There’s nothing discerning diners love more than discovering new restaurants and dishes under the radar. Except maybe tell other people about these new restaurants and dishes under the radar.
Off the Menu Club was launched in Los Angeles in 2015 as a service that gives local consumers access to free secret menu items at city restaurants. Now, it’s a safe bet that diners in Dallas want to join in on the action. The service launches in Texas on September 26, marking the company’s first expansion outside of Southern California.
“Dallas has a growing foodie population,” says Lawrence Longo, founder of the Off the Menu club. “There are so many great concepts popping up every week, so I thought this was a solid market for us to build our platform on. “
Longo has been a foodie for life. Inspired by a secret pizza at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Los Angeles and secret menu items at In-N-Out like the “animal-style” burger, he founded an app where he curated secret menu items. Across the country. This first iteration eventually evolved into Off the Menu Club in order to match diners with these dishes.
“Restaurants are a tough business,” he says. “I wanted to help people get to places where they are doing interesting things. “
Users download the Off the Menu Club app (currently only available on iOS) to access the service, which costs $ 20 per month. Each week you’ll see seven menu items up for grabs, and each Sunday they’re replaced with seven different menu items. A subscription entitles you to one dish offered per day. Participating restaurants vary, but whether it’s a place to sit or a place to take out, you’ll present your app to the restaurant to pick up your dish. Once you’ve used an item, it’s gone for the week.
To get out of the gate, Off the Menu Club works with a mix of fan-favorite and lesser-known restaurants. All the dishes presented will not be a “secret”. Some are signature elements that a restaurant wants to highlight.
Palmer’s Hot Chicken will serve off-menu chicken and waffles; at Shug’s Bagels, it’s an off-menu Buffalo chicken pizza bagel. And at Velvet Taco, members can score the popular Spicy Tikka Chicken Taco.
“It helps to have some known spots out there now, but our plan is to work with everyone from mom and pop spots to places with holes in the wall that not everyone is familiar with,” Longo said.
Since launching in 2015, Longo says the app has developed a cult following in Los Angeles, with people planning their weeks around each new drop. The company now offers 22 new menu items in Los Angeles every week and has extended its footprint to offline events, including pop-ups and a wing festival. He hopes to hold similar events in Dallas and eventually expand to other cities, including Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston.
“Texas is a big part of our plans,” says Longo, “but first we want to make sure we do well in Dallas.”