Dinner Lab DC “social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners” coming to Petworth

847 Upshur St, NW

Thanks to all who sent emails. Dinner Lab’s website says:

“Dinner Lab is a social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners who are looking for something different from the conventional restaurant experience. Our events bring together a group of interesting strangers around a common table to share cuisine crafted by up-and-coming chefs from all over the country.

We don’t dictate what our chefs cook, but instead give them a platform to tell a story through their menus – recipes that speak to their background or heritage, ingredients they are passionate about, or completely new dishes they’ve been experimenting with on days away from the restaurant. Our platform flips the traditional “dinner out” on its head by putting chefs at the center stage and giving our diners a voice in the process. Each time you attend an event, your feedback and suggestions are shared with the chef so that he or she can iterate and improve on their menu concept. With your input, aspiring chefs are given the tools they need to effectively prototype new dishes and tweak recipes to help them create the next great restaurant concept.”


Updates when the dinners start. You can get on the DC membership wait list here.

This is the space formerly home to King-N-I and more recently Open Kitchen Diner. Anyone remember, one of my favorites, Seafood & Things before that?

847 Upshur Street, NW in 2008

28 Comment

  • Im really confused. In the process of choosing a restaurant to eat at, its important for me to know what they are serving. This seems like a very difficult business model to sustain.

    • Meh. I don’t have any food restrictions, and I do not really care what kind of food I eat as long as it is done well. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Many of the very finest restaurants around the world offer nothing but a single prix fixe menu – including probably the best restaurant I’ve tried in D.C. (Komi).
      This sounds cool. Hope it’s well-executed.

    • I think that’s where the ” adventurous diners” part comes in.

      • True, but at Komi its a pretty consistent offering. Mediterranean leaning cuisine with many of the same (standout) options offered every night while rotating in a few specials. When I go to Komi, I know what Im getting. This could be any cuisine on any given night.

  • Seafood & Things….ahhh. I remember seeing that a new business was opening and that sinking feeling when the sign when up. Priceless!

  • “Seafood & Things”? Really?

  • Per the website, every dining event is at a different location that isn’t announced until the day before. So it doesn’t sound like they’d be serving food at this location unless they’re changing their model. So maybe this will serve as their DC offices? Anyone know what they plan to do at this location?

  • I had a membership – went to 2 different dinners at 2 different pop-up places – both were hilariously bad. Awful food, awful drinks. Just not even close to what they charge for a membership PLUS the cost of each dinner.

    Really disappointed because my friend is a member in another city and they say it’s awesome.

  • It looked interesting until I went to the website. Seems like a club that is a little too exclusive for my taste. Wish we could get a normal decent restaurant instead.

  • This sounds like an annoying and pretentious version of Feastly. And I haven’t done Featly yet, but it seems like a good idea. Plus you know what location you’re going to, and generally the type of food.

    And MAJOR fail for the awful copy! All bad – but this especially – “With your input, aspiring chefs are given the tools they need to effectively prototype new dishes and tweak recipes to help them create the next great restaurant concept.”


    1. If you want me to be your guinea pig (getting my input to “prototype new dishes and tweak recipes”) you need to pay me, or at least give me a free meal.

    2. There is no “next great restaurant concept.” Everything has been done except maybe for fetal octopus sliders with wild harvested greens from highway medians.

    • justinbc

      Yeah, being the lab rat for someone who hasn’t even figured out what their concept is yet, and paying for the “privilege” to do so, is a bit much. There are actual restaurants here in DC that do soft openings where they invite people to come eat and drink for free so they can get the details down…why would I pay for someone who admittedly will get a “needs improvement” grade?

    • i agree that it sounds pretentious but to suggest that everything has been done seems equally arrogant.

  • So, they are taking up a prime retail spot on Upshur Street so they can prepare food to be served outside the neighborhood at their exclusive members-only events. What a disappointing addition this strip in Petworth.

    • Agree. I wish the owner of the property had tried a little harder to land an eatery that actually served the neighborhood. This is a joke. I heard the indian retardant, Fusion, tried to get it and was turned down by the owner.

    • everything must serve the neighborhood it’s in?

  • An awful lot of negativity directed towards a place that hasn’t even opened yet.
    If you want a standard restaurant experience, god knows there are tons of other places where you can eat – three on that block alone, several more within a mile or so. And based on the website, diners are not exactly flying blind. Announcements for some of their past events had the menus listed in advance. There was one event that was done in connection with Brooklyn Brewery.

  • $175 membership?!? No thanks.

  • i think there are enough people in this city that crave adventure and exclusivity ( and a little pomp) to make this a success.

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