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2018 is the year we took on our newest venture in communal dining, and are proud to share the intimate details our most recent pop-up dinner party. Titled the Stargazers Dinner, we were inspired by new beginnings and our opportunity to look upward and out, rather than in -- 45 of us gathered to share this new experience. The idea of pop-up dinner parties is not a new one, but relatively new to the citizens of Fayetteville. And boy, do we have some fun in store for you all! [Pictured Hanah Ehrenreich, Katherine Ilona, Kaitlyn Lusk, Ingrid Marthy, and Gathered Owners Amanda Elias & Meagan Riggs]
What is Communal Dining?
For those unfamiliar with communal dining, think family-style eating with large, hand-passed dishes. Sharing a bit of ourselves as we break bread. And wine - ohh the wine! I've heard some find this concept to be 'millennial' but it actually is deeply rooted in tradition and culture across the world. Many European nations still receive customers on long tables, encouraging community between large parties. Think 'Oktoberfest' if that helps create a visual.
Our passion for communal dining stems from our mission to gather and grow community. And we think community stems from connection, and connection from relationship, and relationship from time spent together. It's a proven fact that human beings are more comfortable, vulnerable and generally open to relationship while eating. I know I am! Food is a crucial tool in growing fellowship and breaking down the barriers of fear and discomfort. You will never find us hosting without a spread because food is like our secret weapon -- and we work with some of the industry's best.
What to Expect
As the clock struck 7 o'clock, guests began to flood the room in suits and cocktail dresses. You hear glasses clinking, people telling jokes. In the corner, strangers are shaking hands and our photographer, Fayetteville's Lola Vargas is snapping shots. We always encourage introductions and a glass of wine before we all take to our seats together, but the crowd took to this without direction. It's clear communal dining draws out the individuals anxious for a good time! As we came to the table, we made a few toasts, a few introductions, and the rest of the night took it's course.
This food experience was dreamed up by brothers David and Will Fowler, with David's wife Polly. We went with a rustic menu, all food made from-scratch, sourced locally, and artfully plated. Wine pairings to be credited to The Wine Cafe owner, Angie Malave.
Meagan Riggs, Gathered's Lead Designer and Co-Owner, visualized the entire pop-up transformation. It can be very challenging to transform an unconventional space, and this one was one of our most difficult and exciting challenges. The location had excellent acoustics, a vaulted ceiling, and arched, floor-to-ceiling windows, but softening up the atmosphere was interesting!
Meagan used mixed metals, antique books, candlelight, fragrant eucalyptus, and deep blue hues to create a celestial and starry-night inspired atmosphere.
Entertainment of the evening included Katherine Ilona, harpist, and Kaitlyn Lusk, International vocalist. Their set was the absolute high of the evening and the soundtrack to this celestial evening. Performing songs like "Over the Rainbow" and "Moon River", we had couples dancing and toasts around the entire table.
We are so proud to be bringing these experiences to our adopted hometown Fayetteville, North Carolina. Each dinner will be themed to fit the mood of the season and we can't wait to share the Spring/Summer details.