Food

Dinner Lab Shuts Down

Despite a pop-up event scheduled for tonight in DC, the members-only supper club Dinner Lab has effectively closed down. Members were notified via email that all operations for the business have been suspended immediately—a message that’s also displayed on the company’s website.

“Three-and-a half years ago a few of us came up with a novel idea; bring together random people, in an unconventional location, and give an up-and-coming chef a chance,” a note on Dinner Lab’s website reads. We put every ounce of our energy into developing a product that you wanted to engage with regularly, but we weren’t able to turn the corner on creating a profitable enough enterprise to support our ambitions.”

A Dinner Lab member who reached out to Washingtonian says she signed up for Thursday’s planned Game of Thrones-themed event, and was still receiving emails as of yesterday with information about arrival time and event location. She was notified with news of the cancellation, but there’s no information yet about compensation.

Advance tickets for the meal went for over $80 per person. Dinner Lab rented space at the Harper Macaw chocolate factory in Northeast for the meal, though  Harper Macaw co-founder Colin Hartman says he only found out about the cancellation this morning when people who’d received the email began calling: “We called and found out not only is the event canceled, but the entire company just folded.”
Dinner Lab began in New Orleans three-and-a-half years ago, and spread to 30 cities in the US, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. When the service first came to DC in 2013, diners were required to pay a $175 membership fee in addition to the cost for individual dinners—though the company eventually dropped the membership fee. Most recently, Dinner Lab acquired its San Francisco rival Dishcrawl.

Dinner Lab CEO Brian Bordainick has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.