Winter Park chef eyes trendy pop-up in Sanford

UPDATE 4:07 p.m. 4-26-16: I just spoke with chef Nat. The “pop-up” will be substantially longer – one (1) month with the possibility of going permanent. I’ll post another story soon

Brown paper on the windows at 125 W 1st St. in downtown Sanford blocks the view of what appears to be the makings a trendy food event.

On Facebook and Instagram, a business named The Tennessee Truffle is posting intriguing photos that promise “popup coming soon!”

A golden, flaky biscuit posted on Instagram by The Tennessee Truffle. Above, a picture of chef Nat Russell, also posted on Instagram.
The sites are linked to Nat Russell, who since 2012 has been the executive chef at Café de France Restaurant, a Winter Park institution. A 2006 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Russell also has worked at The Boathouse and Luma on Park, both in Winter Park.

So what is a pop-up? Just one of the fastest growing trends in the food industry according to the online ticketing platform Eventbrite.

Pop-up restaurants are temporary eateries that open for a few nights, or sometimes just a single night. The concept allows chefs to try new concepts or menu items without the financial risk of establishing a permanent restaurant.

For guests, pop-up restaurants offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience – unusual location, personal interaction with the chef or unique menu/theme – with a dash of in-the-know exclusivity.

Social media is the main avenue for announcing the opening of a pop-up, so if your social network doesn’t include the cool kids, you might not know until after the pop-up is closed.

Eventbrite calculates the number of  pop-up restaurant events grew 82% in recent years.

That’s all the details I have for now. I’ve got calls into chef Nat Russell, as well as the building landlord. When I find out more, I’ll pass along the 411.

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