By LAUREN BRYSON
The dining landscape in Atlanta is about to change rapidly as a unique new concept called Dinner Lab is soon to launch to a privileged group of food enthusiasts across the metro Atlanta area at secret pop-up locations in rather unconventional settings.
“We are hoping to change the way people look at dining. Each event features a dinner that will never happen again, never with the same people, never with the same menu and never at the same location,” said Chef Dustin Sandell, the chef de cuisine of Dinner Lab Atlanta.
Dinner Lab started on a whim around two years ago in New Orleans by founder and CEO Brian Bordainick, who decided to host a dinner party for a group of friends in an abandoned warehouse setting. Since then, the company has exploded in popularity and has rapidly expanded into several markets across the county, including outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tenn., Miami and more.
“We have a group of members who pay an annual membership fee to receive access to tickets to our exclusive dinners. The fun part about it is that our guests have no idea where the dinner will be located until the night before,” Sandell continued.
Dinner Lab seeks out truly non-traditional venues to host its events. You may find it doing a dinner in an abandoned warehouse, an underground art gallery, a wooden farmhouse or even a retro boxing gym. Combining with the uniqueness of venue choice, Sandell and his team strive to seek out the most talented up and coming chefs from the local market and even far beyond the city of Atlanta.
Each event features a different guest chef with a different menu, giving chefs the opportunity to tell their story through innovative and cutting edge cuisine. It provides the members the opportunity to try something that they don’t get to try every day in their own kitchens or their favorite local café. Think crispy duck hearts with buttermilk aioli or pan-fried rabbit liver with braised endive and pink peppercorn.
“We could not be more excited to launch in the Atlanta market this month,” Dinner Lab’s expansion manager Brittany Norton said. “Diners are always looking for something a little more adventurous and outside of the box when going out to dinner. You can get tired of the same old routine and eating the same old stuff every other night, and Dinner Lab takes all of that and completely turns it upside down.”
Atlanta diners will have a chance as soon as next week to see what all of the hype is about, but don’t expect to waltz right in and take a seat. Memberships are difficult to come by and tickets sell out quickly to individual events. Luckily, each member is allowed to invite an outside guest to each event, which includes both the food as well as beverage pairings with each course.
Sandell said, “We are aiming to create not just an evening out to dinner, but a truly unforgettable dining experience that gets better and more interesting with each event and each menu.”
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