Supper clubs — of a sort – have been around since cavemen were first gathering around the fire for a tasty meal of roast beast. Nowadays, underground supper clubs are all the rage, with hundreds of groups forming in the United States and across the world. But there’s no need to wait to be invited to one — you can simply start your own!
The secret behind supper clubs
Dining with friends has always been a popular leisure activity, and recently it’s taken the spotlight with supper clubs forming all over the globe. Some underground supper clubs operate in secret, and you have to be on a special list to be invited. Other dinner groups are hosted by famous chefs and cost a pretty penny to participate in.
There are also down-to-earth dining clubs that pop up in local neighborhoods and welcome anyone who’s willing to pull up a plate. From formal dinners to restaurant affairs to humble potlucks, anything goes when it comes to creating a supper club. Some groups incorporate themes such as serving locally-grown food, collecting donations for a charity, or trying out new restaurants. One thing they all have in common is a group of people who enjoy great food and friendly company.
Cook up your own club
If you are interested in the supper club phenomenon, you might start your own group in your apartment community. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with neighbors and make new friends.
Before you kick off your club, there are a few key components to consider. First, give your supper club a fun name. From the straightforward to the suggestive, names like the Green Acres Community Supper Club or the Dirty Plate Roundtable might entice guests to your new dining venture.
Next, decide who to invite. Since you are starting the supper club, you can choose who the guests are. (Typically only 50% of the people invited will be able to attend, so you might initially invite slightly more than you can accommodate until you get an accurate gauge of interest.) You can invite people on your floor, in your building or from the entire apartment community. Spread the word by leaving handwritten invitations on doorsteps, sending an Evite or coordinating schedules by posting suggested times on Doodle. Be sure to mention the guest policy in your invitation: how many are allowed, if any?
Next, you need to choose the theme and figure out who’s cooking. Typically the host will prepare the entree and guests will bring side dishes based on their favorite supper recipes, but you can set it up any way you like. Try a progressive dinner or skip the cooking and meet out at a local restaurant that you haven’t tried yet. Some clubs will even hire a personal chef to do the cooking!
Once you’ve gotten the details sorted out and guests on the way, think about a creative way to encourage friendly dining and interaction. Spice conversation up with a game like Table Topics, or find some dinnertime ice breakers. It’s also fun to bring in an expert to share knowledge about wine, food or gardening. The key to being a great host is keeping the dinner party conversation flowing and helping build new friendships between the participants.
At the end of a successful supper, you are always left with one thing: dirty dishes! Assigning chores and getting the group to pitch in makes for a quick clean-up. Then you can get to the fun part where you plan the next supper club meeting. Before everyone leaves, choose a host, a date and a theme. When you say good night, you can look forward to seeing each other next time!
Neighborhood dining clubs are an excellent way to meet other people in your apartment community and share a friendly meal. Take a cue from popular underground supper clubs and start your own dinner group. Just don’t keep it a secret!
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