Popup Dinner Series Reborn

Popup Dinner Series Reborn

If all went as scheduled, Rock City Eats on Saturday resumed its popup dinner series at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock, with plans to hold a popup dinner there every month. It’s a new, improved series — improvements delayed by the pandemic, said Greg Henderson, the proprietor of the Rock City Eats blog.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Rock City Eats had held regular popup prix fixe dinners at various spaces showcasing local chefs. Then, about 18 months ago, Henderson and his friend John Brandenberger, CEO of Community Bakery, began brainstorming ways to get the bakery more engaged with the community.

While Brandenberger’s business is busy during breakfast and lunch, at dinnertime, it’s quieter, Henderson said. In addition, Community Bakery has a big kitchen, so the pair began thinking of ways to leverage that space to help up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs, including those who may not currently have their own sit-down restaurants or kitchens — for example, food truck chefs. It’s a way to give them a feel for running a restaurant.

Henderson and Brandenberger settled on a series of popup dinners at the bakery. And then the pandemic hit. Now, however, with more and more people vaccinated, they’ve decided to relaunch the series at Brandenberger’s restaurant.

“The nice thing about Community is that it gives us a place where it’s consistent,” Henderson said. “Once we run a dinner or two, we’ll know exactly how everything needs to go.”

The dinners will be three or four courses and will include a collaboration dessert, a partnership creation between the highlighted chef and Community Bakery. The dinners will cost $50, plus gratuity and tax, and will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturdays, once a month for now.

Henderson thinks the space will accommodate 60 to 70 diners and he expects to sell out.

The first chef set to be featured was C.C. Key, who helmed the now closed True Arkansas Eatery, or TAE, with Justin Patterson, with whom she also worked at the Southern Gourmasian.

Henderson is working on finalizing July’s chef but has Chef Amanda Ivy set for August.

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