Columbia Student Opens Restaurant in Dorm Room

New York City's hottest new restaurant isn't in a restored factory loft in Brooklyn or a tony high rise in Tribeca -- it's in a Columbia student's dorm room.

Pith, a small bistro created by Columbia senior Jonah Reider and run out of his dorm room's communal kitchen, opened two weeks ago, according to the New York Post. The prix fixe restaurant, which features a five- to eight-course New American dinner, has already been booked through the school's winter break. 

"I think of myself as better than the average college student but definitely not an amazing cook so I'm pleasantly surprised by all the positive feedback," he told NBC 4 New York. 

Reider, an economics student, says he charges between $10 and $20 a meal and that the proceeds go back into paying for the meals. And they're pretty intricate meals -- one recent night included artisanal cheese, house pickled red kale stalks with olive, seared lamb chops with paprika, barley with figs and snow peas with pancetta and mushrooms.

"I had been doing it casually for awhile, and in my mind, this is still casual," he said. 

Reider says he takes reservations through Yelp four nights a week. Then he buys the ingredients and prepares them for his guests. So far, Reider told the Post, most of the patrons have been fellow students, but there have been a few "randos."

Restaurants would kill for that kind of reservation list. Of course, those restaurants have to deal with the health department, and Reider may have to, too. 

"I may have to cool down the acceptance of people who I don't know, or the frequency of which this is happening," he told NBC 4 New York.

The health department told NBC 4 New York it has opened an inquiry into Pith to determine if it should be subjected to the rules and regulations of restaurants. Reider maintains it's not a restaurant, even with a prix-fixe menu. 

"The intention and the atmosphere is not one of a restaurant. It's a collective experience of getting to know people," he said. 

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