Archive for January 29th, 2018

Service of Supper Clubs: Newark, N.J. Has a Winner

Monday, January 29th, 2018


I’ve heard about contrived ways to meet people in a city, none of which appeal to me. One resonated in such a way that I wished I lived or worked in Newark, N.J.  Liz Leyden described it in her New York Times article, “He Was Tired of Eating Alone. 400 People Came to Supper.”

She described a supper club with a welcoming vibe. The founder did such a great job with his Brick City Supper Club, started in Newark eight years ago, that it continues to live and thrive even though he’s long left town. Far from a new concept, it’s a joy to learn about a project that works so well for all concerned.

Photo: Brick City Supper Club

Founder Frank Martinez moved to Newark from the Midwest. As the title states, he longed for eating companions so he invited colleagues from his office to eat dinner with him at a restaurant and half a dozen showed the first time. According to Leyden, he based his club on the ones around his grandparents’ Wisconsin dairy farm. Word about the weekly dinners spread well beyond the Department of Economic and Housing Development where he worked.

The club, now almost 400 strong, has an executive committee and chairman, Rob Thomas. Thomas uses Twitter to send out smoke signals about upcoming events. The team chooses the restaurants for dinners that today take place twice a month. Leyden wrote that there were 50 who gathered one cold night this month. “They were young and old, new to Newark, and born-and-raised. They work as lawyers, municipal employees, accountants, graphic artists and at least one elevator saleswoman. Most live here, others commute in for jobs and stick around for dinner.”


The club meets on Mondays, because restaurants appreciate business on a traditionally slow day. They travel the city to dine at old favorites and seek out new watering holes that can use the exposure. In addition to seeing old friends and meeting new people, the members are supporting their city’s eateries. Thomas told Leyden they’ve been to some 75 restaurants over the years. One member created a spreadsheet of restaurants “so she is ready when office mates complain that there is nowhere to eat in Newark.”

Leyden wrote: “Bridges have sometimes been built beyond supper. They have eaten in one another’s homes, joined an investment club run by one member, become neighbors who borrow sugar and meet for brunch and birthdays.” One couple marveled at how welcoming to newbies the members were.

Have you been a supper club member? Do you know of successful ones? What other relaxed ways are there to meet people where you work or live?


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