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New Orleans-based Dinner Lab raises $2.1 million for expansion 

  Dinner Lab (www.dinnerlab.com), the New Orleans-founded, membership-based supper club which allows up-and-coming chefs to show off their chops for crowds of adventurous diners, announced its first round of outside funding June 3 to the tune of $2.1 million.

  An organization with an appetite for national expansion, Dinner Lab has gained the investment of Whole Foods Chairman John B. Elstrott, among others. What started in August 2012 as a way to grow the food scene in New Orleans has turned into a 10-city, 50-staff member operation.

  "We're super excited to be building this company in New Orleans," CEO Brian Bordainick says. "A lot of people said that the funding mechanisms are not in place to do this here, but we certainly believe that a truly scalable business can attract capital from right here in New Orleans."

  Dinner Lab is a membership-based dining experience that's equal parts high-end pop-up and supper club. Diners buy a membership for a calendar year, then purchase tickets to individual events hosted in unusual locations from abandoned school buildings to warehouses. The tasting menu-style dinners range in theme from Bangkok street food to Basque cuisine.

  "While this funding announcement is great news for our company, the real work lies ahead," Bordainick says. "We want to build something truly special here, and in order to do that, we've got a ton of work to do."

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