The Accidental Restaurateur

how one woman found herself owning a restaurant without really wanting to

How to build a restaurant without a kitchen

For two and a half years the restaurant operated without a kitchen. I bet you’re wondering how the heck that can be done.


Here is the recipe:

1 impatient chef

1 beleaguered bank account

2 camping stoves

1 Panini press

mix together for 8 months until you run out of money

add furniture

open the restaurant without building a kitchen


The café is open and it’s an immediate hit. Great. No one realizes there is no kitchen.


Eventually it becomes so popular that the ‘kitchen’ can’t keep up. Food takes an hour to get served. Customers leave complaining about slow service. Still no one realizes there is no ‘kitchen.’

People  make suggestions about menu items. French fries and mini pizzas are popular ideas. Sevan doesn’t tell them about the lack of a kitchen and how there is no oven let alone a fryer. It’s not a secret. It’s a small enough restaurant with an open food prep place where everything is visible if someone bothered to look over the shoulder high display case. No one bothers to do that or to notice that there isn’t a hood – a standard feature of any restaurant.


People still come. After two years the struggle starts to get exhausting. The potential of a visit by the health department is a constant source of stress.


I’ve now been helping behind the scenes for about a year. This is not a full time job for me. It’s a hobby. I’m supportive. I empty my savings account to pay for a kitchen and I do it gladly.


Finally the tarp goes up on half of the kitchen while we continue business as usual in the other half of the kitchen – all 75 square feet of it. People notice the tarp and ask and finally discover that they have been eating in a restaurant without a kitchen for two and a half years.

tamark • August 6, 2016

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