the second time. Got Dogs? in Turku will be serving hot dogs with a twist in a park, cooked on the spot and served hot to beat the cold. Bonbon Voyage Candy Shop in Helsinki downtown will be serving a dozen of different, handmade, organic candies and treats including kale chips. My Goodness My Guinness in Kulosaari, Helsinki, will be offering a take away meal in the Scottish way with onion rings, beef and mash, and Guinness cake. Several restaurants are joining for a good cause. For instance Food for Social Impact will be serving a Saharan menu in Helsinki, donating all profits to development cooperation projects in the Saharawi Refugee Camps in Algeria.
Already over 390 restaurants in Finland have signed up and will be open on Saturday, and the number is still growing. Even the town with least inhabitants in Finland, Kaskinen, will be equipped with seven food joints. Everything from a brunch restaurant to a restaurant for dogs only will be popping up to serve the town’s 1350 people.
The first Restaurant Day in May, 2011, launched with 40 restaurants set up in about a dozen cities. In August, 2011, the number rocketed to 200 with a few restaurants outside of Finland also taking part. On the third Restaurant Day on the 19th of November 2011 over 300 restaurants opened in over 40 different towns. In February, 2012, roughly 300 restaurants were set up in over 50 cities in 12 different countries from Brazil to Iceland and Australia. On 5th Restaurant Day on May 19th, 2012, 711 restaurants opened in 19 different countries. On 6th Restaurant Day on August 19th, 2012, 782 restaurants served the people of 12 different countries. The final number of November, 2012, is yet to be seen but it is safe to say that another successful episode of Restaurant Day is ahead of us.
Restaurant Day is available on mobile as well. The Restaurant Day mobile application, developed at Restaurant Day Mobile Camp organized with the support of Futurice and Nebula, just was awarded as the best mobile service in Finland 2012, in the category of “Company excelling in mobile services utilization”. The awarded application was developed by a group of volunteering IT professionals, and thanks to this amazingly skilled and dedicated team, Restaurant Day mobile application can be downloaded and used for free in iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7.