Friday, June 4, 2010

Conflict Kitchen Serves Up Discussion

A new business dreamed up by the same person that created the Waffle Shop--a restaurant in Shadyside/East Liberty that pairs waffles with video interaction--is using "conflict" countries as his theme to for a new fast food stop. The Conflict Kitchen, which serves out of a store front attached to the Waffle Shop, has only one menu item--a Kubideh wrap, which is accompanied by a back story on Iranian culture, food and long-standing political turmoil. The shop is a collaborative effort between Carnegie Mellon professor and artist Jon Rubin, John Pena and Dawn Weleski, who created it based on two bad business models: sell food that is unfamiliar to customers and make it an ever-changing theme. In the fall the shop will probably turn its focus to Afghanistan and Rubin says they're still mulling over another country for the third phase, perhaps Venezuela or North Korea. The Sprout Fund has financed the Kitchen for a year, but Rubin says it could continue depending on how the first round turns out. Rubin says as the shop has grown in popularity it has sparked the kind of reaction they'd hoped for: lots of free flowing discussion and inquiry about the culture. He says they've also seen an outpouring from Pittsburgh's Persian community. The Kitchen also offers programming, including a shared Skype dinner with people in Tehran this Saturday, movie screenings and informational wrappers. The Conflict Kitchen is located at the corner of South Highland Avenue and Baum Boulevard.

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