What the hell is this thing?
Good question! It can sometimes be difficult to describe this unique event. Think of it as a friendly competition amongst neighbors to see who can host the best dinner theater experience around a central theme. Teams of eaters pay for all of the food and are likewise competing to have the best costumes around the theme. Eaters visit each host site in one night and, in the end, host sites are scored by the eaters on food, creativity, execution, and hospitality and unspectacular prizes are handed out.
What is required of hosts?
As a host, the only things required of you are to be able to seat 6 people at a time and serve some yummy locally-sourced food including a vegetarian option (and live within 15 minutes walking/biking distance of the other hosts). Also, you should probably try to be nice and stuff. What you as a host add to that basic foundation is really where the creativity and fun begin! Each house gets a budget to spend on food and drink, so it shouldn’t cost you any money to host.
How much are tickets?
We’ve found that the sweet spot for ticket prices is right around $25. It’s important to us to keep the event egalitarian while also having enough money in the budget for each host site. We’re thisclose to bumping it to $30 for more host site indulgences.
Who makes money on this?
Nobody! All of the money from the eaters goes into the budget for the host sites or for prizes.
Do I have to wear a costume as an eater?
Nope. But you’re going to have more fun if you put at least a little bit of effort into your costume. You’re only paying $25 to have a bunch of amazing food and drink and unique experiences – bring some creativity to the table as well!
What are some past themes?
We often like to keep the themes topical – Word to Your Mother! for Mother’s Day, Spring Equinosh, Holidaze, LOVE!, Wet Hot American Picnic (picnic version on 4th of July), America the Bountiful, EARTH, Hardly Strictly Dinner (around Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in SF (music themed)), Burning Man (late August), The Last Supper (12/19/2012), etc. We’ve also had more general themes like Utopia/Dystopia, Death/Rebirth, A Night at the Movies, Imaginationland, Cook the Books, Astrology, Spacetime Travel, and more. A good theme is one that can be interpreted in various ways amongst host sites and eaters alike.
How many times have you done this?
We’ve hosted over 30 Urban Eating League events.
This sounds like the most amazing thing ever. How can I host one in my community?
It is. You definitely should. We’ve written a manual on how to do it. We’d love to help you make it happen. If you can find three houses willing to host within 15 minutes walking or biking distance (please no driving – gets fairly boozy) then you can totally make it happen.