“I was overjoyed to finally get the opportunity to attend one of Paul’s community dining events with members from all over city. We discussed COVID-19 and its effects on everyday living. The conversation was eye-opening and actually challenged my perspective on a lot of things. As someone who is more than happy and willing to “be better safe than sorry” and adhere to orders that have been put in place with the intention of protecting everyone, I found it very fascinating to hear that others feel like the stay-at-home order is a violation of their basic human rights. Comments like this make you wonder what it truly means to be “free” in America. Thank you to everyone who came together to make this event happen. I highly endorse community dinning and recommend that everyone attend at least 1 discussion. Trust me, you will be glad that you stepped out of your comfort zone to partake in this enriching engagement.”

Santucee Bell

Business Manager and Operations Coordinator, Startups & Social Impact Organizations, Self-employed

“Your forums are the best I’ve encountered for safely expressing thoughts and concerns in a shame-free zone, else I would never participate. Thank you.”

Seema Chandarana

Writer and Mathematician, Self-employed

Thank you for your persistent efforts in bringing people together to discuss important issues in a non-political environment.

The format is very good – people introduce themselves and then we share responses to the well thought out questions – with everyone getting a chance to talk.  The best part is when the next responder incorporates the previous responses – indicating active listening.

In looking at the bio’s of the people scheduled to participate, I’d have never anticipated the responses.  

John Perry

Co-founder , Freight Train Ventures

I was so glad to attend Paul Sippil’s Community Dining event, and wow, what a fun and educational night! We had great food, fun people, educational videos and Paul’s fantastic group discussion about current issues in education. We talked about our own experiences in private and public education from preschool through university, what worked best for us and could have been better. We tried to problem-solve for what would create better learning, more socially relevant education and better relationships between people, knowledge and national and world citizenship and stewardship. It was deep, but there were a lot of laughs and great perspectives. One of the many things Paul is great at is leading the discussion and coming up with unexpected thought-provoking questions that kept us engaged and our brains fully challenged. As I said, it was a delightful evening, a stimulating subject and a great group that Paul had assembled. I look forward to participating again and being amongst a group who cares about a given topic and explores it fully. Thank you for a wonderful evening, Paul!

Jason Rosado

Business and Executive Coach, Distinctive Coaching

Meeting new and interesting people; good food; good conversation.  What’s not to like?  Kudos to Paul for taking the initiative to organize Jeffersonian dinners! Looking forward to the next one.

Thomas Patterson

Business Litigation Attorney, Patterson Law Firm

“Though I was disappointed not to meet George Washington, the discussion led by Paul expanded my mind of what is possible, and afford me the opportunity to meet new people with new ideas. The experience was invigorating.”

Steve Dale

Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Pet Advocate, Journalist/Broadcaster, Pet World

“These Jeffersonian dinners are nothing short of wonderful. They provide the rare opportunity for people of different backgrounds and viewpoints to get out from under their confirmation bias and come together for civil and vigorous debate. And what better way than over gourmet food and drink. Thank you for the opportunity to participate!”

Susan J. Russell

Former executive director for the Commission on Animal Care and Control

“Thank you Erica and Paul for inviting me to part of a wonderful dinner. What a wonderful way to discuss issues and ideas stemming in Chicago Animal Welfare Community. 

It was great to hear from the community their views and also ways they are helping or want to help. It’s always a pleasure meeting new people and learning from the community outside animal welfare their perspectives and ideas of what they see happening in Chicago animal welfare community. 
Excited for the next one…..”
Ramona Griffin

Vice President, Taft-Hartley institutional Trust and Custody, BMO Global Asset Management

“Thank you for a delicious dinner. The conversation topics were of interest at the onset and the wonderful food was outstanding surprise!  I enjoyed myself and look forward to the nest gathering with a new group of people… I will be sure to come hungry.”


Tina Wallace

Founder, BARC Chicago

“I recently attended my first community dining event and would highly recommend it. I met and/or reconnected with a friendly and fun group of people who were passionate about the evening’s topic of animal welfare. The individual and group  conversations were very interesting.  As a vegan, I appreciated the plentiful vegan options which were delicious. The hostess and the organizer were helpful and the conversation was facilitated to promote  lively conversation. As an added bonus, I was able to interact with three adorable canine ambassadors!  I would encourage others to attend one of these events. Looking forward to meeting you at a future dinner.”

