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Fifth Restaurant Day set to break records

Some 610 pop-up restaurants spread across 17 different countries will be open for business this weekend. In Finland, restaurants will spring up in more than 70 towns, cities and villages.

Ravintolapäivän logo.
Image: Tuomas Tofferi

Restaurant Day has quickly internationalised since it was established in May 2012. This year more than 600 temporary restaurants will open for business across 17 countries. The number of eateries has more than doubled in a year.

The idea is for individuals to establish their own temporary restaurants, cafes or bars for one day only. This year Helsinki will see the most, with 287 restaurateurs intending to serve customers in the capital on Saturday.

The youngest participants are from the Helsinki commuter town of Tuusula, where Iris and Helmi Vesalainen, 3 and 5-years-old respectively, are to open a juice bar.

Countries that will experience Restaurant Day for the first time include the USA, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Belgium. There have already been pop-up restaurants in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Iceland and Estonia.

Pop-up restaurants in Berlin and Prague

Berlin-based diners can sample gourmet burgers on a rooftop terrace, while people in Prague will get the chance to eat brunch in an art studio’s courtyard.

The concept has drawn attention across the globe, with CNN naming Restaurant Day as one of the world’s ’weirdest places to eat’.

’There’s an old Finnish proverb: “Show me a person who loves to cook and I’ll show you a restaurant waiting to happen,”’ wrote an imaginative Pam Grout on the CNNGo site.

’OK, so it’s not really a proverb, but it could be. Four times a year, Finland throws what they call “restaurant day.” Anybody who wants to can open a one-day, pop-up restaurant, inspections and permits be damned.’

You can find more information on Restaurant Day at the official website.

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