Here’s a change of pace from all the shutdown-centric budget talk. Forbes shares the news that Dinner Lab, a members-only supper club originally started in New Orleans, is headed to Washington. The five-city expansion for the company also includes Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Miami.
The basic concept is this: Members sign up and pay annual $175 dues for access to dinners and other culinary gatherings, up to 80 per year. Tickets for the individual events range from $50 to $70, inclusive of drinks and gratuity. Locations, chefs, and guests all change; you could attend an intimate evening in a gallery hosted by an up-and-coming local or a 100-plus person affair in a shuttered mall. The website boasts of past events that include a Big Easy supper prepared by a chef from the Michelin-starred Aquavit (though the New York Post has its own, dramatized-as-usual take on the elegance-level of these affairs, particularly one held in the aforementioned mall’s food court). Membership maxes out at 300—availability for meals is smaller, and some are competitive to book—with purchase open now to Washingtonians through the website.
While larger in scope than other members-only dining clubs, Dinner Lab isn’t the first of its kind in Washington. There was Carol Greenwood’s Orange Arrow, which seems to have met with a certain level of disaster, and the Coterie from Jill Richmond (now Cheftabl). Generally more successful have been the nonmember supper clubs, which still have tough reservations but don’t apply dues, such as Seasonal Pantry and Chez Le Commis. Perhaps Dinner Lab will break ground in more than one way.