Note: This post is guest authored by Dave the Traveling Music Man.
Who doesn’t enjoy a great meal! If I could afford it, I would go to the best places every night. But realistically, we all have our limits on how much we can or want to spend. And $175.00 per person is generally a tad beyond my price range. But when you add dining with your favorite rock star into the mix, well, that becomes more than a meal – it becomes an experience!
Enter Stereo Dinner, the brainchild of Jonathan Weiss, Max Puglisi, and Chris Lott. An event dinner concept that is your reservation to wine and dine with your favorite artists. Stereo Dinner’s mission is to bring to you beloved musicians in some of the finest restaurants across the county. To be able to enjoy a dinner and partake in an intimate meet, greet while you eat! Imagine the thrill it is to dine with someone you always admired. Whether you like Keith Richards, Billy Sheenan, Pete Yorn, Linda Ramone or Mick Jagger. Now, not only can you have a meal prepared by amazing state of the art chefs, but you can also enjoy having conversation and a few elbow-to-elbow pictures with them as well in a once in a lifetime experience.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of Zoom meetings, Zoom cocktail parties, Zoom concerts, etc. I’m tired of toasting friends or watching “live” performances through glass partitions that resemble a game of Hollywood Squares. So, after a year of COVID, it was very exciting to see friends (many who came up to New York for this event) live and in person. And, it was even more exciting to see the featured guests of this event. That being: Monte Melnick (Tour Manager for the Ramones) and Lenny Kaye (guitarist for Patti Smith).
The event was held on June 24th in the East Village area of Manhattan at an upscale restaurant called Bar Primi (located on Bowery and 2nd St aka Joey Ramone Place). I have passed by the restaurant many times but never went there for dinner. The event took place in a private room upstairs – it had an intimate feel to it.
Monte and Lenny were already there when I arrived. After saying hello to Monte, the photographer immediately took a picture of the three of us. What a great feeling it was being between two music icons:
Because of a Zoom meeting that the hosts of Stereo Dinner did prior to the event, I felt very comfortable even with the guests that I did not personally know. Of course, it was great to say hello (and see) the people that I did know.
After saying our initial salutations, we all sat down starting off with a glass of wine. Monte and Lenny introduced themselves and immediately started to share stories of their lives on and off the road. In between the story telling, we were served dinner. This was the menu:
During each course, the people in attendance were able to ask questions to the honored guests. One woman asked, “Why didn’t the Ramones want to go down to the Basement?” Another person asked Lenny, “How did you hook up playing with Patti Smith?” We were even shown what the Ramone’s wanted in their dressing room prior to a show:
For the finale, all the attendees went outside to take a group photograph. How appropriate to have the Joey Ramone Place sign above us:
Some final thoughts before I wrap this up. Overall, I had a great time. These events are pricey, so I’d only likely go when the theme or guests are important to me. But think about it, “When do you get an opportunity to do an event like this?” I also note that the dinner was served in a family style way. I feel, for the price you pay to attend, I would rather have had individual portions served. Lucky for me, most of the people sitting next to me weren’t eating much (felt a bit weird asking people, “Anyone want more?”). Also, be prepared to pay an additional fee if you want another alcoholic beverage after the initial welcome drink (no open bar).
Stereo Dinner just started this project. So be on the lookout for future events. It’s a great way to get out of that mono mix and blend into a harmonious experience. Stated otherwise, with Stereo Dinner, you can be the fanboy or fangirl that you always secretly dreamed of being.
P.S. prior to the dinner, all dinner attendees were required to provide the organizers with proof that they were fully vaccinated.