Carrie Nutter

Occupational therapist

“Jeffersonian dinners are a wonderful way for engaged citizens to exchange ideas and have in depth conversations on a wide variety of issues. They can be an enlightening experience fostering dialogues between diverse views that can present solutions by in-depth merging of the minds. They are definitely a worthwhile way to spend an evening!”

Monika and Alex Shibicky

Animal welfare enthusiasts

“In 21st century America, I find there is a strong cultural avoidance of debate and difference of opinion when people interact. Both online and in-person we create a bubble that supports–and does not challenge–our beliefs. Critical thinking is rarely taught in our schools. All of this leads to a dangerous breeding ground. I believe one of the antidotes is healthy public discourse. Paul Sippil’s Community Dining Program brings public discourse back into the lives of Americans. Pop your bubble and attend one today.”

Danielle Marino

Licensed Clincial Social Worker, Northwestern University

“The Jeffersonian community dinner was excellent. It allowed people with similar goals, and different experiences and ideas to come together to share and further our goals. It was enlightening to hear so many points of view.
It was a well spent evening!”
Wayne Gailis

Development Board Ambassador Co-Chair , PAWS Chicago

“I’ve truly enjoyed so many wonderful meals organized by Paul Sippil and share his vision for bringing people back together of the table!”

Meg Barnhart

Co-founder, The Zen of Slow Cooking

“I truly believe that what Paul is doing with Jeffersonian Dinners and Community Dining is exactly what our democracy needs. The practice of bringing people of differing viewpoints, sometimes fundamentally so, together to civilly discuss the most important issues of our day is what we as Americans need to do if we are to build a more perfect union. Through these conversations, participants are able to express their viewpoints and be heard by others while learning about the perspectives of their neighbors; this process of constructive dialogue erodes the perception that there is an “us and them”, and instead teaches us to appreciate the importance of compromise through listening to all of the competing viewpoints and experiences of the people surrounding you.

It’s easy to hate someone you do not know. It’s harder to do so when you meet them face to face and break bread with them in an act of community.”

Carlos Currea

Director of Coffee & Conversation, Visionary, Community Builder, and Entrepreneur

“I was immediately intrigued by the idea of the Jeffersonian Dinner. I trusted that Paul would organize a well orchestrated event, but I was still more than surprised by the evening!
The first exposure to the group was through reading biographies a week or so before. The group all had impressive, interesting and diverse qualities. I was genuinely excited to meet and connect with each and every one of them.
As we all arrived, Paul shared how he met each of us and it served as a nice ice breaker. The food was delicious and well thought out. As we entered into the topic of the evening, you could see and feel the personalities really emerge. Paul did an excellent job as a moderator and kept the conversation moving nicely. The group all willingly participated with knowledge, passion and respect.
It was truly an experience not to miss. Rarely do we have an opportunity to connect as a group in such a way. I look forward to more Jeffersonian dinners hosted by Paul!”
Daphne Paras

Certified Facilitator

“Paul Sippil knows how to fill a room with interesting people of divergent views, and to get that group talking, as an actual group. It was refreshing to have disagreements without any indignation. I look forward to more dinners.”

Lou Bank

Entrepreneur, Ten Angry Pitbulls

“It is always a pleasure to attend Paul Sippil’s community dinners using Jefferson Dinner concept. It’s dining experience with a purpose. I enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and Paul is such a conscientious host! He carefully and thoughtfully curates the event from every phase and you are left with such an impact. You will be changed for the enrichment of the event. It’s a beautiful concept and I always feel fortunate to meet such incredible guests and to feast on cuisine that is sustainable and carefully sourced. It’s truly an enlightening experience. Paul Sippil’s Jefferson Dinners is worth every moment.”


Tina Mari Rucker

Contemporary Artist

“Paul’s dinners – doesn’t matter if it’s one of his Community Dining experiences or his most recent foray into the “Jeffersonian Dinners” – are a guaranteed good time. You meet new, engaging and exciting people. You get exposed to a variety of views. Oh, and the food ain’t half bad either!! I’ve been attending for the last couple of years and plan on attending them for as long as he hosts!”

“Dinner number 3 with Paul is done and in the can.  Another great evening filled with interesting people, a lively conversation, and great food.  As always, I left full in so many ways.  Thanks again Paul for including me in these adventures.  Looking forward to the next one”
Dave Brethauer

Optimal Performance Coach

“In the age of hollow relationships, endless misinformation, and divisive rhetoric, Paul has successfully revived the original Jeffersonian dinner. As a food connoisseur, with his wealth of contacts and passionate pursuit of truth and authenticity, he has truly mastered the event as curator-in-chief. If you’re interested in having sincere conversations on engaging topics and creating meaningful connections while having delicious locally-sourced grub, few activities are more worthwhile.”


