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  • John Wynn

    I love to entertain and I do so often but always with the same group of friends. Having recently moved to a new neighborhood I think this will be an awesome way to meet some new people,

  • Feel Good

    What a fabulously fun and feel good idea. Anything that brings people together in a community can only be GOOD!

  • Ryan Patterson

    Across all of the Neighbor dinners I've attended, the overarching vibe has been simply, meeting good people.

    Meeting people you kinda know but not really, meeting friends of friends, meeting complete strangers with similar interests, meeting the guy who started the website company that you happen to use, meeting foreigners, meeting the people who prepare your food, meeting old friends, and meeting stragglers coming in randomly after dinner.

    A meal is a coming together story, the same story told many ways by many people. The last thing I want to do in New York is eat alone, and this space that Archie and Emily have is a gathering place for Neighbors, and why not eat together cuz everyone's hungry. They happen to make good food, and they happen to charge a reasonable fee for the preparation of this special occasion. Everyone's happy to pay since they don't let anyone help with the dishes (plus, open bar beforehand? duh).

    But their home is truly a collector of aromas and people and ideas, which is why I continue to go and recommend it to everyone.

  • Ashley Stevens

    This is great! We have community dinner party groups here, and I signed up to host. My apartment would only work for a group of 6-8, so I'm thinking I'll start a Sunday afternoon brunch popup. (Brunch is favorite meal!) But I'm also thinking I'll bring a jazz combo (being in New Orleans) for an outdoor jazz brunch. You should try it! Then your friends/customers get a little more culture-bang for their buck.

  • Elizabeth812

    It's not in my home, but I do belong to a volunteer group called "Community Kitchen".
    On the last Wednesday of every month we get together and make fresh "homemade" meals for about 20 - 30 guests. We're always careful that we don't use anything that somebody might be allergic to - no tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, etc.
    It doesn't cost anything to the guests, the food is donated by the InterCommunity Health Centre.

  • gardengreenangel

    We have our kids at school host a meal for the Senior Citizens. The students pick a theme, decorate, set tables, dish out the food and feed and put on a little show/dinner theater/music for the seniors in our community. It is rewarding for all those involved.

  • M Jolly

    It's a wonderful concept, and it's clearly a huge amount of work. But why did you chose to omit the fact that you charge folks $50 each? This is misleading at best. It's not a side note that you collect $1000 per dinner.

    • blueraven

      that's why they called it restaurant and not charity ward. As you said, it's a wonderful concept and it's clearly a huge amount of work. Why did you choose to rain on their parade?

    • girl0032

      It's clear as day on their website. Maybe it wasn't mentioned because that's not the reason they do this. Food for possible 20 or more is not cheap. It's clear that $50 is pretty reasonable considering the prep and quality of the food. Sad that you chose to waste your energy by ignoring the GOOD and searching for the bad.

      • M Jolly

        if you read what i wrote you'd see that i DID recognize the good. i think the piece should have been more honest and transparent.

  • Stacie Colburn

    We do this in Baltimore as well- we call it "family dinner" and have a different theme each time.... Italian night, Mediterranean, etc. We even have an ugly sweater thanksgiving dinner with the same group the week before the actual holiday. Every person brings a bottle and a dish. It's certainly something to look forward to!

  • Claire Maxson

    We started having people over to our house for Sunday dinner after a long weekend of having my husband's friends in to watch the NFL draft. I put an all call out on Facebook that we had food leftover if any one wanted to come by. They kept coming every week, we hung out on the patio and in the garage since it was nice out. It eventually turned into pitch in and everyone brought a little something. We then developed it into themes - we started with foods that started with each letter of the alphabet and did 26 weeks. We had a score board for who had the best finds - a bag of Kountry Kitchen Kettle Korn would earn you 4 points for K week. When we got to the end of the alphabet we took a little break and started back up the next spring. We stuck with the 26 weeks which fit the weather in the Midwest pretty well and worked through different themes - last year was song titles "When you Dip, I Dip, We Dip" (dip night), "Brown Sugar," "Chop Suey", "On Top of Spaghetti," etc. Friends have brought guests which have in turn become our friends. We fold them into the group and keep going. Some weeks its the 5 regulars some it is over 20, just depends. We have a Facebook group with 50 members. Summer Olympics night is well attended annually. We are beginning our 5th season this coming Sunday. Our new theme is special ingredient - apple, next week bacon. Should be interesting to see what people come up with this year. It reminds me of Sunday dinners at my grandma's house when I was a kid. I know at least once a week I will get to catch up with my favorite people.

