Food and Film Experience Hosted Inside Maker Exchange

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, August 2023
Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, August 2023

This weekend, the Tennessean Hotel and the Downtown Marriott launched a Film and Food Experience featuring the award-winning Broadway musical and classic 80’s film “Back to the Future.” Admission was free but required an RSVP. It was hosted in The Den in the Maker Exchange, and movie-goers could purchase themed food items from the restaurant at Maker Exchange, The Tavern, or the regular menu items.

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, Beef Meatloaf Wellington, August 2023

We chose to stick with the themed food items. When else could we get a Beef Wellington Meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes? Other items themed for the evening were Turkey Sliders, Sweet Potato Truffle Fries, a Grazing Board with popcorn, house trail mix, peanut butter mousse cups, fried Soppessata chips, and Boozy Malts for dessert.

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, Grazing Board, August 2023

The Den is a comfortable game room with three televisions and table games located off the Tavern and Maker  Exchange. It can be overlooked if you don’t know it’s there. Maker Exchange officially opened last October and is a space that features local artists, almost like a museum, but one you can shop from. It also functions as an event space. There is cozy seating and beautiful art pieces to inspire you, and just next to it is the Tavern, where you can eat and drink well without leaving the building.

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, August 2023

I met with the head of Sales and Marketing, Robin Holbrook, to discuss the details before the event. Robin told me that their partnership with Dogwood Arts and having the Maker Exchange space has opened up opportunities for the hotels to ask the question of what other ways they can feature arts in Knoxville. The Film and Food Experience is one answer to that question.

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, part of the Experience attendees, August 2023

The number of attendees was kept deliberately small for this inaugural event. Future events may be on the smaller size as well, depending on copyright licensing, hotel capacity, and their ability to serve the community well. The Den has couch seating and chairs with a few high-top tables, but more were brought in to accommodate the guests; the pool table was covered, and foosball was moved to the side for the evening’s movie showing. Everyone was assigned a seating area based on their group, and a server came around to take orders. Once the movie began, food was served, and we were checked on regularly by our server. The food items were fun and well prepared. I spoke with several others after the movie, who all said they enjoyed their dishes as well.

I didn’t have much in the way of expectations going into the evening, but my husband and I both left feeling like we had done something fun and unique and were glad we had gone. Since it was my birthday weekend, we turned it into an overnight escape and stayed at the Marriott.

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, Joey and Bettina Ruffalo, and Mike McGinnis, August 2023

We met Joey and Bettina Ruffalo and Mike McGinnis, who came out for the evening. It was their first time in the space, and Joey came decked out in Back to the Future regalia, proving what a perfect choice this classic film was for the first event. The group had made guesses as to what the themed food might be (they got a couple of them right!) and said they would definitely come back for another event like this.

Robin tells me they are eyeing a holiday theme for the next movie night. (My family favorites are Elf and The Polar Express!)  Eventbright will announce ticketing for the next Food and Film Experience. If you are looking for something a little different to do on a Saturday night, this might be just the thing for you to check out.

Food and Film Experience at Maker Exchange, August 2023