Business Owner

“Paul Sippil is a visionary who consciously and conscientiously selects restaurants/caterers who source sustainable foods from local farmers to create a community dining experience that always includes speakers with relevant, interesting, socially responsible topics. Thus far, I have participated in four Community Dining experiences. Each has added value to my life–in the way of phenomenal food, lively and engaging conversation, the making of new friends and connections, even a new chiropractor! For those contemplating whether to attend, join us! The exceptional Chicago culinary offerings alone make each event worthwhile. Add the speakers, conversation, new connections, and you have richness that will leave you smiling for days.”

Deborah Rogers

Wellness advocate, doTerra

“Paul Sippil is a master at planning the unique dining experience. The Fair Trade Dinner was a beautiful evening full of enriching and educational conversation. Hearing about Fair Trade Coffee from Jacob Elster and Fair Trade Initiatives in Chicago from Katherine Bissell Cordova was inspiring. The dinner itself, by Chef Ronak Patel was simply delicious with everything on the menu direct/fair trade. As a representative of CAUSEGEAR, I was able to network and help with the educational part of the evening, while also learning and just truly having an enjoyable experience rather than only a dinner. Dinner and discussion and a truly amazing evening thanks to Community Dining.”

Denise Harshbarger

Partner Development/Servant, CAUSEGEAR, L3C

“The Community Dining series is relevant to everyone; come for the comida, stay for the conversation and come back for the community.  Paul Sippil built this community at the interesting intersection of food, ethics and intentional living.  He is a connector, and at the center of what makes Chicago part of the national discussion on how we relate to our food and to one another.”

Jake Elster

Founder, Crop to Cup Coffee Importers

“The most important thing to remember about Community Dining events is that these aren’t ground-breaking and novel events per se, but rather the re-manifestations of a lost art in this country… that of people of various walks of life joining together in a communal meal to talk, socialize, appreciate great food and ambiance, and open their minds to various different viewpoints.  I am a firm believer of the Ancestral Lifestyle as an invaluable roadmap to good health, largely because it embraces the social aspect of living — family, friends, community, culture and self-respect — more so than it does food.  It is a shame that community dining, the principle, has ceased to become a norm and is now the rare exception; nevertheless, Community Dining, the club, boldly engages with a diverse group of people, enriching their lives with superb, locally-sourced, shared meals and table conversations.  We are blessed to have a venue in which to tap into our historical and cultural roots, unlocking our potential to engage with others as we were meant to, and appreciating food and drink that was once standard fare rather than the occasional luxury.”

Arturo Silva

Application software engineer, co-organizer for Chicago Gluten-Free, proud omnivore, emerging socializer, aspiring farmer, and appreciator of the unappreciated

“Paul’s Community Dining is a unique dining group. He does extensive research and carefully chooses the places for the dinners and brings together people from all walks of life. He also collaborates and invites relevant guests speakers to be part of the evening. We commend his stance for healthy living and farm to table focused dinners. You get to meet great people, enjoy delicious food and have an informative evening.”

Uma Vaiyapuri and Vineeta Santoshi

Founders, Chutney Devis

“Community Dining is not only an excuse to go out and socialize over great food and drinks with good people. There’s more of an awareness around what is being eaten and an intellectual focus on real social issues. Save me a perpetual seat at that table please.

Topics may start as idealistic talk, or even controversial conversation, but it’s fun, plus, Community Dining (CD) ideals align with what I believe is our responsibility to one another and the environment in terms of living well.

Research Paul has done proves which restaurants have truly take care in what they feed people.   As far as I’m concerned, it may become difficult to find reasons to eat anywhere not on the CD list.

The notable CD restaurants spoken of here are making a big difference and I hope it continues to overflow onto everything and everyone. It seems to me that restaurants, especially those desiring smart people appeal, will have no choice but to do the right thing.”

Laine DeLeo

Founder, Fast Lane to Health

“I have attended multiple Community Dining events and always leave with a profound sense of “community” and feel more intrinsically connected to the individuals attending. Paul Sippil orchestrates a seamless event with a genuine care and focus around consciously sourced food and the importance of connecting to one another through food and the sharing of experience.”