    • Rosey Villero

      love this! I've lived in my home for about five years and sadly, have only spoken with one of my next door neighbors :( I would like to try out Neighborday and hopefully I've missed out all these years!

  • Adam Saynuk

    Archie and Emily are lovely friends of ours. My wife and I have really enjoyed both Neighbor dinners we've been to. Always meeting great people. Getting out of your comfort zone, meeting strangers, opening up and enjoying a relaxing time and meal in a warm and welcoming atmosphere... that's what it's all about.

  • Lisa Napoli

    I've been hosting open houses for years now and love it! Glad to see this is a growing trend. OWN and Emily-Rose Wagner made a video about it: https://vimeo.com/27706496

    • Zachary Slobig

      Great to see you here, Lisa. Your open houses are legendary—particularly in the radio world. Some day I'd like to crash it.

  • Frank Plucinski

    Thank you for reminding me of what we use to do while living in England and also during time in New Mexico. How pleasant thise days were for all who came to these get togethers. Let's see if this works here in Arkansas even though they are not exactly the same types of folk.

  • Sharon Kelly

    A novel way to form stronger ties within one's community...I like this. As for the criticisms of this as a "hipster" activity, I really don't see that in this example. To add more power to this communal event, I would have everyone donate a fee (set in advance) and collect them to give to an organization which provides a critical benefit to the community they serve. I would love to try this in the future (just for the experience).

  • jmcg02908

    My parents used to host breakfasts every other Sunday morning until 2 PM. Worked well. Very neighborly.

    I and my room mates used to host a lot in Cambridge Ma. Chatter, hors d'oeuvres. Sit down dining. Buffet desert and coffee. Sitting around chatting. But we were young then. We'd invite a deliberately odd assortment. We made sure people mixed by taking them around and introducing them to each other, adding some point about why we thought they should talk, even if we made it up. Worked, especially after a few drinks.

    My mother also had tea and sweets at 9 PM. Neighbors dropped in. Lots of laughs, witty comments. Nice homework break.

    • Lindsey Smith

      This looks so cool! Just signed up to get a passcode. Too cool Audrey

      • Audrey Bellis

        That's awesome Lindsey! Maybe I'll see you at one, Chef Anahita is ah-maz-ing!

  • Lisa Stockwell

    I did something similar once a month for a year. I decided to accept that none of my friends ever entertain and get over the fact that when I do, few others reciprocate. So I announced my salon to several friends, with the thought that the group would change each month and there would be opportunities to meet new people. But everyone on the initial list made a point of saving the date so they could come each month. And some brought friends. And while I can handle 10 comfortably in my small home, the group grew to 14 or 15 and it became harder to have conversations. In the beginning, I had one or two friends who always helped with dishes, but then they couldn't keep coming and everyone else got used to the work being done so the dishes were left for me. After a year, I decided to end the experiment. I am not quite so open as Gertrude Stein was in Paris in the '20s (my model) and decided I didn't love hosting people I didn't necessarily like and wanted the opportunity to invite other friends who I had no room for because no one else ever dropped out. In theory, it sounds wonderful, but maybe once a quarter or even once a year would be enough to bring the community together. (Our neighborhood does a potluck once or twice a year and it's time to send out invites to another one.)

