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Algonquin Dinner Club Offers Food and Wit

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On a Monday night back in May of 2006 five friends got together for dinner at

Sylvano

on the beach. Their goal was to forgo the usual gym or couch potato routine and enjoy a meal out amongst friends. Seated at a round table in the corner, these five professionals deemed themselves the Algonquin Dinner Club, after the celebrated 1920s group of writers, actors and critics who met for daily lunches at New York's Algonquin Hotel.

But unlike the literary elite of the roaring '20s, this meeting of the minds and wits is more about the food than books and poetry. Today, the social culinary club boasts a mailing list of 800 and draws anywhere between 30 and 80 diners to a weekly Monday night restaurant rituals.

The group has grown organically over the years Beth Persons and Joanna Popper, two of the original five who spearheaded the formation of the dinner club, had no idea it would grow to the size it is today. "It's become a social lily pad," says Persons. She adds that the the weekly dinners are attended by both locals and out-of-towners who have heard about it through friends.

Although it set out to be a social network for singles, the appeal of a nice meal at a reasonable price draws couples as well. "It's just as much about the restaurant and the food as is about meeting other people," says Popper.

With three-course menus priced between $30 and $40, including tax, tip and a glass of wine, they definitely give Miami Spice a run for its money. What started out as a way for some friends to expand their social circle has become one of the most popular gatherings for the young professional crowd. So next time you're hungry for some social dining on a Monday night, check out the Algonquin Club on Facebook or Google groups and join in the fun.

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