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On a rainy Friday night, 240 guests gathered in an abandoned building to do the unexpected: Enjoy fine dining for a good cause.

Birmingham’s first-ever Dinner Lab was held on April 17, 2015.

Ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities raised fund to support the work of the UAB MHRC to improve the health of vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities in Alabama and across the country.


The unconventional space was an abandoned Goodyear tire warehouse, near the UAB campus. The chef was Kwame Onwuachi, formerly of 11 Madison Square and Per Se, now of The Shaw Bijou, opening in Washington D.C. in the fall of 2015.

The Celebration Host Committee was chaired by Dudley Reynolds and Corey Hartman, along with Frank Adams, Jr., Lajuana Bradford, Cathy O. Friedman, Koko Mackin, Wendy Padilla-Madden, Foster L. Ware, III and Donald Watkins, Jr., all members of the UAB MHRC Philanthropic Committee.

Dinner Lab is a membership-based social dining platform that connects undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners in unconventional spaces. Members may attend events in any city where Dinner Lab operates. Guests at the MHRC Celebration, Introducing Dinner Lab were able to attend without a membership to introduce Birmingham to this new concept in adventurous dining. In keeping with the spontaneity of a pop-up party, guests weren’t told the location until immediately prior to the event.

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