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Data-licious: How Dinner Lab Used Feedback to Improve Food and Conversation

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This story appears in the March 2015 issue of Start Up.

In 2011 Brian Bordainick moved to New Orleans—his assigned location with Teach for America—and soon became fed up with the city’s late-night dining choices. Not a cook himself, he invited a dozen people to a neighbor’s house for a Thai meal prepared by a friend. 

KatieBird Photography
A Dinner Lab set-up in an L.A. warehouse.

The food was exceptional, but the then-26-year-old Bordainick was struck even more by the intimacy created by the space, and the conversations stimulated by the food and the chef’s story. So later that year, he hosted a pop-up Indian meal for 85 people in a former brothel in downtown New Orleans. He continued hosting pop-up dinners featuring local chefs in and around the city until the idea for his company, Dinner Lab, finally crystallized. 

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