  • alterego1980

    I'm pretty sure you can't charge unless you have a business permit/license. SO assuming you don't, do you ask for donations? Do you hand select the guest list? Another Brooklyn hipster tale where the details are glossed over to make it sound awesome. I'm thinking it's a lot of work for the hosts, maybe rotating the responsibilities/home would keep it fresh. hey, whatever works for you.

    • Emily Coates

      Would be happy to let you know about any details if you're interested! This article though wasn't about detailing the process of putting on a dinner, rather, the interactions that happen when a bunch of people are eating a meal together, and some of the great experiences we've personally had doing it.

      Our guest list is strictly first-come first-serve, no screening! The random mix of friends/strangers/locals/out-of-town visitors has never failed to create awesome conversations.

      It is a ton of work for us — but we love cooking and entertaining and have a great time doing it — so it's worth it.

  • AJ Bellarosa

    What a great way to bring people in your neighborhood together to "break bread". Getting to know people "in the flesh" more important than ever, especially in the age of social media.

    • Emily Coates

      Totally agree! We have seriously met so many friends through doing these dinners, more than I could have imagined.

  • Shayne Thomas

    I've been thinking about doing something similar with smaller groups of people...around specific topics of conversation with accompanying "themed" food. I haven't had the opportunity to host my first "salon" of sorts yet, but will be doing so in the very near future. Any tips?

    • Emily Coates

      The biggest thing I would say is to start small. Just invite a few friends over and they'll bring a friend you don't know. That's how new people will start knowing about it/attending.

      Choose food you know and love to make so you can focus on the event itself. Lots of people are surprised we don't actually sit down with them and eat, but we're cooking 4 courses for 20 people! There's no time to sit down. So just be conscious of that. If you want to sit down and eat with everyone and enjoy the conversations, keep it simple and choose stuff you can prep ahead of time.

  • jeremy.werst

    Um, so basically it's just like a potluck but only the hosts cook? This seems an awful lot like what people I know do several times a month, only charging for it. And really, is that even legal? Don't you have to pass food safety regulations if you are serving and charging for food? I'm fairly certain that a regular household kitchen doesn't cut it.

    Seriously, I don't even get how this is special at all? Because there's an email sign up form? Um, there are 100s of places that will let you make one of those for free.

    Lame.

    • rlissner

      I LOVE the Depanneur! And I frequently go to their drop-in dinners. The man running the scene does a great job of putitng the spotlight on small time restauranteurs and culinary folk, and I am glad he himself is getting some recognition here.

  • angelamwells

    Wow, this is so awesome! Aren't you scared to bring strangers into your home? Are there any concerns with theft?

    • Emily Coates

      Thanks @angelamwells! Every guest that comes to a meal of ours is seriously amazing. It's never felt like strangers in our home — I think if you're inviting someone into your home, they really respect and appreciate that. I can't really think of an instance in the past two years where that hasn't been the case!

  • Maryann Hoyt

    Thanks! This will be an inspiring story for our committee to share when soliciting dinner hosts for this year's #DWFCHS @LASCHS @eventcoop @good

  • mirandacastro

    do people pay for their dinner? how do you charge? dying to know!

    • budd4pres

      Share your thoughts or insights…I would like to know the same as it could become quite costly-great idea! TishW

      • Emily Coates

        It definitely gets costly, especially for as many people as we serve in one meal! We also don't want to skimp of food quality for such special events. Everyone makes a donation to cover the costs of the food and drink, and they just bring it when they come to the meal, really casual.

  • ruckelshaus

    I love this! What do you do to keep expenses low, and do you charge or ask guests to share costs in any way?

  • Emily

    Love this! I just moved to a new area and it would be nice to find something like this... maybe one day host something like this!

  • Diana Ahrens

    this is incredible. when i move into a place with a slightly larger dining area, i'd love to start doing something like this. would you be willing share recipe ideas and/or more tips? so cool.

    • Emily Coates

      We got our current apartment mainly because we realized it was big enough to do the dinners out of! Space is definitely a factor that allows us to have them the way we do. Would love to give you advice from my experiences anytime! In the meantime — Food52.com is an amazing for home cooks recipes!