Chefs Going Underground to Test Limits
Covert, communal dining catching on, to health officials' chagrin
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2008 7:52 PM CDT
Burgundy bush beans.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Across the country, stealthy foodies are dropping coin and risking, if not imprisonment, then a strong reprimand, to dine at so-called “underground restaurants,” the New York Times reports. Intrepid chefs are experimenting with creative recipes in communal settings, skipping from apartment to apartment, often just steps ahead of local health departments. Though prices are steeper than Applebee’s, they are often at cost.

The more popular these covert chow-downs get, the likelier government will raise an eyebrow. “If you’re serving food to the public, you need a health department permit,” one official said. But devotees of the new movement prize the fresh ingredients and camaraderie. “Any night of the week you can go out to dinner, but this is unique,” one entrepreneur said.