Eating with the enemy

Since starting Curated Table I’ve noticed other organizations that are also facilitating offline social connections.  One of those organizations is Grubwithus.  Gruwithus enables its members to organize and find dinners at nearby restaurants.  Sounds a little familiar, right?

Mom always said the best way to beat your enemy is to sleep eat with them, so I decided to organize a Friday night dinner on  Grubwithus to see what the hullabaloo was all about.  I wanted Grubwithus to do for me what Curated Table does for you: tell me where to show up and when, and seat me with interesting people I don’t know yet.

And actually, Grubwithus did just that.  My fellow diners were great and we met at Chifa, which I was obviously fine with.  So if Grubwithus was good enough for me, why shouldn’t it be good enough for you?

The answer is: it might be.  Ask yourself the following questions to decide which means of meeting strangers you prefer:

  1. Are you a creepily gifted stalker?  If you are, Grubwithus may give you a little too much fodder for fantasies.  I was able to discern my fellow diners’ names before I met them, which means I was able to find a video interview of one of them, which means I was able to identify the color of his eyes, which means I was able to pick out wedding colors.  He ended up bringing a girlfriend (who was awesome, alas).  But that brings me to my next point.
  2. Are you in a relationship?  If yes, Grubwithus is probably the better platform for you, at least for now.  You can RSVP with a +1 option, and Grubwithus doesn’t give a damn about your being socially vulnerable for the sake of a more positive group dynamic.  Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing really depends on whether you’re a Rolf Potts disciple.
  3. Do you believe in freedom of food?  If you do, you may have a beef with Grubwithus’ restaurants and preset menus.  The way it works is you tell Grubwithus the price point you’re willing to pay.  Grubwithus then finds a restaurant willing to fill your trough for that dollar amount, provided you eat what they tell you.  Grubwithus does work with some nice restaurants and our food was delicious.  But  I would have preferred having more say in my restaurant of choice and/or menu.
  4. Is a dinner without a drink a proper dinner at all?  I submit that it is not.  However, there are major world religions that disagree with me.  Grubwithus’ prix-fixe menus don’t include alcohol, but when you’re meeting total strangers for the first time alcohol is such an ameliorative touch!  My group of Grubbers ended up splitting two bottles of wine and a pitcher of Sangria. For all the sterility of Grubwithus’ behind-the-scences pre-payment process, we still had a check to split at the end of the night.
  5. Do you trust a venture-backed startup to connect you with interesting people?  Or would you prefer a wine-swilling attorney who makes too many sex jokes to do that for you?  Sounds like maybe you’re screwed either way.

For all my jest, I had a great experience at my Grubwithus dinner.  I’d do it again except that there are currently more Curated Tables planned in Philly than there are Grubwithus dinners.  I’m still looking for a job in September, Grub.

2 responses to “Eating with the enemy

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