Meet the ABC Dinner Group: Dining Their Way Through Atlanta, One Letter at a Time

The ABC Dinner Group members Lisa Fey, Kathy Shaw, Rose Kirkland, Susan Morrell, Mike Crandall, Becky Winter, and Susan Donlin smile after another great meal.

What’s the best way to eat your way through your city? A group of friends in Atlanta decided to rely on the alphabet as their dining guide, with an assist from OpenTable.

I talked to founding member Rebecca Winter, who shared,”We started our ‘ABC Dinner Group‘ about six years ago as a way to try different restaurants. Initially, there were four of us initially who wanted to get out once a month, on a weeknight, to have a nice dinner in a nice restaurant without crowds, kids, husbands, etc.” The unique structure of the supper club came about out of necessity at first. ” We found that without any structure to picking the restaurant every week, we ended up at the same old places we had already been. So, we decided to try restaurants, one a month, alphabetically by name.”

They reached the end of the alphabet after three years, an occasion which prompted a designated driver. “When we got to Z, we had one of the husbands drive us around in a van, like a limo service, so that we could drink before, during, and after our dinner to celebrate completing the alphabet,” Rebecca reveals.

The group has grown by a few members, but the core four, including Rebecca, have been constants. Maintaining the intimacy of a perfect dinner party, the group caps its numbers for each dinner at eight. Rebecca shared the ABC Dinner Group’s other hard and fast rules:

1. Celebrate independents. “No chain restaurants!”

2. Order, please. “We had to pick restaurants in the same order as the alphabet – no skipping around.”

3. Christmas is wild. “We allow ourselves a wildcard selection at Christmas;we could revisit a favorite in December.”

4. Eating isn’t optional. “We have to actually have a meal at the restaurant.”

5. Except when it isn’t an option. “If the options are limited, (i.e. Q, X, Z, etc.), we could amend the rules (like when we went to the only restaurant in town that started with a certain letter, but it smelled like a backed-up sewer in the dining room, so we all just ordered gin and tonics at the bar, then left and went somewhere else to eat). We counted that, however.”

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