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Friday, May 2, 2014

John Perkins Revives His Underground Dinners with Salon1500

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

John Perkins at Juniper. | Jennifer Silverberg
  • John Perkins at Juniper. | Jennifer Silverberg

The best and worst part of underground dinners is that they're so ephemeral. No, you won't be able to eat it again, but you should go because, hey, you won't be able to eat it again. We're not sure if this is John Perkins' thought process (probably not) but the chef and owner of Juniper (360 North Boyle Avenue; 314-329-7696) is returning to his roots tonight for Salon1500.

See also: The Chefs of Iron Fork 2014: John Perkins, Juniper

Perkins is teaming up with Washington Avenue entrepreneurial center Lab1500 and networking and event-hosting company Brains and Bacon for the dinner. It's based on salons of the nineteenth century (hence the name) which were an exchanged of ideas between artists, writers and intellectuals.

"I thought that was a really cool idea, so I had this updated version of that and targeted it specifically to innovators," Perkins tells us. "Originally it was just a way to keep Entre in the news and basically do an underground dinner, but with a little more focus to it."

Perkins got his start in St. Louis by doing underground dinners that really took off, which turned into Entre, which lead to quarterly pop-up restaurants, which turned into Juniper. Entre still operates as a catering business, but Perkins says most of his attention has been (understandably) focused on Juniper.

The three-course meal will be served family-style with a beer or wine pairing with each. Perkins says if Salon1500 goes well, they'll put on the dinners quarterly.

"I thought it'd be a cool event to basically help people talk to each other that might not have this sort of opportunity," he says. so its bringing together potential investors with entrepreneurs and startups and attracting them with food and drink and getting them around the table, at a place where they can talk. It's a new take on networking and better than just your standard mixer."

Salon1500 is tonight, May 2 at 6 p.m. at Lab1500's space at 1500 Washington Avenue. Tickets are $75, available here.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at or follow her on Twitter.

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