The future of dining in a post-Covid-19 world is… singular? That’s the mindset of Linda Karlsson and Rasmus Persson (the latter a trained chef), who on May 10 will open a one-table, one-person restaurant in the county of Värmland in west-central Sweden. Located in the middle of a meadow, Bord för En (which means “table for one”) has no wait staff; instead, a three-course, drink-paired vegetarian meal will be delivered to the single table via a basket strung up from the couple’s kitchen window. And because “no one in their right mind starts a restaurant with one seat with the ambition to make money,” Karlsson notes, the price for the experience will follow a pay-what-you-can model.
Upon opening, only one menu will be on offer at Bord för En. Those lucky enough score the sole reservation per day (for your choice of breakfast, lunch or dinner) will enjoy a starter of Råraka, a Swedish-style hashbrown; Black & Yellow, a main dish of sweet corn croquettes and serpent root ash; and a dessert called “Last Days of Summer” made with blueberries, iced buttermilk and viola sugar crafted from the couple’s homegrown beets. “The menu will be (changed) as soon as the chef has grown tired of it—or when we have picked all the blueberries in Värmland county,” says Karlsson. (The current plan is to have the restaurant operate through August.) Joel Söderbäck, the founder of several award-winning bars in Stockholm and a native of the Värmland area, will curate the drink pairings, which will include a mocktail made with locally-farmed seasonal ingredients like elderflower and strawberries, and non-alcoholic Seedlip.
This type of out-of-the-box thinking is not out of character for residents of the tiny rural town of Ransäter (population 114), where Karlsson and Persson live. Years ago, the town faced massive unemployment and an exodus of people following the relocation of a steel factory where many residents worked. “Those who stayed, however, coped the way this part of Sweden always has: with good humor, hard heads and a big bowl of creativity,” Karlsson says.
Opening Bord för En is the the couple’s creative approach to a post-Covid-19 restaurant concept, and they have worked out strict details for the experience; guests will follow instructions from the bus stop to the table, so there’s no social interaction; the table and chairs will be sanitized six hours after the diner leaves; and all dishes will be washed twice. The couple is planning to open more solo dining experiences, but never any that allow for more than one person at a time, even after the coronavirus threat has diminished. “For us, this is the ideal concept for eating,” Linda says. “No social distractions from the taste—only you and your food.”