2005_11_kottkevietnam.jpgWhen we were in Tokyo this past summer, we went out for yakitori in a number of crowded alleys. In Shinjuku, the spot was called "Piss Alley", and filled end-to-end with small grill restaurants, each consisting of a small bar with a grillman and one waitress serving businessmen plates of skewers and after-work beers. The atmosphere was great- filled with the smell of grilled beef and chicken, and lively with people shouting at each other. Talking to a friend, we asked why we don't have something like Piss Alley back here in NYC-- all you'd need is a restaurant space carved up into a number of different stalls, and then you'd have to find chefs to rent out each spot. Easy money!

Kottke is in Vietnam this week, and had a similar experience:

We had a couple of notable lunches in Saigon. The first was at Quan An Ngon. The owner of this establishment found the best street food vendors in Saigon, offered them a steady wage, and brought them all under one roof to form a restaurant[1]. When you arrive (and after waiting for 10 minutes or more at this busy place) and are shown to your table, you pass the various cooks preparing their street specialties. The waiter was super-quick in taking our order so we didn't get too good of a look at the menu, but we managed to have an excellent lunch.

[1] A great idea, BTW. I wonder if such a thing could work in NYC?

So budding restaurant entrepreneurs, here's a great idea-- please run with it! You could open a whole series of these-- yakitori, Vietnamese, Thai, etc etc.