Conflict Kitchen Closes, Re-opens Amidst Death Threats
For students pursuing cooking school online who intend on opening a restaurant following their graduation, few things can be as valuable as a truly original idea. Finding a way to serve food in a niche that isn’t yet filled in your area can prove absolutely invaluable when it comes to building a customer base and establishing yourself as a market leader. Still, having a formidably cool concept can also come with its fair share of problems. For one Pittsburgh restaurant, named Conflict Kitchen, operating under a very unique concept recently earned them death threats from disgruntled residents.
Conflict Kitchen, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is the creation of Jon Rubin, an artist and faculty member at the local, prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. Rubin co-founded the restaurant in 2010 with Dawn Weleski with the idea that the two of them could use global cuisine as a way to increase knowledge of U.S. military involvement. Since then, Conflict Kitchen has only served food that originates in countries that the U.S. is currently in conflict with.
Regrettably, spreading awareness about military conflict does not always bring the best publicity. Haaretz has reported that the restaurant typically changes its menu every few months in order to focus on a new region and try new cuisines. Recently, Conflict Kitchen decided to showcase Palestinian food in order to draw attention to the vast amount of turmoil in the region and the U.S.’ involvement there. They served such dishes as maftoul, a sort of Palestinian couscous popular in the Middle East, packaging the dishes in wrappers with labels offering information about the state of the region. Someone was apparently angered by the restaurant’s actions though, as the Pittsburgh Police Department received a letter detailing death threats against the restaurant’s proprietors. Shortly thereafter, Rubin announced the closing of the restaurant until ‘the credibility of the letter’ could be verified.
While the details surrounding the police investigation into the letter are somewhat sketchy, it has been confirmed by multiple news outlets that the establishment will reopen on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. From that point onward, they intend to maintain normal business hours of 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. During the period that the restaurant was closed, there were several protests supporting the establishment that featured hundreds of students and local residents standing in solidarity.