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CBS 2 Investigation: Underground And Illegal NYC Dinner Parties
CBS2News NYC ^ | September 11, 2013 | Tamara Leitner

Posted on 09/11/2013 8:16:54 PM PDT by iowamark

As you sit down to dinner, this story illustrates eating out like you have never experienced before. We are talking about super-secret, illegal dining experiences hosted in homes.

CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner went undercover to see firsthand how this underground world works.

It may look like a dinner party, but it’s really an underground supper club.

The diners are a mix of New Yorkers and tourists. CBS 2’s undercover cameras captured one experience — eight people who didn’t know each other eating a meal in a stranger’s home.

That hostess, Naama Shafi, writes about food but is not a chef. Leitner found her through a website, which connects amateur foodies and professional chefs in 20 different countries with people who want unique dining experiences.

Clandestine dinner parties like the one Leitner attended have become more common in New York City. And insiders told Leitner they are completely unregulated.

When asked at the dinner, “do you ever worry about getting caught?” Michael Patlazhan responded, “I definitely do.”

Patlazhan is a professional chef who also hosts underground supper clubs. He cooks with blow torches, nitrogen and even a vacuum machine to create unusual meals.

“That’s the things with supper clubs, they’re in a sense illegal just because they are underground no one knows about them. So if the Health Department did come they would obviously shut it down. So there’s always a little bit of worry,” Patlazhan said.

To stay under the radar, Patlazhan changes the location every time and keeps the guest list exclusive through a members-only website.

“It’s definitely kind of a secret and I think that’s the interesting part about it. And a lot of it is word of mouth,” Patlazhan said.

But some critics have concerns about these unregulated dinner parties.

“It definitely falls into a gray area,” said Leon Lubarsky, owner of Letter Grade Consulting.

Lubarsky’s staff of retired New York City health inspectors advises restaurants on health regulations.

When asked if the underground restaurants should be regulated, Lubarsky told Leitner, “Yes, they should be regulated by the same system that regulates every restaurant in New York City.”

The Health Department refused to discuss the issue on camera but in a statement told CBS 2: “In New York City, people who offer meals to the public for money are considered food service establishments and need permits. The city does not allow meals to be served to members of the public in someone’s home.”

So, Leitner went back to ask Shafi about the dinner parties.

Leitner: “You guys are breaking the law by serving people meals and charging.”

Shafi: “Yeah. The reality is they are here and people really love them.”

In the meantime, foodies like Shafi and professional chefs like Patlazhan continue to host these covert supper clubs.

“I want to do it as much as possible so my goal would be to do it two to three times a week, so kind of like a restaurant on the weekends,” Patlazhan said.

But if caught hosting an underground dinner party, the hosts could be fined $2,000 and ordered to shut down.

The price to get into one of these underground supper clubs ranges from $40 to several hundred. Some of the hosts say they are in it simply for the love of food, while others hope to turn a profit.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: New York
KEYWORDS: dinnerparties; nyc
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Speakeasy restaurants avoid the over-regulation in New York City.

Video at the source.

1 posted on 09/11/2013 8:16:54 PM PDT by iowamark
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http://www.eatwith.com/

https://www.undergroundeats.com/


2 posted on 09/11/2013 8:18:06 PM PDT by iowamark (I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy)
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To: iowamark

OMG!!!

I bet they even allow salt shakers on the table!


3 posted on 09/11/2013 8:20:08 PM PDT by digger48
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To: iowamark
The idea of NY City Government regulating any restaurants is akin to a gang of homosexual pedophiles regulating day care centers.
4 posted on 09/11/2013 8:20:20 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: iowamark

Well... seems to me that if they offered the meals for free to one another that would remove the shadow. God blesses reciprocity, y’know... that’s heaven’s dance.


5 posted on 09/11/2013 8:21:40 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: iowamark

someone should make a bumper sticker : “Capitalism is not a crime”


6 posted on 09/11/2013 8:22:13 PM PDT by KTM rider
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To: iowamark

7 posted on 09/11/2013 8:22:49 PM PDT by JoeProBono (Mille vocibus imago valet;-{)
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To: iowamark

Try to imagine this story as recently as 1985. We are the boiling frog.


8 posted on 09/11/2013 8:22:52 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I aim to raise a million plus for Gov. Palin. What'll you do?.)
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To: iowamark

Who cares?


9 posted on 09/11/2013 8:24:34 PM PDT by wastedyears (One nation, under wub. Saints Row IV)
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To: iowamark
They'd better be careful or else Dickless will come for them.


10 posted on 09/11/2013 8:25:17 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: iowamark
In some Atlanta neighborhoods they have something similar, where for a fee you gather at someone's home with hundreds of strangers (maybe even rival gang members!), enjoy cheap booze and a DJ, and have a better than even chance of getting shot.

What fun!

11 posted on 09/11/2013 8:25:53 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (There should be a whole lot more going on than throwing bleach, said one woman.)
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To: iowamark

“SWAT, party of 8, SWAT, your table is ready...”


12 posted on 09/11/2013 8:26:11 PM PDT by moovova
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To: KTM rider

And it isn’t.

This is kind of a weird quasi-restauranteurism. I’d bet... all they need to do to get the government to stop trying to regulate this is to make it officially into privately hosted dinner parties. Whoever is hosting offers the food gratis to the guests, who can be as restricted a list as they wish (i.e. people who promise to reciprocate). Do it at some neutral site like a banquet hall if using the restaurant itself incurs difficulties. There’s always some way around this.


13 posted on 09/11/2013 8:27:18 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: iowamark

Is this like a liberty taxi?


14 posted on 09/11/2013 8:27:44 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: iowamark

“they are completely unregulated”

There’s the communist rub: It ain’t “regulated”, meaning taxed. We can choose to go to homes for dinner but not if money is involved. Uncle Stupid wants his cut.


15 posted on 09/11/2013 8:27:53 PM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: CodeToad

... so if they do it for free ... nothing to tax.


16 posted on 09/11/2013 8:28:42 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: iowamark

I’m guessing an unregistered Fondue set is a no go.


17 posted on 09/11/2013 8:36:08 PM PDT by logitech (It is time.)
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To: moovova

“SWAT, party of 8, SWAT, your table is ready...”

PRICELESS!!!


18 posted on 09/11/2013 8:44:36 PM PDT by MeshugeMikey (Block Captain..Tyranny Response Team / al-Kilab Division)
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To: iowamark

Go to any neighborhood with a large number of illegals, and you will find homes with restaurants, rental rooms, convenience stores, and everything else. No big stories about that.
NY is just upset it isn’t getting its cut from the rich guys running this.


19 posted on 09/11/2013 8:44:58 PM PDT by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
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To: iowamark

I throw “Unregulated” Dinner Parties every year, at Thanksgiving.


20 posted on 09/11/2013 8:44:58 PM PDT by gigster (Cogito, Ergo, Ronaldus Magnus Conservatus)
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