Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NPR Testing "National Public Restaurants" in Columbia

Demonstrating that an economic downturn is also a breeding ground for new ideas, National Public Radio is considering opening a new chain called National Public Restaurants. The prototype will be right here in Columbia, Maryland.

An inside source tipped me off that NPR is negotiating with Home Depot to take over the empty Expo Design Center in Columbia and plans to convert it into a "thinking person's theme park of food." The 100,000 square foot space would house up to a dozen separate restaurants and food shops based on public radio's most popular programs. Some of the restaurants under consideration include:
  • Morning Edition - an early morning lounge and drive-thru serving lattes, bagels and granola-based products
  • All Things Considered - the flagship dinner destination offering a little bit of everything, in small, digestible portions
  • World Cafe - a combination international eatery and performance space
  • Fresh Air - an organic bistro and oxygen bar
NPR is also in discussions with other public radio stalwarts American Public Radio and Public Radio International to include several of their leading programs in the restaurant theme. Garrison Keillor's Chatterbox Cafe would serve Lutheran comfort food, while This American Lunch will focus on long, leisurely midday repasts made with bitterly ironic root vegetables.

In an innovative move, National Public Restaurant menus will not have prices. Instead, diners will be asked to contribute what they believe each meal is worth to them. Annual dining subscriptions and corporate sponsorships will be available. Those who can't make a contribution at the moment will be asked to at least help with the dishes.


John G. Boyle said...

Love it!

(what's today's date again?)

Anonymous said...

This is a joke, right?

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