William Taylor

Member relations manager, Illinois Restaurant Association

“Think Jerky is really excited to be a part of Community Dining. We believe in Chefs over scientists, farms over factories and taking the time to Think Before You Eat and so does community dining and its members.”

Ricky Hirsch

Founder, Think Jerky

“The Community Dining experience affords the opportunity to meet with friends and network with new friends to discuss topics of interest and topics that you did not even realize were of interest.  It is a great forum to spread ideas, culture and develop new relationships.”

Jordan Powell

Attorney, Powell Law Offices

“What I enjoy about Paul’s community is that we explore connections with one another and with our food through a community that shares a common passion for making a difference in our health and well-being.”

Daphne Mazarakis

Consultant and Investor

“I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Community Dining events I have attended.  They are always extremely well organized.   I appreciate the attention to detail as I am a meeting planner and am always focused on details.  Great job, Paul! 

I also think the evolution of the events, topics and locations has provided a true community feeling for all who have different interests and palates. Every event I have attended has been filled with a diversity of interesting conversations and people.  I feel a natural high after each event.  It is inspiring to know that there is such a wonderful mix of interesting people who are sharing their stories and a little of their fellowship at the dining table with me.  Paul, I am grateful for this Community you have created.  Let’s all spread the word and inspire more to connect together.”

Magen Elliott

Meetings manager consultant and board member, Yellow Tractor Project

I first learned about Community Dinning when I ran into an old friend Paul Sippil from High School in line at Whole Foods.  Paul is a passionate food enthusiast whose life mission is to share knowledge of farm to table restaurants and the farms that supply them.  To attend one of his events is to gain insight into how food is currently sourced and how it should be soured in the modern era.”

Rich Levy

Founder, Giftie

“As an event planner myself, I know how much goes into the planning and execution of a great event and when dining is involved, there are a lot of elements at play. With that said, I was extremely impressed with the execution of Community Dining. I attended the event at Grange Hall and  felt that Paul was an attentive host and checked all of the boxes that needed to be checked when executing an event of this sort. My favorite part was hearing from the different founders of sustainable products – it was fascinating. I will definitely return and hopefully, partner up to host a joint event!” – @Yogaw/mar

Mar Miles

Event Planner and Yoga Instructor

Good food and community are two potent remedies for not only the crisis we see in healthcare today, but also for our disconnection from our own innate healing capabilities – which I believe is at the root of so many ailments that plague us today. Paul’s Community Dining has combined these for a needed dose of education, support and connection. I always meet the most interesting people, inspiring provocative and poignant discussions in a safe space – with delicious, healthy, consciously sourced foods of course! Indeed a feast for our bodies, minds and souls.

Venessa Rodriguez

Holistic Nutritionist // Conscious Living Coach

Community Dining is an amazing organization created by Paul.  There are so many great aspects of it.  First, I’ve been to restaurants I would have never thought of and getting to try new types of fresh local food is pretty cool.  Then the networking has been very productive for me and my company Nutricio.  Also on a personal level I’ve made new friends because we’ve bonded over our commitment to local, sustainable food.  Some of the events are large but others are small and intimate conversations over dinner.  Hope to see you at the next event!


Mike Hyzy

Founder / CEO , Nutricio

Paul’s dedication to his vision of creating a community based around food; to understand where your food is coming from and how it affects all of us today, strengthens all of us through knowledge. His forward thinking not only educates, but also creates a resurgence in a dying culture of community and conversation. Community Dining is enjoyed through each word and each bite.


Aram Reed

Chef, Chef Aram Reed

Community Dining provides the opportunity to personally experience humanely and locally produced food. It does so by gathering a community of people who both enjoy the food and care about how it was produced, often providing the opportunity to discuss needed changes in policy and practice – from government agencies to farms. National change in food production that promotes humane farming and food safety will only succeed when it is supported by people who sit down at the dinner table, share their expectations on how food should be produced, and act upon it. My thanks to Community Dining for providing that table.


Rich Wood

Executive Director, Food Animal Concerns Trust

Paul Sippil’s Community Dining program truly helps to enrich and extend a sense of community in Chicago.  The dinners he puts together are dedicated to bring together culture and the local community in a way to foster accountability for best farming, sourcing, and cooking practices – not to mention the valuable education attendees receive as part of their dining experience.  I have been fortunate to attend a few myself and truly cherish my experience and learning at these events.  Great work Paul!


Pooja Naik

Food Blogger, Realtor, & Organizing Consultant, The Chicago Pescetarian