Food News

Dinner in the Sky Over Delray Beach: The View Was Awesome; the Cost, Not So Much

Dinner in the Sky is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You dine. In the sky. A crane lifts a specially-constructed table 180 feet above the ground. Strapped-in diners enjoy a specially prepared meal served by a chef and wait staff who are tethered and work from the center of the table.

It's expensive, opulent, and unnecessary. It is the kind of decadent, over-the-top experience that serves no purpose other than to make you feel all, "Wow, this is awesome!"

Last weekend, Dinner In the Sky came to downtown Delray Beach and I got to take the media preview ride. And, wow, it was awesome! It was as awesome and breathtaking as you'd expect being lifted 180 feet in the air by a crane to be.

Chef Ernesto DeBlasi from Caffe Luna Rosa

rode up with us. He served two of the four dinners Saturday night and

Candyfish Gourmet Sushi served the other two. I'm sure Chef DeBlasi's

amazing tomato bisque was just as delicious as when you eat it on the

ground. In fact, occasionally feeling that woozy sensation in

the pit of a your stomach (ever look down from the top of a tall

ladder?) is probably rather distracting.

It's a gimmick - an expensive gimmick. But I'm not knocking it. The view really was incredible. It's not every day you get to levitate almost 200 feet in the air. What is life without such experiences, even if they are ridiculously expensive? A spot at the table cost $500.

As I was being safety-strapped into my seat my Dinner in the Sky ground crew member AJ Paradise, I quizzed him a bit about the whole thing. Turns out, there are only two of these aerial dining contraptions in the country. One is a permanent fixture located in Las Vegas - no surprise there.

The other is this portable version, which had only actually ever been used once before. That was surprising - and nerve-wracking since I was about to be hoisted up in what was essentially the test run.

The first Dinner in the Sky with this piece of equipment, AJ told me, was four years ago. I looked it up later and it turns out it was right here in Florida at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and New Times wrote about it then, too.

Just the one time? What happened?

"The economy tanked," said AJ.

Ah. Right, that.

While most of us probably still can't afford $500 for one meal, some people can.

The Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative -- which is funded by Delray Beach property taxes -- paid for the event because it was meant to bring attention to Delray's dining scene. It was also sponsored in part by Lamborghini. The $500 a plate tickets were supposed to offset the cost. Delray residents and last-minute ticket buyers were offered seats at $350.

"The event did not make money," Sarah Martin, executive director of the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative said on Monday. "We're just not sure how much it lost yet." (A message left Thursday seeking an updated accounting was not returned by press time.)

According to Martin, the production of the event cost around $100,000 total. Even if they sold out all the seats at $500, they would have brought in only $44,000.

As to the paying $500 to eat dinner dangling from a crane, I can probably think of a lot of other ways I'd rather spend the money first. But the truth is, in a weird way, this ridiculous floating table in the sky means that things are looking up. And, you know what, the view is pretty good.

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Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane