Vegan Popup Pink Flamingo Aims to be Community Hub
When Cam Williams and his friends started the Pink Flamingo vegan popup, they were mostly looking for a community, “an environment where people feel safe together and can talk and feel supported,” Williams said. The membership-based popup restaurant started in December, allowing diners to choose between individual and seasonal passes. As their membership grows, the group is looking to eventually open a permanent location by this fall.
Williams was first inspired to start Pink Flamingo when, after stepping away from the bar scene, he found he’d lost a lot of the community he’d become a part of. Since the popup’s start, he’s seen a multitude of people from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and ages join the club.
“People that are newly retired or people that are coming out of school, or just anybody looking for community. We find a lot of demographics fit into that category, a lot of people from different walks of life, different sources of income,” Williams says. “There’s the couple that just wants to meet new people who are semi-new to Columbus. There are five to six members that are single and retired and just want to meet new people, there are recently divorced people, younger working professionals that want to find a space that feels supportive to meet people…”
Since their first event at Endeavor Brewing on December 7, 2017, Pink Flamingo has appeared at Art Outside the Lines and Long Street Studios, and their next popup will be at Two Dollar Radio on Parsons, on Sunday, March 25.
The popups are both local and educational in nature, as Pink Flamingo utilizes produce from the Ohio producer Yellowbird Food Shed and shows patrons how to make full, nutritious meals using only fruits and vegetables.
“We’re educating people on how easy and delicious cooking with plants can be,” says Pink Flamingo chef Anna Kruse. “A lot of people, when they come through the line, ask questions, ask for recipes. They come away having learned how to cook something new.”
The goal for Williams and Kruse is to have a dedicated space where they can host events multiple times each week, compared to the biweekly events they’ve been confined to. Whether that means setting up permanently at Art Outside the Lines, or finding a residential spot, “we both share the idea that this is something we want personally in our lives, to be able to access a restaurant that’s open every night.”
They’re dabbling in charity work for their popups as well and will soon allow diners to buy memberships for others possibly suffering from food insecurity, or lack of access to healthy food. One of their events, a men’s clothing swap, was set up at Land-Grant and involved a partnership with Pursuit. For $5, people brought several items of clothing to trade, and the proceeds benefitted the Columbus Urban League’s program, My Brother’s Closet.
Williams says the restaurant is completely open with its recipes, handing them out freely to anyone who might be curious. He hopes that as Pink Flamingo takes off, other entrepreneurs will be interested in duplicating the business model.
“We’ve had a lot of ideas about what the future looks,” Williams says. “It would be really great if a membership to the Pink Flamingo would be something that could spread to multiple locations. So, if you’re trying to get food when you’re driving down the freeway, and ‘Oh, they have a Pink Flamingo at this exit. I’m a member.’ They know they’re going to come in and receive the same warmth that they receive at Art Outside the Lines.”
A seasonal membership for Pink Flamingo is $60, and that includes eight dinners. If an individual dinner is preferred, the cost is $15.
For more information, visit their Facebook page.