SCS Dinner Club to celebrate its third year in April

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 26, 2014

 Members of the SCS Dinner Club enjoy appetizers and place their dinner orders at Ram’s Horn on Jefferson Avenue Feb. 13. The club began on Facebook and will celebrate its third anniversary of St. Clair Shores residents dining together once a month in April.

Members of the SCS Dinner Club enjoy appetizers and place their dinner orders at Ram’s Horn on Jefferson Avenue Feb. 13. The club began on Facebook and will celebrate its third anniversary of St. Clair Shores residents dining together once a month in April.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — With tables pulled together in the back room of Ram’s Horn, the conversation ebbed and flowed, turning from who was still on their way, who couldn’t make it and their last get-together.

But while this group could have been a family or a gathering of old friends and acquaintances, it was instead members of the SCS Dinner Club, who have taken the “Shop the Shores” motto and expanded it to restaurants.

City Councilwoman Candice Rusie helped start the SCS Dinner Club on Facebook as a way to get out of the dinnertime rut.

“We have so many great restaurants in the city,” she said. “I grew up in the city and there are places I’ve passed my whole life but I never thought to stop in. You get into a habit of going to the places you know.”

So many restaurants in the city are locally owned, she said, and the club serves as a way to boost business and get residents together, as well.

It has worked to “get people to go outside their comfort zone and try new things they might not have otherwise thought to try,” she said.

And, Rusie said, it sparks conversation on topics around the city, along with interests, hobbies, jobs, politics and movies, as well.

“The conversations flow,” she said. “It’s good for making friends.”

The January dinner at Cosimo’s Lakeshore House grabbed the attention of almost 40 people, Rusie said, making it one of their biggest dinner groups yet.

In April, the group will turn three years old.

“It’s been pretty steady,” Rusie said. “Some people have been attending since the beginning.”

Sue Nesbitt, of St. Clair Shores, helps Rusie maintain the Facebook page for the group and has only missed a few dinners over the years. Along with trying different eateries in the city, she said, the idea is to support them on “off” days when they might not have as much business, and so the group usually dines on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Nesbitt Feb. 13 at Ram’s Horn Family Restaurant, 23815 Jefferson Ave. She uploads photos of the group after each gathering to an album on the Facebook page.

The group’s December dinner at Gim Ling Restaurant, 31402 Harper Ave., she said, had her snapping her camera more than ever.

“I had to take pictures of everybody’s food” because it was so beautiful, she said. “That was very interesting. There’s been different things about all of them.”

Nesbitt calls and makes reservations for the group after getting an online headcount, and she said they’ve only encountered one restaurant that was not interested in accommodating them. Now, though, she said, they may have to start capping the number of attendees as they begin dining at smaller locations in the Shores.

Mary Ellen Krinke, of St. Clair Shores, started attending the SCS Dinner Club dinners more than six months ago after her daughter discovered the group.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “You tend to have a tendency to hover around where you live.”

She enjoys dining out a lot, she said, so going with a group seemed fun.

“There’s people around that know about what’s going on in the city,” she said.

And it’s gotten her to try new places she wouldn’t have otherwise. She was surprised at Palmers Inn, 28660 Harper Ave., for example, that they were all able to fit. And Krinke and other diners really enjoyed the food there.

Mary Beth Semczak and her husband, Ray, started joining the group in August after their friends — Bob Hofmann and Cynthia Kempton — discovered it.

“I just thought that we needed to start getting out and meeting new people,” Kempton said. “We’ve made some new friends, (and) it’s been kind of fun.”

Semczak agreed.

“Just meeting new people, getting new perspectives on things,” she said.

She said a woman she met through the group even brought her a casserole when she broke her ankle.

“You just meet such great people,” she said.

Rusie said she’s enjoyed seeing the SCS Dinner Club grow.

“We’ll see a couple one month, and the next month, they’ll bring their neighbors,” she said. “It worked out organically that way.”

Future dinners are planned at Shores Inn on March 12, Red Olive on April 15 and Fishbone’s Rhythm Kitchen Cafe on May 14. To join the club at an upcoming dinner or see photos from past dinners, visit facebook.com/SCSDinnerClub.

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