Slated to open in the Financial District next spring, Restaurant Shelter is designed to give curious diners a fascinating glimpse of Urban Destitutional Dining in a sleek, earth-toned post-modern setting.
“We know that the anxiety and stress of poverty can really help to build an appetite and we imagine that homeless people, when they finally do get something to eat, must really enjoy the experience.” said owner Chef Harlan Krupotke.
Shelter is the newest member of a family of Reality Themed restaurants that attempt to “Fully immerse diners in the authentic urgency and passion of the homelessness experience!”.
At Shelter, Chef Krupotke and menu-architect Kimberly Kay Winneford have combined their respective talents to create a dining experience “that evokes the American homeless experience as seen through the eyes of Neo-Realist designer Arlo Fiske”.
Prior to opening, Winneford and Fiske spent two full weeks researching the menu with visits to disadvantaged neighborhoods in seaside communities around the globe. The result was a two-tiered tasting menu that artfully combines gritty Gourmet Survival Fare with classic American Institutional favorites.
“Our starters menu,” explained Winneford, “features the eclectic flavors that you might expect to find while digging through a public waste receptacle. Our main courses, on the other hand, highlight the seasonal culinary delights of limited emergency public assistance. “No customer leaves Shelter feeling hungry, that’s for sure. This is real poor-people’s food, not just rich food prepared poorly!”
Chef Krupotke, who is also part-owner of St. Helena’s popular Le Clochard, is no stranger to poverty-themed dining. His passion for cooking was sparked at a young age when his nanny Consuela allowed him to help her bring food to the table.
“It was transformative.” recalls the Chef. “It was the first time that I realized there was actual work involved in the preparation of food. From that point on I was hooked. In fact, I promised myself right then and there that someday I too would own a restaurant where, despite low wages and no right to collective bargaining, needy people could work with the same passionate intensity and commitment as the undocumented immigrant laborers who raised me.”