Underground restaurant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

An underground restaurant, sometimes known as a supper club or closed door restaurant, is a social dining restaurant operated out of someone's home, generally bypassing local zoning and health-code regulations. They are usually advertised by word of mouth or unwanted advertising. Websites such as BonAppetour have been created to help people find and book these restaurants.[1]

Depending on the area's law, the establishments may be illegal although they have been around for decades.[2] They are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.[3][4]

The attraction of the underground restaurant for the customer is the opportunity to sample new food, often at low cost outside the traditional restaurant experience,;[5] underground restaurants have been described as "anti-restaurants." For the host, the benefit is to make money and experiment with cooking without being required to invest in restaurant property. "It's literally like playing restaurant," one host told the San Francisco Chronicle, "You can create the event, and then it's over."[6]

As long ago as 2001 the Pemberton family returned from a vacation in Cuba where they discovered a dining phenomenon. “Casa Particulares”,[7] were where tourists could go to sample ethnic cooking at reasonable prices. Arguably the very first underground restaurant in the UK and based on the Cuban model, Brovey Lair is situated at the back of the Pemberton's home in Ovington, a village to the west of Norwich, Norfolk. What makes their restaurant stand out from those who’ve followed the trend is its many accolades. In 2010 Brovey Lair won The Good Food Guide’s Best Fish Restaurant in Britain award and still holds top place as their top rated restaurant in Norfolk.[8]

Notable places[edit]



Hong Kong[edit]


  • Jim Haynes' Supper Club - Paris[9] - considered the original supper club[12]
  • New Friends Table - Paris[9]

United States[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burgos, Annalisa (23 January 2015). "Dining with Strangers". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Perlman, Dan. Mi casa, su cuenta, The Guardian, April 17, 2008.
  3. ^ Smillie, Susan. Going underground, The Guardian, May 29, 2009.
  4. ^ The Secret Feast, The Guardian, February 9, 2009.
  5. ^ Sarah Schindler, Unpermitted Urban Agriculture: Transgressive Actions, Changing Norms, and the Local Food Movement, 2014 Wisconsin Law Review 369, available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2414016
  6. ^ DeFao, Janine. Guerrilla Gourmet, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 22, 2006.
  7. ^ "casa particular cuba .org - Casa Particular organization for renting private rooms in Havana and all Cuba". www.casaparticularcuba.org. Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  8. ^ Lanchester, John. "Restaurant: The Cafe at Brovey Lair, Ovington, Norfolk". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "9 Underground Dinners You’ve Never Heard Of Slideshow". TheDailyMeal. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  10. ^ 'Kitchen confidential: At this underground dinner party, cleaning your plate hurts so good', Maclean's, March 30, 2009.
  11. ^ Toronto 'anti-restaurant' ranked third best new food experience by Food & Wine magazine | National Post
  12. ^ Baker, Vicky (23 January 2009). "Chez Jim". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Thelin, Emily Kaiser (November 2009). "Supper Club Confidential". Food and Wine. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 

Further reading[edit]