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How NY Kickstarter 'Entrepreneurs' Are Cashing In on the Potato Salad Craze

By Gustavo Solis | July 17, 2014 7:33am
 From burritos to PB and J, New Yorkers are trying to copy the man who raised $50,000 to make potato salad.
From burritos to PB and J, New Yorkers are trying to copy the man who raised $50,000 to make potato salad.
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NEW YORK CITY — If you make it, they will pay — even if it's a ridiculous idea.

A flood of New York "entrepreneurs" have started online fundraising campaigns in hopes of piggybacking off the viral Kickstarter post that raised more than $50,000 for a man whose only goal was to make potato salad.

While some local money-seekers promise to craft the same classic potato salad dish, others want the public at large to send them cash so they can cook up burritos, beef stroganoff, fried rice, a patriotic cake and PB and J.

Both critics and fans alike have expressed shock at people's willingness to throw so much money at such a seemingly-insignificant goal — including NYC entrepreneur Albert Yuen, 33, of Midtown East, whose Kickstarter is asking for cash to make a Japanese variant of potato salad.

"While I thought it was pretty crazy that it managed to raise so much in funding, it really highlighted the fact that there are so many people out there who are willing to support causes through the Kickstarter community," said Yuen, who said he was surprised to see how many people contributed to Zack Brown's now-famous potato salad campaign, especially because it wasn't for an art project or innovative nonprofit. 

So far Yuen has raised $0.

Zachary Reilly, 28, of Bensonhurst, said he decided to create a Kickstarter to cook up some mac and cheese.

“I was definitely inspired by the potato salad guy,” said Reilly, whose modest campaign only asks for $10 to make what he calls “Cheese and Mac because I put a lot of cheese on it.”

“Everyone I know loves mac and cheese but not everyone I know loves potato salad,” added Reilly, whose campaign had only received $1 by July 8.

Another Kickstarter hopeful is John Marc Imbrescia, a 32-year-old software engineer from Crown Heights who offers to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and send them to donors. He has raised $61 in nine days.

While he doesn’t expect to reach $50,000, Imbrescia says it’s been a fun experience.

“It’s a funny response to the potato salad campaign,” he said. “People have asked me to cut the crusts off or use gluten-free bread.”

The most honest campaign comes from Frederick Pina, who just wants a Big Mac. His plea is simple and to the point: “Big Mac. It’s been a while.”

According to the campaign post, the only listed risk involved in the project is “depression.” Pina has already reached his $10 goal.