by Sarah Baird
Dinner Lab, the New Orleans-based underground supper club which allows up-and-coming chefs to show off their chops for crowds of adventurous diners, announced their first round of outside funding today to the tune of $2.1 million.
An organization with an appetite for national expansion, Dinner Lab has gained the investment of Whole Foods Chairman Dr. John B. Elstrott, among others. What started out in August 2012 as a way to grow the late-night food scene in New Orleans has turned into a 10-city, 50-staff member operation that has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
"We're super excited to be building this company in New Orleans. A lot of people said that the funding mechanisms are not in place to do this here, but we certainly believe that a truly scalable business can attract capital from right here in New Orleans," said CEO Brian Bordainick.
Dinner Lab is a members-only dining experience that's equal parts high-end pop-up and supper club. Individuals buy a membership for a calendar year, then purchase tickets to individual events hosted in unusual locations from abandoned school buildings to warehouses. The tasting menu style dinners range in topic from Bangkok street food to Basque cuisine. (I once played with a Happy Meal-style toy at a Dinner Lab event where we were given crayons and invited to color on the tables.)
"While this funding announcement is great news for our company, the real work lies ahead," said Bordainick. "We want to build something truly special here, and in order to do that, we've got a ton of work to do."
For more information about Dinner Lab, visit its website.