Off the Menu, a new members-only dining club that hails from California, has officially landed in Dallas.
Here’s how it works: Subscribers pay a $20 monthly membership fee for access to one free dish per day via the Off the Menu app, often a secret menu item, at participating restaurants across the city. The freebie doesn’t come with any terms and conditions, like a minimum purchase, though co-founder Lawrence Longo tells Eater that the app’s users generally tend to buy other items in addition to the free dish.
Each week, the app will refresh with a line-up of new options from both new and stalwart establishments like Lucky’s Hot Chicken, Serious Pizza, and Deep Ellum newcomer Harper’s. Restaurants don’t pay to have their offerings presented to Off the Menu members, but must agree to serve the free menu item. According to Longo, many of the establishments he’s worked with use the free item as a way to experiment with new dishes and get feedback from diners.
The app’s main goal, though, is to help its users discover restaurants that have flown under their radar. “Our bread and butter is discovering the restaurants that not everybody knows about,” Longo says. “There’s so many people out there who just aren’t good at marketing their restaurants, but they’re great at making food.”
Off the Menu got its start in California a little more than four years ago, with restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange County, and quickly took off. There, the company hosts pop-ups and other events, including bringing exciting eateries from other parts of the country to L.A. Its arrival in Dallas has also been met with a great deal of anticipation — before the app launched, more than 1,000 prospective members signed up for its waitlist.
Off the Menu is now currently available in Dallas, but only for folks who use Apple iPhones. The company says that an Android app is in the works.