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An excerpt from
Kill the Restaurant: A Voyeurs Guide to the Culinary Underground

By Michael Hebberoy ’99

We all love restaurants—the glamour, the high ceilings and soft music. But for some reason a great number of folks have decided to take a different path to feed people and take their money.

They don’t have health permits or fire department approval, they don’t have sought-after corner locations, they don’t rely on PR firms or foot traffic. This growing cadre of gastronomes sets their tables in forgotten warehouses, on great rocky promontories, in cramped apartments, in suburban garages; they cook and they charge and their stories and their food make for one amazing unwinding story.

Take a few long steps back from the world of food and dining in America, and you quickly realize that one model, one template, has overwhelmed and co-opted the entire business and craft of making food and selling it—the conventional restaurant. And really, the basic exchange is so simple, it is high time that new and more personal economies were formed around food and money. It seems at its core that this movement is a response to the dearth of expression surrounding conviviality.

[There are] parallels in the other humanities: the seismic shift that unsettled the music industry when punk rock and its more commercialized sister, indie rock, broke through the bedrock and forever changed how we listen to, buy, sell, and experience music. The world of publishing is still in a post-war state of shock regarding independently produced ’zines and d.i.y. platforms that create content with a velocity the pawn dealers on Madison Avenue will never match. The outgrowth of the “poor theatre” of Grotowski, Artaud’s “theatre of cruelty,” the fluxus movement, Debord and the Situationists; all have dug deeply away from the conventions in their respective crafts and sparked vast changes in the world of art and theatre. It is my hope that the world of dining is finally getting its much-needed underbelly—a place to explore, fail, invent, and define one’s practice.

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