London Man Transforms Old Phone Booth Into a Pop-Up Salad Shop

Like your lunch quick, light, and served with a side of novelty? If that’s the case (and you’re traveling to England in the near future), you should swing by Spier’s Salads. The pop-up salad shop is housed in an old London phone booth in Bloomsbury Square (a park in central London), Tech Insider reports. It officially launched on May 4, just in time for al fresco dining season.

From the outside, Spier’s Salads looks like your typical red phone booth. Inside, however, it’s equipped with power, a mini-fridge, and several shelves stocked with two deli dishes (salmon, roast beef, etc.) and five varieties of hearty, healthy salad.

Ben Spier, who owns the pop-up shop, serves food on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. His salads are made locally using organic, seasonal produce, and typically cost anywhere from $5 to $8.50. Featured on this week’s menu? For one, roasted chicken salad, served with sumac, pomegranate molasses, chili, and sesame seeds.

A salad shop inside a telephone booth may sound like a gimmick, but it’s actually part of a greater business scheme designed to create employment opportunities and breathe new life into England's unused phone booths. The country's iconic red fixtures have dwindled over the years thanks to cell phones and other advances in communication technology. In 2002, NPR reports, there were 92,000 booths across England. As of 2014, there were only 48,000—and many of them were no longer in use.

That’s why in 2014, two Brighton businessmen, Eddie Ottewell and Steve Beeken, teamed up with communications company BT to launch the Red Kiosk Company. Their business transforms England’s old, out-of-use phone booths into offices for aspiring entrepreneurs. Currently, there are more than a dozen re-purposed phone booths across England selling coffee, ice cream, and other items.

Now, thanks to Spier, who originally launched his business in 2011, there’s also one selling salad. "I chose to sell from the phone box, because they're beautiful London icons which are used—a perfect brownfield redevelopment," he told Tech Insider.

[h/t Tech Insider]

The Top 10 Pizza Chains in America

Pizza is a $45.1 billion industry in the United States. Here are the top pizza chains across this great nation, based on gross sales in 2016.


Pizza Hut is truly enormous. Raking in more than $5.75 billion in 2016, the chain is best known for its red roof architecture. The style is so distinctive that the blog Used to Be a Pizza Hut collects photos of former Pizza Hut restaurants now turned into other businesses.


With more than $5.47 billion in revenue, Domino's is nipping at Pizza Hut's heels. For decades, Domino's offered a guarantee that your pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or less, or it would be free. The policy was terminated in 1993 in the U.S., and Domino's has since focused on expanding its menu with pasta, sandwiches, and other goodies.


Photo of the exterior of a Little Caesars restaurant

Founded in 1959 by Mike and Marian Ilitch, Little Caesars focuses on carry-out pizza at ultra-competitive prices. Using slogans like "Pizza! Pizza!," "Pan! Pan!," and "Deep Deep Dish," the chain offers hot cheese pizzas for just $5.


Headquartered in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, Papa John's was the first national pizza chain to offer online ordering in the U.S., way back in 2002.


Papa Murphy's offers exclusively "take and bake" pizza, where the ingredients are put together in front of you, then you bake the pizza at home. It's the only large chain to offer this kind of pizza, and it's a smart business model—stores don't need pizza ovens!


California Pizza Kitchen

The first California Pizza Kitchen launched in 1985 in Beverly Hills, California. The focus is on gourmet pizza, including a line of relatively fancy frozen pizzas. In many locations, CPK also offers gluten-free crust as an option, making it a favorite for gluten-intolerant pizza lovers.


Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco founded Marco's Pizza in 1978. The Toledo, Ohio-based chain is now the country's fastest-growing pizza chain, with more than 800 franchised locations across the U.S. as well as in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and India. They specialize in what they've dubbed "Ah!thentic Italian."


In 1958, Bill Larson concluded four years of US Navy service and got a job at a pizza parlor in San Mateo, California. A year later, he founded his own: Round Table Pizza. Using a King Arthur theme, Round Table has often featured knights and shields in its logo. The knight theme originated when Larson saw drawings of King Arthur's court eating pizza.


The brainchild of two Georgia Tech students, Mellow Mushroom opened in Atlanta, Georgia as a one-off pizzeria. Today, it boasts more than 150 locations, and is regularly inching further westward.


Macaroni and cheese pizza from Cicis

Cicis is the world's largest pizza buffet chain. It features all sorts of wild stuff including a macaroni-and-cheese pizza.

Source: PMQ Pizza Magazine

Pop Culture
North Pole Blockbuster Video, One of Chain’s Few Remaining Stores, Is Closing

With streaming quickly becoming the new standard in movie-watching, the majority of today’s youngsters will never know the joy that came with a Friday night visit to the local Blockbuster Video store. Nor will they understand the inherent drama such an outing could bring: “Ooh, look Hocus Pocus is on VHS! Oh no, that kid got the last copy!” That already-tiny number is about to shrink even further with the announcement that Alaska’s North Pole Blockbuster, one of only an estimated eight stores left in the U.S., is closing its doors.

The announcement was made on Monday afternoon via the store’s Facebook page, which thanked its employees for their service:

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner spoke with Kevin Daymude, the store’s general manager, who pointed to declining sales as the reason for the shuttering. “Do we have a great clientele? Yes, without a doubt,” Daymude said. “It just declined.”

While Blockbuster Video filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the brand continued to license its iconic blue-and-yellow ticket stub logo to franchisees, the bulk of which are located in Alaska. Why Alaska? Lack of broadband and high Internet price tags in the state mean that streaming content isn’t as simple as just pointing and clicking.

“A lot of [the stores] are still quite busy,” Alan Payne, a Blockbuster licensee-owner who owns a handful of the few remaining stores in the U.S., told The Washington Post in 2017. “If you went in there on a Friday night you’d be shocked at the number of people.”

Earlier this year Payne was forced to close his Edinburg, Texas store, the last Blockbuster in Texas, which had been operating since the 1990s. But Alaska won’t be Blockbuster-free anytime soon. Even with the North Pole store’s closing, there are still four remaining locations in Alaska.

While the North Pole store ceased its rental operations on Sunday, it will remain open through April while it sells off its inventory of movies and fixtures. The only question is whether there’s a VHS copy of Jerry Maguire somewhere in there.


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