In this world of clashing ideals and contention, there are some universal consistencies. We must all breathe the same air, we must all have water to drink, and everyone must sustain their bodies with the foods of their lands and cultures. A small storefront restaurant in Pittsburgh seeks to take those constants (especially that last one) and engage people in conversation that expands their knowledge and understanding of the places in the world that they may understand the least, the ones the U.S. is in direct conflict with.
Conflict Kitchen is a small take-out that provides a hearty helping of cultural education with every dish it serves. Every six months the storefront and menu changes to highlight a new country with which the U.S. does not see eye to eye. With each rotation comes a program of discussion, events, and performances created to engage the citizens of Pittsburgh in taking an interest in the culture of the focus country, as well as educate in terms of the specific politics and issues at hand.
The events include live international Skype dinner parties with representatives of the opposing locales, as well as workshops, live music, and discussions with documentary filmmakers, but if you don’t have time for all that and just want a quick dose of enlightenment with your lunch, read your wrapper. The custom-designed wrappers are printed with opinions on everything from food to war, coming from the point of view of citizens of the featured country, their intention being to inspire discussion and debate among customers.
Open seven days a week, Conflict Kitchen has created an ever-changing location for cultural diversity, and has provided its corner of Pittsburgh with ethnic food choices never before offered in the area, featuring food from Iran, Afghanistan, and Venezuela. Future rotations will include Cuba and North Korea.
On April 1, 2013, Conflict Kitchen opened in a new location at 221 Schenley Drive in Schenley Park.
Update May, 2017: The Conflict Kitchen is closing at the end of May.
Know Before You Go
In the middle of the plaza not completely visible from the street to the north. Not far from the Carousel, the nearest intersection is Schenley Park Drive and Roberto Clemente Drive.