Mondays—still cool. Photo via Sitka and Spruce's website.

Since Monday nights are no longer devoted to tacos, Matt Dillon and the Sitka and Spruce crew are fashioning a new pop-up tradition.

Guest chef Mondays will happen once a month (usually the third or last Monday on the calendar). But Dillon’s not interested in having, say, the chef from, say, a well-known Italian restaurant stop by to make Southern food. He wants to host people who aspire to launch a food business, whatever it may be.

“I want people who need an opportunity and need a space and don’t have access to it,” he says. “It helped me a lot when I was young, and everybody saw how much it helped Álvaro.” That would be Álvaro Candela, the mastermind behind the restaurant’s longtime Monday night taco menu. He’s now applying his taco talents as head chef over at the Saint.

The first guest chef Monday happens June 23; a guy named Samuel Meade is cooking cajun. “He really loves jambalaya and he’s been thinking about doing something with it for a long time,” says Dillon.

Dillon and his team vet applicants on a case-by-case basis (yes, they definitely taste the food). And they’re keeping open minds. If someone shows up with a bang-up idea for a cookie business, Dillon might put on a no-frills spaghetti feed, followed up by a bunch of amazing cookies. This all seems very—perfectly—Matt Dillon.

Doing it monthly helps keep meals affordable. The Sitka and Spruce website has information on the guest chef Mondays, should you want to apply, or just show up and eat jambalaya.

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