Secret Dining Clubs Flourish Underground

Secret Dining Clubs Flourish Underground

Food & Drink

Secret Dining Clubs Flourish Underground


By Cari Martens

There may be one right across the street from you. Or just across the river. Or in the basement of that abandoned warehouse on the edge of town.

Secret dining clubs. They’re becoming increasingly popular, but unless you have the inside info, you’ll probably never hear about them. Adrien Glover, writing in the December issue of Travel and Leisure, reports on a major event staged by New York’s Undergrounds Unite in which 150 food lovers dined in an vacated photographer’s loft in midtown Manhattan—all on the Q.T.

Some of these clandestine clubs are operated by chefs testing the waters before opening a restaurant, and some are run by people who just love to cook—and like to rebel against the status quo.

Foodies across the country seek out these underground eateries, which depend on word-of-mouth buzz for business. Access is typically granted by password only, reminiscent of the Depression-era speakeasies. Dining events are usually held in private homes, but can also be found in galleries, garages, grocery stores, and fields, according the Travel and Leisure story. Like the speakeasy of the ‘30s, the secret clubs are often operating illegally.

Glover reports that prices in New York average $50 for a few courses, but can go as high as $150 for more elaborate meals with wine pairings. Jenn Garbee, author of ‘Secret Suppers,’ estimates that there are more than 100 secret dining clubs in the U.S., mostly in bigger cities, but also in places like Austin, Tex., and Charleston, S.C. More can be found overseas in Vienna, Buenos Aires, and Melbourne.

Hungry? All you need to know is the password.

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