Cydney Tests Minneapolis’s Underground Dining Club

August 6, 2015
Dinner Lab Minneapolis Menu

Dinner Lab Minneapolis Menu

One of the many perks of working at Fast Horse is an annual “Muse It Or Lose It” stipend to fuel creative endeavors away from the office. During my five years at Fast Horse, I’ve personally used my stipend to fund a good chunk of a new DSLR camera, explore some new shows and museums during a weekend in New York City and take tap-dance classes.

This year, I decided to put my stipend toward a membership to Dinner Lab, an “underground” dining club. An established concept in other major cities across the country, Dinner Lab opened in Minneapolis earlier this year, and bills itself as “a consumer dining experience that brings together up-and-coming chefs and an exclusive membership interested in exploring innovative ideas.”

Pairings on pairings.

Pairings on pairings.

Basically, you purchase a membership that allows you the option to purchase tickets to high-end dinner parties in unexpected pop-up locations with either up-and-coming chefs or established chefs who want to experiment. While you generally know that the menu will look like when purchasing tickets, you never know where the event will be held until 24 hours before the event. I’ll be honest — that’s the part that got me. I’m a sucker for mystery. Also, it’s been reported that Jay Z and Beyonce have attended a dinner, so there’s that.

I went to my first dinner earlier this summer at a photo studio, and had a really good time. Upon arrival, there’s no assigned seating, so you have the opportunity to chat with neighbors and meet new people. Another bonus is that everything has already been taken care of when you walk in the door — no tipping, no open bar, no nothing. This is especially nice, since there are drink pairings with each course.

The earlier sitting had already left by the time I had the courage to snap a photo of the studio, but you get the idea.

The earlier sitting had already left by the time I had the courage to snap a photo of the studio, but you get the idea.

The Minneapolis market is just getting going, so the dinners are only hosted about every other month, but in established cities, Dinner Lab hosts dinners pretty much every weekend. And if you happen to be in another city, your membership gives you access to tickets in other markets, so you could attend a Dinner Lab event while on vacation. This was another selling point for me.

If you’re a foodie like me and don’t mind paying a little more for an interesting environment, I’d definitely recommend checking out Dinner Lab. See you there!