Dinner Lab, a subscription-based, pop-up restaurant venture, makes its Pittsburgh debut | On The Side | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Dinner Lab, a subscription-based, pop-up restaurant venture, makes its Pittsburgh debut

"What that means for diners is an experimental, one-of-a-kind experience."

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Dinner Lab
  • Photo courtesy of Aaron Lyles
  • A photo from a recent Dinner Lab

At a time when celebrity chefs are all the rage, Dinner Lab wants to introduce you to the other folks in the kitchen.

"We're bringing in sous chefs and  line cooks, the people in the kitchen whose job it is to execute someone else's vision of what cuisine should be," says Zach Kupperman, the co-founder of Dinner Lab, a subscription-based, pop-up restaurant venture that made its Pittsburgh launch last week. "This is an opportunity for emerging culinary talent to produce their own menus, to test out new ideas in food.

"What that means for diners is an experimental, one-of-a-kind experience."

Dinner Lab was born in New Orleans in 2012 and is now in nearly 30 U.S. ciries. Diners buy a subscription for $125 which gives them access to a website providing pricing and chef information for upcoming events — about one a week. They can buy a ticket at an all-inclusive price, usually $50-80, which includes dinner, drinks and tip; the day before the event, they receive a message disclosing the location.

"At the dinner, the kitchen is open so diners can interact with the chef, and the meal is served at long communal tables," explains Kupperman. The venues are also out-of-the box, and have included old churches and a parking garage. Although the first dinner date has not been released, the first chef will be Mario Rodriquez, a New Jersey-based chef who specializes in Malay cuisine. www.dinnerlab.com

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