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What's up with the pop-up kitchen? How and why the Brodhead Center eatery changes

Ever wonder where Burger Shack came from or what happened to The Big Bowl?

The Chef's Kitchen restaurant space—located on the second floor of the Brodhead Center—features pop-up restaurants that stay for varying periods of time. Big Bowl was a Mediterranean-style eatery occupying the area until Burger Shack took the reins starting Oct. 10.

An October post in the Fix My Campus Facebook group, which received nearly 150 reactions, complained about the closure of The Big Bowl, a popular Mediterranean pop-up restaurant in Chef’s Kitchen offering vegan and vegetarian-friendly food options for students at Duke.

Grayson Crabtree, training and customer service coordinator for Duke Dining, explained that student feedback is a factor in choosing pop-up restaurants for the Chef's Kitchen space.

“Some of our more popular menus are repeated in the rotation offerings," she wrote in an email. "We enjoy hearing requests for pop-up menu options and value any feedback from the Duke community."

Junior Kerry Castor is one student who was upset by the change at the pop-up restaurant. She told The Chronicle that The Big Bowl was valuable because its vegetarian options were different from those offered elsewhere in the Brodhead Center.

“I understand the idea of a pop-up bar being something that changes, and that’s pretty cool that we have that, but I don’t know if we needed another burger place,” she said. 

So how do pop-up restaurants work at Duke? Is The Big Bowl gone for good?

On the second floor of the Brodhead Center, Crabtree wrote, the Chef’s Kitchen offers a pop-up restaurant as a lunchtime option for students. The area also features opportunities for students to cook for free in a demo kitchen at dinnertime and allows students to sign up to take cooking classes from famous and local guest chefs, according to its website.

She wrote the pop-up restaurants are an especially popular food option on campus.

“The Brodhead Center vendor that operates this venue has offered many well-received types of cuisine over the past several years,” Crabtree wrote.

Vendors for the pop-up restaurant are chosen by members of Duke Dining based on the current tastes of Duke students and current trends as a whole, she wrote. The food offered by these vendors varies, but Duke Dining aims to include as many diverse options as possible for the students, the statement explained.

Typically, Crabtree wrote, pop-up restaurants are only permitted to stay for a period of four to six weeks, a time period that is determined by the vendor and Duke Dining prior to opening.

However, some of these pop-up restaurants can be included again in the rotation of venues offered by the Chef’s Kitchen. 

One such pop-up restaurant made Latin American cuisine, and the restaurant was so popular that Duke Dining established a new venue for it in Brodhead Center, known today as Sazón.


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