Twenty years of Spicy Dinner

A popular social community group is celebrating 20 years at a spicy dinner to be held on October 21. Bring in the cake and cue the live music.

Those attending should bring food to share.

“It doesn’t matter if it is hors d’oeuvres, a main dish, a salad, a dessert, or drinks; we suggest servings for at least eight people. While we encourage you to prepare the dish yourself, it’s fine to bring something from a store, restaurant, or bakery,” said Allen Miller, one of the dinner coordinators. “All Spicy Dinners are BYOB. If you bring a bottle that is only for your use, be sure to keep it by your side.”

“Because Spicy Dinner is a potluck affair, the variety of victuals is amazing. The dishes typically range from gourmet to down-home, from spicy to mild, from hand-made to store-bought,” Miller continued.

A little friendly competition is also on the menu.

“Judges select the best home-cooked main dish, side dish, and dessert; and prizes are awarded in each category,” Miller said.

“Spicy Dinners are for gay, trans, and bisexual men who live, work, or play on Utah’s Wasatch Front. It is intended to help male-identifying individuals in our community have an opportunity to meet, make friends, and socialize with one another in a non-threatening, non-sexual environment.”

“Spicy Dinner is often the first stop for guys who are moving out of the closet and need support transitioning. It is also welcoming for guys new to Utah.”

Dinners are held on the third Saturday evening of each month (except December) in private homes in the Salt Lake area. Friends and relatives of the male-identifying community are also welcome.

“We are the friendly people, eager to meet newcomers and have fun,” Miller noted.  

Spicy Dinners got started in October 2003 as a lunch break during the Salt Lake City Gay Men’s Health Summit. Informal pot-luck dinners grew to an organization of 350 members by 2008.

“The thing we had in common was that we all liked spicy food, so that was how the name evolved,” said Logan Brueck for the Fifth Anniversary Dinner in 2008. Brueck was an original member and longtime dinner coordinator for the monthly event.

Currently, the dinners have 790 followers on Facebook. Between 75 and 125 typically attend monthly dinners, with 6 to 10 newcomers each month.

Why the longevity of this monthly gathering? Miller attributes it to many longstanding members who regularly attend (he and his husband Eleandro have been coordinators for ten years). Also, the dinners showcase unique and historic homes, as well as  being ”The Place to be social with a broad range of the community.”

“We want to be a resource to members of our community who are looking for new friends and companions for living life to the fullest. Spicy Dinner attendees often meet like-minded individuals with whom they can travel, read books, play sports, attend plays and concerts, and have a fun life together,” Miller said. “While Spicy Dinner is NOT a hook-up group, more than a few romances have had their start at Spicy Dinner.”

The organization has a Facebook group at fb.me/SaltLakeSpicyDinner. If a person desires to receive an email about each month’s dinner, he needs to forward his name, mobile number, and email address to: SpicyDinnerSLC@gmail.com.

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