Pop Up Patio on Brant opens - 21 tables where two cars normally park - interesting menu and a fun place.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 18, 2015


It used to be that Lakeshore Road was the place to be if you wanted to enjoy an outdoor patio.

Joe Dogs was further up Brant Street and there were a few places that had a couple of tables – but there was nothing that had any style or pizzaz.

Test kitchden from the road

The Test Kitchen had to pay full freight for the two parking space the Pop Up Patio took up. 21 tables in that space – it’s hoot and a fun place to be.

Alex Mickalow opened his Test Kitchen on Brant Street and offered a lunch that included a glass of beer or wine for $10 – the place became THE place to be seen.

There was a buzz to the place with a menu that was different for this city. Finally something that said one can do better than just a burger and beer.

Alex decided he could ratchet his operation up a notch and talked to people at city hall to see what they thought of what were being called Pop Up Patios.

Test kitchen - Pop Up  from the store side

It’s not the Brant Street you are used to seeing – expect to see servers scooting back and forth across the street.

It took a lot of talking – and city hall wasn’t exactly reasonable with the deal the Test Kitchen got but it did get approved much to the delight of the Burlington Downtown Business Association and Jodie Wellings, Special Business Area Coordinator responsible for making the Downtown Core Commitment real.

She unfortunately wasn’t in town for the opening.

The patio is now constructed and open – there are 21 tables in the space that used to hold two parked cars – tight but friendly.

Test kitchen - inside 21 tables

The Test Kitchen Pop Up Patio on Brant Street is open – and appears to work.

Your menu is on an iPad which allows for instant menu upgrades and is kind of cool to use. Staff is great – they are kept busy.

City Council took to the idea and hoped there would be more applications for this type of operation.  They seemed prepared to let Brant Street become one row of restaurant after restaurant – with room for other innovative commercial ideas.  The street could eventually become car free – with just bicycles and people strolling along.

Does it have to be Brant Street?  John Street has significant potential – the Organic Farmer’s market is now into its third year.

The Brant Street Test kitchen has proven that something upbeat, different and with some hip style to it will work. Mickalow knows he is on to something and is in the process of opening up a second Test Kitchen on Appleby Line.

Getting a table at Brant Street – make a reservation. (289) 245-1999

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7 comments to Pop Up Patio on Brant opens – 21 tables where two cars normally park – interesting menu and a fun place.

  • Susie

    That is exactly why I eat indoors at places like McDonalds, quick cheap and for the health benefits of not having to sit next to traffic on Brant Street with all the pollution, dust, noise, and the risk of buses running into tables. I also think that walking will be a problem with all those people sitting and eating on the street. And where are the washrooms? Will there be porta potties like at the ribfest. I also hope alcohol will not be served and the drunks take over the downtown streets because of this. Everybody knows what just happened in Waco Texas where people were shot outside a restaurant.

  • Yvonne

    it’s all great until someone gets hurt i.e Car plows through the patio thinking they have more of the road . Secondly just another reason why us North Burlington people stay away from Downtown due to no parking issues

  • Shannon Gillies

    These are exactly the kinds of ideas downtown Burlington needs more of, and they’re coming from the entrepreneurs themselves, not politicians. I think it’s great.

  • penny Hersh

    I think Test Kitchen is a wonderful restaurant. I frequent it very often. I will never sit on their patio, or should I say parking space. They have done a wonderful job and it looks really nice. After having lunch inside today I heard people who were passing by as we were leaving say” why would anyone want to sit in the middle of the road, where a car or bus could easily swerve into them”. I have to agree. It also didn’t help that a bus went by spewing out its exhaust not to mention the noise.

    I have to question if this patio will actually attract more clientele. Today, the patio was somewhat full, however, the restaurant which is usually busy was not. It will also be interesting to see how they will be able to service the patio. There is one door and a very small entry into the restaurant where patrons stand and wait to be seated. This same entry is where servers for the patio will now have to pass through ( and the sidewalk where people are walking by) on their way to the kitchen and back.

    I certainly hope that no other restaurant will do this on Brant Street, not only does it impact an already tight parking situation it also makes it difficult for those walking.

  • tenni

    This is good news in a lot of respects. The owner of Test Kitchen not only serves delicious items from an ipad menu but he is innovative. Test Kitchen has a well thought out design of the interior and now hopefully the exterior.

    I hope that it goes well.

    • Lucy

      I meant no disrespect to Test Kitchen and its owner. My comment is referring to any and all outdoor patios that are next to high traffic areas. People sit happily in these places enjoying refreshments and meals without a thought to the pollution surrounding them. However, there are attacks on and hostility towards smokers with the resulting laws restricting smoking just about everywhere nowadays. I am suggesting that outdoor patios should not be allowed in the areas where vehicle exhaust fumes are at dangerous levels. Wise people would avoid them in my opinion to avoid damaging their health. Did you have a look at the link I attached in my comment?

  • Lucy

    I can’t believe this. A society increasingly hostile to cigarette smokers and second hand smoke even on outdoor patios, eagerly gathers on outdoor patios that are adjacent to heavily travelled streets where cars pass constantly spewing their dangerous pollutants that impact health negatively in many ways. The above article helps to show how moronic this is. People easily ignore breathing in exhaust fumes from the passing cars and think this is so much better than having smokers around them. How ridiculous! These outdoor patios in our busy cities should be banned totally if everybody is so concerned about their health. Outdoor patios belong in small towns and villages where traffic is minimal and the dangers to health from vehicle exhaust is less of a hazard. Aren’t people foolish. Health problems for people living close to heavy traffic areas has been shown through countless studies. I shake my head in disbelief! How can these parking spot patios truly be considered a good idea?