Mouthful

The Underground Kitchen to bring luxury pop-up dinners to Raleigh and Durham

Micheal Sparks (shown at right) of The Underground Kitchen is bringing his luxury pop-up dinner events to the Triangle.
Micheal Sparks (shown at right) of The Underground Kitchen is bringing his luxury pop-up dinner events to the Triangle. Courtesy of The Underground Kitchen

The founder of The Underground Kitchen, a traveling luxury pop-up dinner outfit based in Richmond, Va., is planning to bring his touring events to the Triangle.

Micheal Sparks, a former luxury goods designer, said he hopes to have events planned for Raleigh or Durham by late July. To learn details about any Triangle events, you have to subscribe to The Underground Kitchen’s newsletter at theundergroundkitchen.org.

Sparks, 50, has a fashion background and worked as an accessory designer in New York, London and Europe for such companies, as Louis Vuitton. He and his partner, a physician at Virginia Commonwealth University, moved from New York City to Richmond seven years ago.

Sparks said the move was an adjustment because he was used to meeting his neighbors as they walked, shopped and dined in their neighborhood. That didn’t work in Richmond where people drove everywhere, Sparks explained. And so, Sparks started hosting a series of dinner parties in their home and within a few weeks they knew most of their neighbors.

By 2013, those dinner parties evolved into The Underground Kitchen, luxury pop-up dinners that Sparks would organize to raise money for local charities. He has organized events in Washington, D.C, Baltimore, Md., Asheville, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Va. and Columbia, S.C.

Sparks, who now runs a marketing, web design and branding business, explained that they have three different types of events they offer: a three-course dinner at a new restaurant for $85 for about 70 people; a typical five- to seven-course pop-up dinner with wine or cocktails for about 75 diners who do not know the location until about 48 hours beforehand for $150 to $250; and a high-end pop-up experience for $200 to $350.

The dinners are more than just good food and wine, Sparks explained: “We’re trying to create community and a great dinner party.”

If you are interested, read more about The Underground Kitchen at theundergroundkitchen.org.

Weigl: 919-829-4848;

Twitter: @andreaweigl

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