Dinner Lab pops up on Gallatin Road

At 2412 Gallatin Road sits a slate gray, nondescript building that is full of energy and great talent. The East Room — home recently to another edition of the highly successful East Nashville Underground — is in the back of the house, and Pizza Buds can be found in the parking lot. There has also long been an empty kitchen space, but not any more. It’s now Dinner Lab’s East Nashville residence.
     Dinner Lab originated in New Orleans and was recently established in Austin. Founders Brian Bordainick, Francisco “Paco” Robert and Drew Barrett also felt Nashville would be a great fit for their mission, which is to provide a platform for up-and-coming chefs, sous-chefs, line cooks and even home chefs to tell their story through the cuisine they are most passionate about. One could say Dinner Lab is for foodies looking for something a little different. It’s what might happen if a flash mob and a pop-up dinner were to have a baby. After an initial $100 fee, members are privy to regular updates of upcoming dinners. They have to move fast to snag a ticket though: It’s a one-night affair and sell-outs are the norm. The location is kept secret until the day before the dinner, when an email with all of the details arrives in your inbox. It could be anywhere from a mechanic’s garage, rooftop or warehouse, to an art gallery, museum or farm. Each dinner will cost about $50 with tax and tip included.
     Dinner Lab’s inaugural Nashville dinner was held inside a 100-year-old feed and seed warehouse, currently under renovation to become The Track.One Motorsports building. Earlier in the week a multi-city, Google Hang-Out, Sazerac Happy Hour helped the team with their game plan. Nashville’s cocktail consultants Pour Taste greeted members with a very special cocktail and the dinner party began. Chef Lalita Kaewsawang, the very first Dinner Lab chef in New Orleans, shared her delectably aromatic Central Thai comfort food with Nashville that night. Seated at two long tables were folks from all walks of life. At one moment, there was a discussion about biscuits, a “meat-and-tater” kind of guy loving his first taste of green curry, pallets of LetterLogic mail rolling overhead and Queen and Bowie’s “Under Pressure” was on the playlist. All five courses, paired with a thoughtful wine and beer selection, had the party lingering well after the last course was served.
     East Nashvillians, please welcome one of the newest culinary gifts to the ‘hood. Clare Dietzen is their regional manager and Andrea Pinkard is Nashville’s event manager. If you would like to become a Dinner Lab member, have a space to host a lab or want to share your story through five courses, visit www.dinnerlab.com.