(I wanted to do this as a MetaFilter post, but since the subjects are friends of mine, that is verboten. If you think it’s interesting and have a MeFi account, please post it there!)
A while back my friends James and Rachel, along with some of their friends, were looking for a place to eat in Holyoke. Not satisfied with the available options, they decided to create their own restaurant. This was born Bring Your Own Restaurant (BYOR).
This isn’t a restaurant as you usually think of one. The restaurant is assembled by the patrons, all bringing their own dishes and silverware (disposable items are actually frowned on, as the desire is not to produce extra trash) and food. Tables and chairs are set up in abandoned places in the city, and anyone is welcome to attend.
This isn’t just a potluck or tailgate. Holyoke is seen as a dead and dangerous city with no present and less future. That these events take place outdoors, in public spaces, open to all, declares that the community is alive and welcoming.
It’s a great idea and I am embarrassed and disappointed that I haven’t attended yet, but I will certainly do so next season.