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Secret 'Diner en Blanc' pop-up dinner set for September in Pittsburgh

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, 4:18 p.m.
Nearly 1,000 diners took over Gateway Center on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, for 'Diner en Blanc (Dinner in White).' Guests dressed all in white, set up their own tables and cleaned up after themselves.
Photos by Dave DiCello
Nearly 1,000 diners took over Gateway Center on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, for 'Diner en Blanc (Dinner in White).' Guests dressed all in white, set up their own tables and cleaned up after themselves.

In just a few weeks, groups of hungry folks, dressed in crisp white clothing, will gather at several locations throughout the Pittsburgh area as they await directions to the location of a secret dinner.

It is the third Diner en Blanc (“Dinner in White”), organized by Krystal Vangura of Murrysville, Trisha Daniel of Delmont and Lorraine DiNatale of Pittsburgh's Mt. Washington neighborhood.

It will be Sept. 8, somewhere in Pittsburgh, and diners must bring their own table, dinnerware and linens.

“It is, in true spirit, a pop-up picnic,” Vangura said. “Just a little bit fancier.”

The dinner is part of Diner en Blanc events throughout the world. It began in Paris in 1988 when Francois Pasquier invited some friends to meet up for a secret dinner in the Bois de Boulogne. Guests were told to wear white so they could recognize each other. The event was so much fun, they decided to do it again the next year.

Over 27 years, the dinner has evolved into an event that has been held in 50 cities on six continents and attracts 100,000 guests. In 2014, the Paris dinner attracted 15,000.

The Pittsburgh gathering is significantly smaller.

“The first year we had 996 people,” Vangura said. “Last year it was in the 800s. This year we're hoping to creep up over 1,000, but we're trying not to creep up too far.”

It might seem like the logistics of getting 1,000-plus people — and all of their dining accoutrements — to dinner would be the biggest challenge.

Not so, according to Vangura.

“The toughest thing is keeping the location a secret,” she said.

Invitations for previous attendees went out Aug. 22, and through Aug. 31, members of the public can sign up on a waiting list for potential newcomers.

For more, see Pittsburgh.dinerenblanc.com .

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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