Just last week I was walking around Trinity Groves when I passed Kitchen LTO. Blythe Beck was still chef, which was odd because the tenure of any chef at the restaurant was supposed to be limited to just four months, which we were well past. Limited Time Offer -- that was the whole point. Or was it?
Beck stayed on after her first stint, after a Facebook campaign was set up in support of her term. The sultry chef needed 1,000 "likes" to earn an extended stay according to LTO's owners. She has more than 4,600 followers. That's like asking chef Brian Luscher to grill a hot dog.
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So the campaign worked, and Beck got more time at
LTO ETO. I started to wonder if she would stay permanently. Swapping chefs and reworking dining rooms had to get expensive, and restaurant margins are already tough. But news of the next contest was released earlier this week. The Kitchen Offer is Limited again, although with some new changes to the rules.
The next chef will have six months to wow Trinity Groves diners with whatever fare they use to win over the judges. Applications are due April 10, and the voting will take place over the next month. By the start of June, Kitchen LTO will have realized its fifth incarnation, and Blythe Beck will have to find something new to do.
I keep waiting for a young cook to turn the pop-up on its head -- to come up with something so crazy it reinvigorates the model. What about Kitchen LTO The B-Sides: a mix of previous chefs that have participated that work together to devise a super menu? Or how about an ethnic restaurant that really reaches past the Dallas palate and gets people talking?
The beauty of the model is that it's non-committal. Just as customers get bored with one concept, the kitchen can move on to another. But so far, each of the previous pop-ups has produced subtle spins on menus Dallas has already seen. Kitchen LTO has been less of a pop, and more of a puh.