As the world monitors how restaurants plan to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, one couple in Sweden has come up with an extreme, albeit peaceful, solution for those who wish to enjoy gourmet meals while still observing social distancing protocols.
Linda Karlsson and Rasmus Persson are set to open Bord för en (which translates to "table for one") in a beautiful meadow next to their home in the remote village of Ransäter on May 10.
The idea for the restaurant, which will feature a single seat at a small table, came to the couple after they served a socially-distant lunch to Karlsson's parents. Persson, 36, a former chef, made his in-laws a meal and served it through the window while they were seated outside.
"My parents invited themselves over for lunch at our new house in Ransäter, Sweden," Karlsson, 36, told TODAY Food. "It was a cold and windy day and even though we talk every day, I had not seen them for weeks. In Sweden, there are no restrictions when it comes to social distancing, but there are recommendations. And we follow the recommendations.
"So when my parents showed up, we refused to let them in. Because of the COVID-19 we instead set a table with white linen outside and served them through the window."
Unlike other Nordic countries, Sweden has not been in total lockdown since confirmed coronavirus cases began popping up around the world. Restaurants, salons and other businesses have remained open, with the government asking people to keep their distance and act responsibly.
"Rasmus and I said to ourselves, 'We should make this available for everyone! Anti-social freaks, people in risk groups, anyone! It will be the only COVID-19 safe restaurant in the world.' I made the website the very same night," Karlsson, who is an artist, revealed.
Bord för en, which is described on its website as "a solo dining experience" and "the only true COVID-19 safe restaurant in the world" will have no waitstaff. Instead, diners will receive their food in a basket delivered straight from the kitchen to their table via a pulley system.
The first menu features a three-course vegetarian meal consisting of råraka (a Swedish-style hash brown), a yellow carrot-ginger puree with sweet corn croquettes and a dessert called "Last Days of Summer," featuring ginned blueberries, iced buttermilk and viola sugar.
The couple have teamed up with mixologist Joel Söderbäck who will provide cocktail pairings. The restaurant will also employ strict sanitation policies, including the double washing of all dishes and utensils and thorough disinfecting of the dining area.
If all of this sounds expensive, prospective customers may be surprised to learn that they can pay what they wish, since the couple wants to welcome all people, regardless of their financial situation.
"In Sweden, some people are putting others at risk by going out to restaurants and not practicing social distancing recommendations," said Karlsson. "We hope that the mere image of our restaurant is a reminder of that we need to continue to socially distance ourselves from one another."
The restaurant will be open every day of the week but, for now, the couple will only be serving one meal a day.
Bord för en is now booking reservations on a first-come, first-served basis and will be open through August 1.