Dinner Lab, a membership-based supper club that launched in New Orleans and grew to more than two-dozen cities, will no longer host events. In an email to members, its management announced that the company would cease operations. Nola.com reports that 35 people lost their jobs.
Dinner Lab in Dallas, like in other cities, offered up-and-coming chefs an opportunity to produce menus they thought only an excited room of foodies might enjoy. At an event in March 2015, for instance, Fort Worth chef Blaine Staniford served a mushroom plate that was supposed to resemble a forest, complete with gritty "rye soil" and edible parts that looked like moss.
Dinner Lab was a chef's opportunity to take risks, knowing there wouldn't be much backlash if a dish was interesting but not a total winner. And diners were eager to take those risks, because, hey, there's a room full of strangers geeking over food.
Many dinners were exciting. All were perfect for Instagram.
Alas, the company wasn't "able to turn the corner on creating a profitable enough enterprise to support our ambitions," says the farewell memo.
An unaffiliated private dinner group, the Dallas Supper Club, is still in operation in Dallas. Instead of serving a room of more than 100 hungry patrons, the DSC is purposefully smaller.