Event photography: Sidney Bensimon
There’s a tasty little secret trending right now. If you like to eat, enjoy socializing and live in the Chicago area, you’re in luck. Supper Clubs are popping up all around and…you’re invited.
What’s a Supper Club?
Often referred to as part of an “underground” culture, the nature of the Supper Club is shrouded in mystery and packed with adventure because…well, that’s fun!
The object is for a group of people to get together on a regular basis to enjoy a good meal… and each other’s company.
Each club has its own personality and its own set up. Some have a specific chef who creates each meal while others alternate and may even throw in a surprise celebrity chef at times.
Rarely are there any real rules, although some do have a few minor stipulations. Of course there are a few things that go unwritten as “Supper Club etiquette” like not being late and calling in advance if you can’t make it. Other than that, it’s all pretty informal.
Fashioned after Cuba’s “Casa Particulares”, the first Supper Club sprung up in 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. The idea went viral and now is huge in the United States. The Chicago area is home to a good number of great clubs.
What’s for dinner? That’s another part of the suspense. The menu is not unveiled until it’s time to dig in. One thing most do offer is the opportunity for members to make reasonable requests such as not being served foods they are allergic to or particularly dislike.
The venue of these “pop up clubs” is top secret as well, disclosed to the members just before the date. Most clubs change locations with each supper which is part of the fun for you never know what obscure, creative spot you might end up in like on a rooftop, in a museum or down by the waterside. Some clubs are so secretive, members are only notified where and when they will be picked up for transport to the mysterious venue.
The majority of supper clubs are very reasonable in price. Often the cost of a membership is merely for the food and any other expenses incurred.
How to Sign Up
If you’re like me, your mouth is watering and your adrenaline is pumping. Signing up is probably the only thing about the mysterious clubs that won’t leave you hanging in suspense.
Simply search online for supper clubs near you, click on the one of interest and there will be a designated place to sign up at. Or, find one from our list below, follow the link to the site and enlist there.
Here’s a run-down of our top five Chicago area Supper Clubs:
PlaceInvaders is a traveling club that will be popping into the Chicago area April 21-23. This group, led by co-founders Hagan (head chef) and Katie (the planner and host), prepare intimate dinners in unique venues with a voyeuristic flair. That’s right! They actually “invade” interesting and peculiar residences…while the owner isn’t home.
The Chicago dinners will be enjoyed at an undisclosed residence in West Town that’s 4,200 of stunning square feet with a stone façade, a couple of fire pits, and a location that promises to be the best in Chicago to date, according to the owners. And yes, you are free to roam around and explore.
The award-winning Chef Mat Dubois will be taking on the challenge of cooking a five-course Keto-diet meal. The dinner is accompanied by endless cocktails and wine.
Some of the invasions of the past have been in an abandoned New York penthouse from the 1950’s era and a B.I.G. video shoot site that was strikingly similar to a Shanghai opium den.
Seats for the 23rd are sold out and only 16 tickets remain for the other two days so grab one while you can.
Calling all foodies! But, shhh…it’s top secret. The Secret Supper is a locally based club that pairs up curious (and hungry) guests with some of the most talented chefs in Chicago for a sit-down meal that is second to none.
To join the multi-course tasting and drink toasting, all you need to do is purchase a ticket. The dinner location will be emailed to you the day of the event. You must be 21 or over and if you have any dietary restrictions, a 72-hour notice must be given in order for the chef to consider alterations to your meal.
Goose & Fox
In Prohibition days, underground Supper Clubs were very hush-hush because they not only served meals but forbidden alcoholic beverages too. These days, you don’t have to go far for a taste of the good ole days.
Goose & Fox adds whiskey and rock ‘n’ roll to the delectable menu prepared by proprietor and executive chef Greg Combs. The 6-10 course meals are focused on seasonal and local organic foods. It’s the perfect hook- up for the evolving culture of food and adventure seekers.
Where the whiskey-bent dinners are held remains top secret until it is shared with members the day before. Once guests get to the location, they are invited to participate in the preparation and delivery of the meal and it’s BYOB.
One of the coolest things about this pop up is that you can book a private party. Choose the location of your choice or opt for TBD (the mysterious “to be determined”).
If you like great dining and a non-pretentious atmosphere this club’s for you. Tickets can be reserved on Tumblr.
Event Photography: Chellise Michael
The ladies at Filigree Suppers are “those friends you wish you had”. You know, the decorator-slash-wedding planner-slash-brand designers who also blog on Martha Stewart’s website.
Oh…did I mention they put on a fabulous supper club too? Well, they do and you can sign up to join them.
One Sunday a month, Elise and Brita, the owners of Filigree Suppers, bring together talented chefs, local designers, artists and craftsmen to collaborate a magnificent themed dinner.
The ladies rotate events between Chicago, NYC and other exciting cities.The location is a surprise until just prior to the date but are always as creative as the cuisine and deco.
If you would like to join the club or team your talents, visit Filigree Suppers for more information.
For the adventurous at heart, Godspeed is an experience you won’t soon forget. Just jump onboard this adventurous supper club and who knows where you’ll end up. But, wherever it is, you dinner, drinks, transportation and entertainment are all-inclusive.
Not only do you get to rub shoulders with interesting new friends and enjoy a yummy meal, during the four to five hour escapade, you’ll be jetted around by your very own private guide. You’ll see all the sights and hear the tales of the days of old when Chicago was run by hoodlums and mobsters.
For a true taste of the Windy City, sign up to be a Godspeed member and the rest will be history.
One Last Bite
Supper Clubs are quite the chatter these days. At Hotspot, we’re always being asked for great spots that are new to each neighborhood or near certain apartments. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how your Supper Club experience goes.