Photo: Nicklas Hultman/Oddbird

Swedish Restaurant Puts Tables in Nature for Beautiful Socially Distanced Dining

Restaurants + Bars News Food + Drink
by Elisabeth Sherman Jun 25, 2020

As the United States fumbles its first attempt to reopen restaurants and bars amid the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing strange solutions like draping customers in plastic tarps and setting up wooden walls between tables, one has to wonder if there’s a better way to social distance while dining out. One restaurant in Sweden is taking a novel approach: scattering tables throughout a nature preserve.

This might seem like an extreme way to ensure diners don’t come in contact with each other, but it’s one of the more ingenious restaurant responses to the pandemic that have popped up in recent months. If you’re going to be sitting outside anyway, why not enjoy the beauty of nature while you’re at it? That seems to be the particular Swedish mindset during the pandemic at least; remember that one-person restaurant that opened in the middle of a field in Ransäter?

Nowhere restaurant is the brainchild of Oddbird, a non-alcoholic wine company, which quips that its beverages have been “liberated from alcohol.” Nowhere is nothing like any restaurant you’ve seen or experienced before: Six tables are scattered throughout a nature preserve just outside of Stockholm. You won’t run into any other customers, but you will be immersed in Sweden’s peaceful, stunning natural landscape. One table is located on a dock overlooking a calm lake and one is in a meadow, while another will place you in the middle of a dense, quiet forest.

In a time when most people feel the impulse to escape from the deluge of bad news which only seems to be getting worse, seeking refuge at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere probably sounds appealing. It’s probably not entirely advisable to jump on an airplane, as eager as you might be to experience Nowhere for yourself, but if you’re already in Sweden, make the most out of quarantine and discover new corners of the country you might not have visited otherwise.

“Instead of travelling abroad, we now find ourselves out in nature and discovering magical places we had not previously regarded as destinations. It is not really the place in itself that we want to get to with Nowhere, rather a state of mind,” Mehmet Gürbüzer, a representative of Oddbird, said in a statement.

Linn Söderström and Marion Ringborg, chefs at the restaurant Garba in Stockholm, are behind the menu, to help you get a better idea of what Nowhere will serve. Reservations opened up on June 22 until August 20, when the restaurant will close.

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