By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
Singles with healthy wallets can join a new meet-and-eat group in the Valley called Dinner for Six. For a 13-month membership costing a whopping $595 per person, three men and three women are matched as dining partners at local restaurants.
No cheap date, this: There is an additional $15 event fee per guest for each dinner, on top of the regular restaurant charge for meals and drinks. Members in the group's home base of Colorado are encouraged to make the dinners a weekly event, so with an average check of $40 for a meal, meeting that someone special could cost $3,455 a year.
That's a lot of bucks for a blind date.
The deal is especially risky for women over 50. While others are partnered based on age group, interests and companion preferences, women over the big 5-0 are told bluntly that they "must join with a male of any age." That could be an interesting order -- one kid's meal, and one AARP discount.
"The policy is to keep the ratio of members even, so that everyone has the same opportunity to attend dinners and meet new singles as everyone else," says Dinner for Six general manager Roxanne Maynard. "Single women in their 50s respond at a much higher rate than single men in their 50s."
Maynard adds that because the organization debuted in Phoenix just last month, the policy is not being implemented yet. Currently, the group includes, ironically, 50 members.
Besides, age shouldn't be an issue, since "we aren't matchmakers," says Maynard. "We are a social organization. Our motto is good food, good conversation and good times."
The organization's Web site, however, does proudly boast of fostering more than 40 marriages since opening in Denver seven years ago. It positions itself as an option to bars, dating services or personal ads.
Despite the financial investment, Dinner for Six appears to be a bona fide company. The Denver group has more than 500 members, and is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. Enterprising singles can reduce their costs, too. Sign on four new members during the year, and the annual renewal fee of $335 is waived. Sign up with a friend, and each member receives a $45 registration discount.
Details for participating restaurants are currently being worked out, but Maynard says they will be nice, locally owned places, such as The Bistro at Kokopelli Winery in downtown Chandler and Portland's in Central Phoenix.
Information: www.dinnerforsix.com. -- Carey Sweet