Long Table Dinner for the Old City Performing Arts Center, 100 Block of South Central, Knoxville, October 2018
This is another of those articles I’m dropping on the occasional Saturday simply because so much is going on that it can’t be contained in five articles a week. And the food this city is producing and the culinary scene we are growing is worth continual mention. But it’s more than that.
The special dinners being presented across downtown are a worthwhile experience in so many ways. Our finest chefs present their vision of a multiple course dinner, while a sommelier thoughtfully pairs wines. One of my favorite parts of the dinners is when the somme or the chef explains what we’re eating or why it pairs well with the wine.
Of course, all this is very fancy and I enjoy some simple cheese and meat along with a good wine and friends in a downtown courtyard. Some of my favorite meals are those. But these, while not necessarily affordable for everyone – or for me on a regular basis, are their own kind of special.
We recently attended the two shown here. The first was the Treasury wine dinner at the Royale earlier this month. A range of wines were presented with some of chef Jon Gatlin’s best creations. It was impossible to pick a favorite and by the end of that night, our table had happily given up trying. The Royale hosts an ongoing series of these dinners and, of course, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner service any time.
The second event shown here is the recent Long Table dinner to benefit the Old City Performing Arts Center. These are typically collaborative efforts, bringing together many of the Old City’s best chefs – and that’s a list that is rapidly growing. The table is set down the length of the 100 block of south Central.
The attraction of this event – beyond the great food, pairings and charitable cause, is the feel of enjoying great food on a city street. It’s one of the prettiest and coolest spots I’ll ever imagine having a meal. That it is for a great cause makes it all the better.
Beyond the great food and wine, these dinners present the opportunity to reconnect with friends and always, always, to make new ones. I often enjoy the conversations as much as the food. It’s a great night of all of the above and it feels like a little celebration along the way on a weekend or in the middle of an ordinary week.
We had a guest from Nashville join us for the most recent long table dinner and I told him that while there may be particular moments, places or events that say, “Nashville,” to me, particularly the long table event and the other dinners, say, “Knoxville.” Great food, great drink, old friends, new friends. Lots of laughter and supporting a good cause. Save your pennies and give one of these great dinners a try.