Conflict Kitchen announced through a Facebook post that they will be shutting their Schenley Plaza doors; their last day of operation is May 31. Conflict Kitchen opened in 2010 as a small takeout window located on South Highland Avenue in East Liberty. After their move to the heart of the city (2012) and the addition of some new found and much deserved fame Conflict Kitchen was serving anywhere from 100-300 people by 2013.
Their new found fame came thanks to their coverage from not just the American news but international press also. As well as their nomination for the 2015 International Award for Public Art by The Institute for Public Art in Hong Kong, and being featured on the cover of the September 2012 issue of American Journal of Public Health.
According to NPR Conflict Kitchen is “an experimental public art project—and the medium is the sandwich wrap.” Conflict Kitchen is owned and operated by Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski. Rubin was quoted saying that “Conflict Kitchen reformats the preexisting social relations of food and economic exchange to engage the general public in discussions about countries, cultures and people that they might know little about outside of the polarizing rhetoric of U.S. politics and the narrow lens of media headlines.” Conflict Kitchen has done just that offering seminars, videos, presentations, and literature along with every meal.
Conflict Kitchen’s website reads “Conflict Kitchen serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict”. They have lived up to their promise offering food from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Palestine and most recently the Iroquois, also known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, who controlled a large amount of land in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio many years ago.
Conflict Kitchen’s Facebook post read the following:“Although we will no longer be based in Schenley Plaza, Conflict Kitchen will continue to expand our educational initiatives throughout the greater Pittsburgh region with the production of curriculum, performances, public events and publications with cultural institutions, community organizations and schools.”
Conflict Kitchen has long been supported by donations and customers with the assistance of Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh based Sprout Fund. When they close their doors at the end of May Pittsburgh isn’t just losing a unique eatery but a restaurant that has, through their entire existence dating back to their first East Liberty location, worried more about spreading a positive message, knowledge, and peace over a quick profit.