Guerilla dining totally hits the spot in New Cross

A temporary ‘chop up’ burger bar has opened on an unused floor above the Goldsmiths Tavern, and is already attracting hundreds of visitors every night.

#MEATEASY is part of a new trend in guerilla dining, where mobile food traders take over empty premises on a temporary basis before moving on elsewhere. The man behind this new culinary phenomenon, Yanni Papoutis, brought his concept to New Cross in mid-January as an act of necessity following the theft of his mobile van, ‘The Meat Wagon’, in early December.

Throughout 2010 ‘The Meat Wagon’ had crisscrossed London, bringing its burgers to legions of fans in pubs and at events, and sparking widespread press coverage. But the tragic loss of the van has now been turned into new opportunity, and the inviting smells emanating from New Cross Road are bringing in the punters…

ELL arrived at opening time on Saturday evening to find the ‘restaurant’ full to overflowing, with many having joined the queue outside at 4.00pm, some two hours before the doors were opened. Things were so busy that I didn’t even get to try a burger.

But the diners seemed delighted, exhibiting an almost evangelical enthusiasm for the quality of their eating experience. Jessica and John had come all the way from Highbury to munch on ‘Dead Hippie’ burgers with sumptuous onion rings, and happily confessed to being “totally fanatical fans.” Jessica added: “We have followed ‘The Meat Wagon’ across London and it’s always worth the trip. Over the months, we’ve introduced over 20 of our friends to it and they love it too. These burgers are the best, the ingredients are so carefully chosen and the detail in the preparation is just incredible.”

Speaking to Yanni is altogether more complicated as he rushes from kitchen to table and back again, without once pausing for breath. “What a fantastic reception in Lewisham!” he shouts above the noise generated by his burger disciples.

“I love good food and travel. Much of my inspiration comes from studying road food in the United States.”

Getting carried away with the ambiance, I ask whether he plans to expand his idea commercially. He replies: “Watch this space!” before disappearing from view…

A bucket has been hung up by the exit asking for donations to help purchase a new mobile van. Looking at all the contented faces, it shouldn’t be too long before Yanni Papoutis gets a new set of wheels and takes to the road once again…

One Response

  1. diner February 9, 2011

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