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The Future of Mystery Meet

The Future of Mystery Meet

by Seth Resler · March 9, 2011

Last night was my last Boston Mystery Meet, at least for the foreseeable future. I started this crazy little project nine months ago, and I had no idea that it would take off.  It’s been profiled in The Boston Globe, on WBUR-FM and by a number of other media outlets. Dozens of people have come out to our various events and I have met so many wonderful people.

I could not have predicted this. The truth is that Mystery Meet became something very different than what I initially expected. At the beginning, I thought it would be sort of a one-night Restaurant Week: I would be able to negotiate a good price from the restaurant for a prix fixe menu in return for delivering a large crowd on an off night; people would come with their significant other, eat a meal and leave. I certainly did not foresee this becoming a social event, where people made new friends and enjoyed lively conversations. To me, that was too much like a singles night or business networking event. As it turns out, however, people really enjoy getting together not to seek out a life partner or swap business cards, but simply to talk about their passion: food. I fully underestimated the power of a good meal with good company.

Perhaps that’s why we developed so many loyal followers. Some of them are food bloggers, like Glenn and Katrin of the Wine Dine With Us blog. Others are simply passionate foodies, like Frank and Adriana, who regularly drove 90 minutes each way to join us from New Hampshire. Many came in pairs. Others, like Heather, repeatedly came solo.

From the beginning, I had hoped that the mainstream media might pick up on the event. I never expected them to pick up on it so quickly. Scott Kirsner interviewed me for the Globe‘s technology blog before we even held our first event. (I later learned that his wife is an accomplished food writer.) Devra First, the paper’s restaurant critic, called a few months later to interview me for the paper’s food section. I was shocked by how quickly she discovered us, since we had only held two events at that point; I’ve since been told she has her finger firmly on the pulse of everything culinary in this city.

The Globe profile changed the demographic of the event. Previously, attendees were primarily 20- and 30-somethings who found us through social media. After the article, the age range expanded in a way that added a nice depth to our outings. The common trait of every participant, young or old, is simple: they are all passionate about food.

Now that my personal journey will lead me back to California, I must leave Mystery Meet Boston behind. But after seeing the support and passionate that the attendees have displayed, I can’t let it die. So Mystery Meet Boston will continue, hosted by local food bloggers and other passionate foodies. They will pick the restaurant, write the clues, meet and greet the attendees and photograph the event. I will still handle all the logistics: posting on the website, sending out the emails, setting up the ticketing, etc.

Our April Mystery Meet will be hosted by Jacki and Meesh of the Just Add Cheese blog, and Glenn and Katrin of Wine Dine With Us will host May’s affair.  For June, I’ve been working on something special with folks in the Mayor’s office.  If you’d like to help me plan a Mystery Meet, please let me know – I’d love to have your help!

I plan to launch a San Francisco Mystery Meet this summer.  Keep watching this blog for details, and please let your West Coast friends know they can follow us on Twitter.

Thank you again for everything, Boston! I hope to break bread with you again soon!

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Comments

  1. Seth -

    I will always be grateful for you taking a chance on Dining in the Dark. You helped launch it and that journey will continue. I have some great contacts in SF and would be happy to help you there or here. I enjoyed Mystery Meet with my daughter and with my wife and I hope to continue to go in the future.

    Be well and good luck,

    David