Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Innovative Restaurant Marketing

Sunday, September 03, 2006

If this is your hood we'd love you to come for dinner

My mates & I who live in the local area get together for regular "hood dinners" meeting up for a good feed & a bottle of red. Usually we'd take over someone's house for the occasion.

My background is hospitality so I would usually end up in the kitchen, others would bring dessert or something to start with. Everybody brings wine & even then there's never enough...and Table for 20 works in pretty much the same way. My mates are in the kitchen cooking, friends drop round with bits & pieces and my mum is a fantastic Italian cook so I'm still partial to serving a bit of her home made Tiramisu on occasion.

It started getting out of hand when the neighbourhood dinner table moved beyond 10 people and so we started Table for 20 to keep the tradition going .. but now we're feeding up to 40 people on some nights.

There's a core group of us who started bringing mates along and those mates brought other mates and before we knew it we had people who sort of knew eachother or were loosely connected in some way eating together regularly. We liked the idea of having a regular meal & bottle of wine with friends but also the chance to meet new people who live locally as well...

Everyone who comes to Table for 20 is usually introduced by someone whose already been here, so people come because they like the idea of hood dinners and for some reason it seems to work.

Anyone who lives in Sydney will agree there's no shortage of good restaurants here but the one thing we thought the 2010 area was really lacking was somewhere low key where you can just come & have a feed, open a bottle of wine, meet a few new people and have a laugh. I think sometimes people get so caught up in their day to day lives and we all tend to get pretty isolated and just stick to our immediate groups that we have time for.

My friends say coming to Table for 20 is kinda like coming to my place for dinner except that the dinner party seems to keep getting bigger and you never know who you're going to meet...I like the idea of that.

Restaurant Review - yourrestaurants.com.au

Truly unique restaurant concepts are few and far between on our homogenous dining scene, but Table for 20 attains this illusive goal with their "'hood dinners". Based on the guerrilla-dining concept (where underground restaurants operate out of private homes, spreading the word via text messaging), Table for 20 is designed to feel like an intimate extension of owner Michael Fantuz's home.

Diners text Fantuz (0416096916) to book their place at the communal table - kind of like an RSVP to a universal invite - arriving with bottle in hand by around 7.30pm. The tone is that of a private dinner party (albeit a very large one, including strangers as well as friends) and the homely space and the serving of the food on large platters help to facilitate this mood.

Unlike most dinners at a mate's place, there's naturally a cost involved; however, a portion of this goes to the Hope Street charity - adding a virtuous feel-good vibe to proceedings. In a city adept at sitting at communal tables without making eye contact, Table for 20 aims to bring a bit of sociability to an arguably antisocial neighbourhood.

Shelley Tustin