Chef Leland Cummings loved working in fine dining, but regretted that he rarely got to interact with the customers he cooked for and that he couldn’t be more flexible with ingredients. He also heard complaints from customers about long waiting times and unavailable wait times.
With all of these factors in mind, he decided he wanted to give customers a different restaurant experience, one that would “bridge the gap between expensive fine dining restaurants and everyday foodies, by bringing the highest quality food and service to our guests in a fun, relaxed, and communal environment.” About two years ago, Occam Dining and then the Cincinnati Dining Club was born.
The Cincinnati Dining Club will be a subscription-style membership dinner club. Members save money by paying for a yearly membership (at least 24 meals) instead of each individual meal. Though the membership is non-refundable, each individual ticket is transferable, and if someone does not want to pay in advance, tickets will be available up to one week before the meal, or the day of if spots are still available. Ticket prices are an average of $90 and cover the five- to seven-course meal for the evening, and pairings are available for an additional cost. If partner companies have wine events or dinners, members will have advanced access to these events.
If you’re a foodie who loves good food, good wine, and good conversation, but hates rushing to make a reservation with the risk of losing your table or watching someone at a table that arrived after you get served before you, the Cincinnati Dining Club may be just the thing for you. “Think of it as getting the best seat in the restaurant and not having to compete with other tables for the kitchen’s attention,” Cummings explains.
Cummings also hopes to “shake up the idea of being a regular at your favorite restaurant.” The menu will be seasonal and Cummings describes the food as “thought-provoking,” “fun,” and “delicious.”
Like the other chefs who will be involved with the Cincinnati Dining Club, Cummings has paid his dues in the fine dining industry. “I have been cooking in restaurant since I was 14 years old,” he explains. “I started as most chefs do, washing dishes for a local restaurant after school and climbing the ranks through hard work and passion.” Many past clients have asked him if he would ever open his own restaurant, and the Cincinnati Dining Club is his answer.