The restaurant that is always changing

February 16, 2011 11:59:19 AM PST
What Happens When is a temporary restaurant that transforms every 30 days for 9 months.Wooden structures, lamps created with slips of recipes, architectural plans mapped on to the walls, the floor, the ceiling.

"There are a lot of creative solutions for not a lot of money," Emilie Baltz said.

Baltz couldn't spend a lot of money on the design because in 30 days, the design will change. So will the music and the food.

You see "What Happens When" is the merging of a fluid performance space and restaurant.

"It's very exciting if you're a creative person, but we're at the bottom of the mountain. A long way to go," Baltz said.

That's because drastic changes happen every month for 9 months. Call it constant flux. Elle Kunnos de Voss was the actual designer of the interior.

This month the cuisine leans Nordic, but each new menu will be limited to a handful of offerings.

"If you've got a list of 12 items, put your focus on them," chef John Fraser said.

It's a far different venture for Fraser than his Michelin-starred Dovetail on the Upper West Side, where diners know what to expect.

At What Happens When, diners can't know what to expect. But they're invited to collaborate in the process by offering design suggestions and even donations. It's a community effort that adds a little more pressure to what's already a pressured environment.

One thing is certain. Between now and when the short lease ends, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the same place differently.

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