Monday, August 18, 2014

Restaurant Day in Finland

So you have a great idea on a food dish?  You always wanted to share your special recipe with others but never had your chance?  Well, you can in Finland, because Restaurant Day, which takes place approx. 3 x per year means that you can set up and advertise your "restaurant" and you don't need a license to do it.  The awesome concept of Restaurant Day is sweeping across Finland and other countries in rapid pace.  "Restaurant Day is a worldwide food carnival when anyone can set up a restaurant, café or a bar for a day. It can happen anywhere: at your home, at the office, on a street corner, in your garden or inner courtyard, at a park, or on the beach – only your imagination is the limit". - 

My wife and daughter always wanted to try to sell their own cupcakes, so they finally decided to make a batch of 100 for the final Restaurant Day of summer 2014. The menu for their cupcake stand in Espoo was 1) vanilla and lemon, 2) chocolate hazelnut, and 3) raspberry.  The cupcakes turned out very well and were purchased steadily during the few hours the stand was open.  To our surprise, even on a slower Sunday afternoon they sold 100 cupcakes in just 2.5 hours time, exceeding our expectations.  My son and I journeyed over to Helsinki for part of the day.  We went to one of the parks in downtown Helsinki where we saw at least 50 pop-up restaurants.  Countries from all over the world were represented in Helsinki.  There were treats from Turkey, falafels from the Middle East, bratwursts from Germany, tapas from Spain, burritos from Mexico, chorizo sausage from Argentina, Cuban food, ribs, sushi from Japan as well as many Finnish dishes and options. You name it, you could find it.  My son and I only covered a park which is just one city block in size, but that was plenty for us to choose from. The Restaurant Day map showed hundreds of pop-up restaurants all over Helsinki, so we barely scratched the surface.  This really cool concept is perfect for new entrepreneurs or folks just trying to have a bit of fun selling what they love to make.  The great thing is that you don't need a permit and can set-up shop just about anywhere you want during the day - even in shopping centers and other commercial (but public) areas.  I am excited that this Finnish invention started and is spreading over to other countries.  However, I would be pretty surprised to see it enter the United States, which has much stricter laws about who can sell what and where.  This grassroots organization is not for profit and definitely is giving back to the community in great ways.  I really hope that this amazing concept continues to grow and continues to encourage others to participate.  If you live in Finland or another country that participates, I definitely recommend that you visit during the next Restaurant Day.  For more information check:


  1. Isn't it great? And no surprises those cupcakes sold fast - they do look amazing! Next Restaurant Day is up in November, maybe then we will venture out, too. :)

  2. Wow, this is something I was browsing the net since morning for my upcoming trip to Vilnius. The information is without any doubt, fruitful, and I will definitely give a try for sure. Plus, I also request other readers to give a thought on this blog if they are planning for a Europe trip in the near future.

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