Food News

Dallas Needs a Pop-Up Pestaurant

Did you make it to El Come Taco for the tacos de chapulines? Owner Luis Vilallva got a batch of grasshoppers in from Mexico and turned them into delicious tacos. While I was there, a number of customers were also enjoying the delicacy. I saw a good bit of chatter about the tacos on Twitter and Facebook as well, but whether or not there is enough demand to keep them on the menu remains to be seen.

Similar tacos have been on the menu for years at Oyamel, a Washington D.C. restaurant owned by José Andres. And now the nation's capital has shown additional acceptance of the consumption of insects with a new pop-up restaurant devoted to our six-legged friends.

Ehrlich Pest Control, a company based in Reading, Pennslyvania, hosted a "pestaurant" dining event on the patio of the Occidental, according to NPR. Normally the scene of power lunches, lobster rolls and so many martinis, the fine dining spot temporarily became a tourist attraction, drawing customers with curiosities for grasshopper burgers, roasted crickets and Mexican spiced meal worms.

The Occidental chef took entomological cooking past your typical comal-toasted crickets to include gastronomic ingredients like duck fat, and apparently attendees were pleasantly surprised about how the pests tasted. It makes you wonder if a restaurant that permanently features such dishes could be successful. It's starting to happen in San Francisco, where bug dishes are gaining a considerable footing at multiple restaurants.

Could a similar out come be possible here in Dallas? I'm betting no, but a well-placed and wisely marketed pop-up could do well enough. Who's with me?

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz