One of the most exciting entrepreneurial directions for Brooklyn is, of course, the burgeoning food scene, and once again, a DUMBO-based company is at the center of the market, with a unique digital spin. Underground Eats describes itself as a members-only market for the best culinary experiences – that is, anything that’s not going to a restaurant and ordering off the menu like you have a thousand times before.
Founders Harris Damashek and Adam Sirois understand the foodie scene. They are foodies themselves and they wanted an outlet for their passion that stretched beyond going to a restaurant and ordering the tasting menu. To them, what was missing was the social element – such a thriving part of the today’s digital economy. Why just enjoy the food when you can meet interesting like-minded folks and have a truly memorable experience? For Damashek and Sirois, as well as thousands of Brooklynites, creating that experience made delicious sense.
Launched earlier this year, Underground Eats has hosted over 100 events, building a user base of more than 10,000 hungry members. What’s the secret to their success? It lies in finding that perfect balance of online community and physical experiences.
“Picture yourself enjoying a ten-course tasting in a private garden, a top-secret dinner in an abandoned Victorian mansion, or a mind-blowing meal prepared by a Michelin-starred chef in your own home,” says the company in their mission statement.
This is one DUMBO startup that is focused on translating virtual connectivity into real attendance. What is most interesting is that within a small time, their reputation has grown such that their members now trust Underground Eats as the source for curated culinary experiences.
Recently, Underground Eats partnered with another great DUMBO startup, “How About We…” for “How About We… for couples,” a new product designed for people in relationships. The “off-line” dating site builds on a similar premise – that online communities should supplement, not replace, in person experiences – and Underground Eats would produce culinary experiences for couples. For the launch, UE brought in “Top Chef” alum, Dave Martin, and celebrity chef David Santos.
Well executed marketing is at the heart of every successful startup we see in Brooklyn and it is the attention to detail and eye for design that wins over discerning audiences and draws new users. Companies must hit on a trend, but also provide a rich and rewarding experience.
Underground Eats is a perfect example of this. They understand the value of using local partners like “How About We…” to tap new audiences while still delivering on their reputation focusing on a beautiful and exclusive online and personal experience. Just look at their website and you’ll get it too. Like a restauranteur, a digital entrepreneur needs to be mindful of not only their product, but the full experience from soup to dessert.