Underground Restaurant

underground menu

An underground restaurant, sometimes known as a supper club or ‘closed door restaurant,’ is an eating establishment operated out of someone’s home, generally (though not invariably) bypassing local zoning and health-code regulations. They are, in effect, commercial dinner parties. They are usually advertised by word of mouth or guerilla advertising, often on Facebook, and may require references to make a reservation. An underground restaurant is also known as a ‘guestaurant,’ which is a hybrid between being a guest in a dinner party and a restaurant.

Underground restaurants are popular in Latin America, where they’re known as either a ‘paladar’ or a ‘restaurante de puertas cerradas’ (‘closed door restaurant’). Depending on local licensing laws, they may or may not be illegal; either way, they’ve been built into the culture for decades, and often have higher standards than many licensed establishments. The attraction of the underground restaurant for the customer is to sample new food, often at low cost outside the traditional restaurant experience, which can be expensive and disappointing—underground restaurants have been described as ‘anti-restaurants.’

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