WESTFIELD, NJ – Rob Dietze, co-owner of BKC Kitchens located at 401 Cumberland Street, always knew he wanted to use his kitchen cabinet showroom as an after-hours dining space. With the creation of Dietze & DeLuca Dinner Club last January, that vision became a reality.
“I built this to help people buy a kitchen but the plan was to have events like this,” said Dietze standing behind the BYO bar area awaiting a group of 10 dinner guests. The dining experience is meant to be intimate. “It’s like you’re at someone’s house,” said Dietze.
The concept behind the dining experience was initially to help Dietze’s clients envision their kitchen space and how they wanted their kitchen to flow and function. Together with his culinary arts trained partner, Sam DeLuca, the two have created an intimate dining experience not only for those in the market for a new kitchen, but also for individuals looking for something other than a standard restaurant visit.
“When you go to other restaurants, you get your first course, second course, dessert and then the bill,” said Dietze. “When you come here, you are here for the night.”
Guests are encouraged to engage with DeLuca as he prepares custom menu items in front of members. While the focus is primarily on the food, the two strive to create an exceptional social experience as well.
The annual membership fee is $75 per individual and $100 for couples. Membership entitles guests to weekly dinners along with special events that are scheduled throughout the year. Currently the club has 50 members.
The menu typically changes every two weeks and consists of four courses that follow a culinary theme.
“We recently did ‘game’ night and prepared dishes like rabbit ragu and elk. It was a lot of fun,” Diezte said.
The space is designed for about 10 dinner guests.
"I think one of the most confusing things for people is the misunderstanding that you need to be a group of 10 to have dinner. We do dinner for up to 10 people, but you can be alone, a couple, two couples, etc," said DeLuca. "We really hoped that we would build a community — a place where different people would mingle while having a nice dinner."
While some events and dining experiences are reserved for club members only, Dietze and DeLuca welcome non-members to participate as well.
“Some events are exclusively for members, like wine and cheese tasting, but non-members can participate by paying a small fee on top of the menu price,” said Dietze. The non-member fee is $25.
“We were here two weeks ago and had to come back,” said returning guest Sara Callahan. “It was just that good. We had to bring other friends back here.”
For more information on the Dietze & DeLuca Dinner Club, visit the company’s website at dietzeanddeluca.com.