Meet & Mangia Aims to Connect Denver Foodies With New Friends | Westword

Meet Market: New Platform Aims to Connect Foodies With New Friends

Meet & Mangia hosts dinners where strangers become friends.
Meet & Mangia has a successful second dinner at Ash'Kara recently.
Meet & Mangia has a successful second dinner at Ash'Kara recently. Meet & Mangia
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Like a lot of recent grads, Emma Sassman (University of Colorado Boulder class of 2021) found the transition to post-college social life in the city a little challenging, eventually deciding that bars and clubs weren’t cutting it for making new friends.

“I felt like I kind of just stuck to the same kind of friend group I had in college,” Sassman says. "I was trying to find other friends, but I was just really only trying to find them through going out, and that was not really providing any fulfillment for me.”

Instead of complaining, the brand designer and web developer started coding. Enter Meet & Mangia, a platform that aims to encourage friendships while enjoying some of the city’s best food. Creating a profile is free and allows users to make a reservation (it costs $5 to hold a spot) for one of the group’s upcoming dinners. The table size is capped at six, which is a manageable size for fostering conversation.

“Living in a city in your twenties and thirties can be isolating,” Sassman notes. “This is the perfect excuse to meet new people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with.”

Meet & Mangia’s first dinner took place at Jovanina’s Broken Italian on May 30, and Sassman says the debut was a rousing success. “It was awesome. I brought my good friend Joe, and there were two other guys that we didn't know, and we just had a great conversation, and we're already planning what to do next! The restaurant itself was also really interested in what we were doing, and everyone was just very excited about it. So it felt really good for it to be received really well on that first night.”

Six diners gathered at Ash’Kara the following week and also enjoyed a great time. The next group dinner is set for Thursday, June 13, at Corsica Wine Bar, followed by Kawa Ni on June 19. The platform currently has more than fifty members.

If all goes well, Sassman sees more chapters of Meet & Mangia in her future. “My hope is to just continue building it in Denver, getting more people to know about it and join, and just connecting people naturally that way,” she concludes. “And then once it is working here...I really love to travel. So bringing it to other cities that I either want to live in or go to is my ultimate goal with this — to just kind of bring it around and connect as many people as I possibly can.”

To learn more about Meet & Mangia and to sign up for the platform, visit
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