Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Have a Hearty good time

Steve McDonagh (left) and partner Dan Smith on the set with guests at HBTV. (Photo:

Food Network stars Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh—better known as The Hearty Boys—launched HBTV (3819 N. Broadway, 773-244-9866) back in December, but last night the two dining dynamos hosted a media event to demonstrate its unique concept.

What sets HBTV apart from other private-dining venues is that it's truly an interactive experience. In this very intimate and contemporary space that accommodates 10 to 75 (depending if you're having a sit-down dinner or reception), guests get a custom-designed menu, cocktails and a show.

Now, the show is where things get really interesting as they've got a mock kitchen set up as though they're taping one of their Food Network segments. The Hearty Boys host, of course, and bring several of the guests up to join in on the fun of creating interesting dishes, like the savory bread pudding they whipped up last night. This is all taped professionally and every attendee gets a copy of the DVD as a souvenir.

But HBTV doesn't come cheap. It's $125 a head, but think of it this way: You'd probably spend that much—or more—for dinner and a show. At least this way, you're getting a piece of the action.

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