Chicago Design Museum Unfolded Show
Chicago Design Museum Permanent Collection
Pitchfork Record, Spaghetti, Veggie Box, Pitchfork Flags, Cocktail Cubes
For 12 years and counting, the chefs of Sunday Dinner Club have been hosting private dinners for their ever-growing community of over 9,000 loyal fans and email list subscribers. These unique experiential dinners are communal seating, multi-course meals featuring the best of what is available from city farmer’s markets, local farms and regional vendors. The food is seasonal, simple, and clean but also refined, thoughtful, and painstakingly handcrafted.

For over 5 years Kitemath enhanced that handcrafted ethos by providing each dinner guest with a custom made menu that paired with and complemented the theme or cuisine of the dinner. As with most menus, the starting point is paper yet we are always looking to elevate the material experience by going beyond the expected white rectangle. By using texture, dimension, custom die cuts, translucency, weaving, burning and any other relevant material interaction, we sought to create a tactile and playful engagement. Often menus were embedded into a thematic centerpiece that invited further touch and exploration. All this made them more than simple dinner menus — they became collectible artistic mementos; an extra course you could take home as a visual reminder of the culinary experience.

Pitchfork Record

“When we enter the dining room, we are always in suspense. We know in advance what dishes will be served, but it’s only when we sit down and pick up the hand-crafted menus that we get a full sense of what the evening will bring. Chinese paper lanterns hang from a centerpiece of branches for an Asian-inspired menu. Seed packets, as if from a garden supply store, foretell a menu of spring vegetables. For an Italian dinner, canned tomatoes bear printed labels describing each course. Kitemath’s menus are displays of artistic design that perfectly complement the dining experience, always in unique and unexpected ways.”

– Carl and Nadia, Dinner Club Guests
Veggie Box

“The menus are such a big part of the experience. They are a nice ice breaker, which is key since you’re sitting at communal tables with people you don’t know, but also enhance the dinner theme. I generally never save any kind of tchotchke, but still have the menus from the vegetable dinners in 2015, which are paintings of beets, tomatoes, eggplant and other veggies. They look like really cool garden markers. I also kept one from one of the Mexican dinners in 2012; it’s printed on vellum, and looks like it should be wrapped around a candle or something. Pieces like that really stand out in a world of super-plain menus that don’t have anything to say other than to list the food.”

– Chandra, Dinner Club Guest
Spaghetti
Burger Patch
Tomato Cans

“Over the last decade, I’ve collected many Kitemath menus to commemorate the wonderful meals at Sunday Dinner Club. The menus are always incredibly inventive, reflecting the food itself in form and design – a favorite is the Italian dinner menu that mimicked a canned Italian tomatoes label. From the New Year’s Eve menu with a functioning Ball Drop, to the original Honey Butter Fried Chicken placemat menus, each design is memorable in a way that added charm and fun to the experience.”

– Lauren, Dinner Club Guest
Short Rib
Pitchfork Flags
Pig Dinner
Cocktail Cubes
Unfolded: Chicago Design Museum
Photo Credit: Kelly Allison, Peyote Creative