Table for 200, please!

The Long Table Dinner happens twice a year in support of local non-profits. It costs $125 per person to attend and is a total blast.

Credit where credit is due: That headline actually is a comment that someone named Amber Crouse posted to Facebook on a picture from the Long Table Dinner, which is what this blog post is about. But it is so appropriate, I just had to borrow it.

The Long Table Dinner happens twice a year, most recently Sunday a week ago in Knoxville’s Old City, when 220 people filled 29 tables lined end to end down South Central Street. Every dinner benefits a different non-profit agency. The latest sent its funds to Community Shares.

The evening consisted of a cocktail hour with a signature drink and passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a seated four-course dinner prepared by some of Knoxville’s finest restaurateurs. In this case, the restaurants were A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, Kefi, Rebel Kitchen and OliBea. PostModern Spirits donated liquor; Pretentious Beer Company donated, well, you know; wine came from Old City Wine Bar and Corks Wine and Spirits; bread from Paysan Bread and Kneaded Bakery; charcuterie and cheese from A&B Distributors; and coffee and desserts from Vienna Coffee Company. Entertainment was provided by Jig & Reel.

Molly King of Molly Jo Events was event producer who pulled together the whole shebang. Great job, everybody.

First things first! Kyle Hermansky of Old City Wine Bar serves up the signature cocktail called “That’s Amari” It’s made of amaro arancia, amaro alpino, cardamom syrup, lemon and soda.

Here’s mine. Delish!

Here’s the result of drinking them: much mingling!

Pizza bites with Blackberry Farm sheep’s milk ricotta and strawberries were one offering from A Dopo Pizza.

The other featured A Dopo’s house-made mozzarella.

Fun running in to these three! From left, Kelly Absher, Kim Henry and Lila Honaker.

Terry and Regina Turner look like they’re ready for summer.

Johnna Easter, center, was there taking pictures for VIP Knoxville magazine. With her are downtown residents Ricky Kennedy, left, and Jim Harness.

Patty and Robert Baird also looked summery. Hey, what happened to spring?

Carolyn and Chad Boetger also were at the previous Long Table Dinner held last fall when the weather was considerably cooler. Click here for a report on that one.

These would be two of our tablemates at Table 10, a fun and raucous group! They are Amanda Logan and Dominick White.

Everyone was in a super festive mood.

These ladies played all night long! Sarah Pirkle, left, and Griffin Vann. Their regular gig is at the Jig & Reel, which provided them to the Long Table Dinner.

I took it as a good sign when Ariel Leach of Old City Wine Bar started pouring the Prosecco for the first course.

Soon it was time to take our seats. Here’s a photo looking north.

This is looking south. They both look good, don’t they?

The delicious bread came from both Paysan and Kneaded Bread.

These platters, placed family style along the table, had plenty of deliciousness to put on or with the bread!

Master of Ceremonies was Sandra Goss of Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, a member of Community Shares.

Pamela and Ty Vance were at Table 10, as well.

Our other Table 10 neighbors were Laura Cole and Jason Drotar. He’s the sommelier at The Barn at Blackberry Farm and he was a wealth of wine information and advice.

Anna Bogle is executive chef at The Press Room. She presented the first course which came from sister eatery, Kefi.

It was my favorite course: confit octopus and new potatoes, fennel, local greens and herbs with house citrus vinegar served cold. Dang, it was good. It came with a non-vintage Parolvini rosato del Veneto.

One of the reasons our table was so much fun is that all four couples got up at some point and bought an extra bottle of wine at Corks, which was conveniently located right beside our seats.

All the bottles we bought were superior to the wine we were served, according to our new sommelier friend, Jason Drotar. But he was very diplomatic in describing most of the wines. “It’s good for what it is,” he’d say when we asked him to pass judgment on a particular glass.

Here’s the superior bottle of rose we bought.

Brian Strutz of A Dopo Pizza. Those pizza appetizers were awesome.

Ryan McElveen, who, along with his wife, Dana, owns the conveniently located Corks Wine and Spirits.

Duck leg braised in Pretentious Beer’s Sour Wort wrapped with red cabbage and served with sour wort kombucha and red onion (at least that’s what the menu said). It’s hard to cook duck under the best of circumstances. But to serve it to 200 people in an outdoor location and prepare it in a kitchen that is not your own is dang near impossible. It was a daring attempt by the folks at Rebel Kitchen. The beer called “Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Pretentious!” that accompanied it really complemented the fruit on the plate. I thought our new rose was good with it, too.

Preston Williams, executive chef of Rebel Kitchen. (Ignore the fact that he’s wearing a Tako Taco shirt! I love it that all our chefs get along so well!)

Matthew Cummings of Pretentious Beer Company.

Jeffrey De’Alejandro of OliBea.

Here’s what Chef De’Alejandro delivered: heritage pork tomahawk St. Louis rib with sorghum grain, preserved lemon, Knox City Farm greens and ramp white barbecue sauce.

My husband, Alan Carmichael, really liked it. Here he is eating mine after finishing his! (I liked it, too, but was too full to finish it.)

I table hopped a bit and saw our friends Nancy Voith and Kenneth Stark.

And Beth and Fred Schultheis.

Dessert was assorted mini bundt cakes from Vienna Coffee.

At the end of the evening, I was happy to see these two still standing. That’s John Clark of Vienna Coffee and Molly King of Molly Jo Events. She said coordinating this event twice a year is her favorite thing to do! Thanks for that, Molly, and for helping me with the names of so many folks in this blog post.

Goodnight, everybody! (Photo by Alan Carmichael.)


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6 Responses to Table for 200, please!

  1. Georgiana Vines, on May 7th, 2019 at 9:07 pm said:

    Where do I sign up for the next one?

  2. Kathleen Erickson, on May 8th, 2019 at 1:40 am said:

    Sometimes when I read about “our” Knoxville in your blogs and see these fabulous photos of so many vibrantly creative people, I have to pinch myself! Having moved here from Madison, Wisconsin in 1972, the current Knoxville is almost unrecognizable! We’ve come a long way, baby! I am so grateful for all the talent and creativity shown in this blog,

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on May 8th, 2019 at 6:46 am said:

    Georgiana: I generally hear about them on Facebook.

    Kathleen: I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for reading.

  4. Monique Anderson, on May 8th, 2019 at 12:30 pm said:

    Wow! I’m dying to go to the next one.

  5. Morgan Fleming, on May 8th, 2019 at 1:57 pm said:

    Amber Crouse is the Financial Director of Community Shares and an all around fabulous person who does loads of great work for CS and other groups around town. It looks like you got a photo of her husband, Steve Blackburn, in the 15th photo (view looking north). Thanks for your coverage. We were sad to miss, but traveling abroad for a birthday!

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on May 8th, 2019 at 8:59 pm said:

    Monique: You absolutely must go to the next one with us!

    Morgan: Thanks for letting me know that! She is great with a line! I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing it!

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