Meet The College Student That Started A Big Restaurant In His Hostel Room

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Some college students’ chef-d’oeuvre of the dorm kitchen is making mac and cheese and adding some garnish, but Columbia University senior, Jonah Reider -dubbed the “next Martha Stewart” – has 100s on his waiting list of people who eat his cuisine for $10-$20 a plate. Reider’s restaurant called Pith is not located in an exclusive downtown Soda Sopa (watch Southpark), but rather right in his dorm room… and it’s booked out all the way through November!

Jonah started cooking as a hobby, but soon his food got popular, and his dorm room started to get over booked by non-collegiate New Yorkers. Since its opening two weeks ago, Pith has served braised celery root soup with toasted almonds and pumpernickel crisps; seared lamb with smoked paprika, charred eggplant, and smoked salt; and rainbow trout with fennel gremolata, black currant, and chanterelle rice, among other dishes.

“Like two weeks ago, I created an online sign-up for people to come by and hang out and eat. It was somewhat popular, mostly among my friends, and friends of friends. And then this article was written in the Columbia Spectator, and it totally exploded. That caused the New York Post to write this absurd story about it, and then Gothamist.” Reider says. “I was intrigued by the possibility of having anyone come over for a meal like this. Pith is very much intended to not be a restaurant. It’s more of an opportunity for people to get together, hang out, and have this elongated meal where you can try new foods and listen to music.”

While the dinners can take a while to prepare, Reider said that being a senior with a smaller workload has worked in his favor. But to Reider, the long hours behind the pop-up restaurant are worth it—he gets to experiment with cooking and simultaneously meet students he would have never met before. He sits down with all his visitors after cooking. The Pith dining experience, Reider said, is meant to be a social one. He encourages students to sign up in groups of groups of three or four, although groups of two are allowed.

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