Join the New Social Network Grubwithus and Make Friends Over a Meal
One of the coolest parts of living in a city is the vast opportunity to meet new people. Only sometimes it’s not as easy as one would think to make friends, especially if you’re the new kid on the block. Other times, cities can seem claustrophobic. Too many people, too many of the same old friends and too many Sunday brunches filled with gossip and yesterday’s love sagas.
This is where Grubwithus, a new social network bringing strangers with similar interests together over a meal, comes in. It’s similar to Meetup in the sense that you can choose to get social with a slew of different groups — from tech startups to singles — only the focus of the gatherings is a delicious (hopefully) multi-course, prix fixe meal. Users can opt to sign-up for an existing pre-arranged dinner, or set one up themselves. There is even an option to create a personal profile, so that “grubbers” can connect with one another before the event takes place.
Grubwithus launched in August 2010 in Chicago and has since expanded to several major cities including San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., and also has plans to expand internationally. The Los Angeles-based website was founded by Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano, who first opened several franchises of a cream puff company in Los Angeles and Chicago. Since the two already had a close connection with the Chicago community, they reached out to several restaurants to host the first few Grubwithus public dinners for Chicagoites seeking new friends. And it appears that word has gotten out on this super-cool social network, attracting the attention of investors like Y Combinator, First Round Capital and even Ashton Kutcher. The company recently closed its Series A round of funding for $5 million.
Although the purpose of Grubwithus is to meet new people and form relationships, most of the restaurants that participate in the program are actually trendy spots serving up good food. “There is no format. No agenda, no assigned seating,” explains Amy Partridge, director of communications for Grubwithus. “Sit down, find where you’re comfortable. The meal is served family style. It’s a social lubricant. People at the very least can find a conversation by asking someone to pass a dish” (GOOD).
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