8th Annual Chicago Supper Club

Photography by Michelle Stancil

A Collective Dining Experience

Perhaps you have seen social media images containing hundreds of smartly dressed people dining in the middle of the street. Long tables are simply, yet elegantly, decorated with outdoor party lights aglow overhead. Everyone is enjoying an intimate dining experience with 300 of their new closest friends. The imagery is captivating, and there is no doubt it could be a scene out of a romantic movie.

In the heart of Foley, AL, a vogue dining experience is growing in popularity and size. The Chicago Street Supper Club, a contemporary annual dining event, is where the community comes together for an evening of sumptuous food prepared by top, local chefs and wines expertly matched with each course of the five-course meal. On Friday, October 18th, N. Chicago Street will close once again in celebration of the Annual Chicago Street Supper Club presented Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana, P.C.

The inaugural Supper Club, hosted in October 2011 by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), came on the heels of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The Chamber played an integral role in communicating to the world that the Gulf Coast was open for business, and the seafood was just as edible as it was days before Deepwater Horizon impacted Alabama’s beaches.

Donna Watts, Chamber President and CEO, approached Ed Bushaw, former Director of the Gulf Coast Culinary Institute at Faulkner State, for assistance. Watts was seeking fresh, innovative ideas to increase community spirit and awareness. Through collaborative efforts with one of Bushaw’s event planning classes, Bushaw states, “Many different and engaging events were born, but none as ongoingly successful as the Chicago Street Supper Club.”

The Supper Club concept is simple: Five main courses prepared using fresh farm-to-table / Gulf-to-table ingredients with wines hand selected by Bushaw.

This year, Chef Brian Vaughn with Wolf Bay Lodge, Executive Chef Brody Olive, from Perdido Beach Resort, and culinary teams from The Gulf State Park Lodge and Hangout Hospitality Group will collaborate on the menu and preparation.

Local culinary school students led by Chef Matt Palamara from The Gulf Coast Culinary Institute, Chef Dan Navarro of South Baldwin Center for Technology, and Chef Kristin Madsen with the culinary program at Gulf Shores High School will also participate. Bushaw continues, “My favorite part of the Supper Club is the opportunity for local chefs to come together and display their talent; to really show the world what types of products we have locally. Chefs do not have many opportunities to come together like this.”

Bobby Flournoy, whom Bushaw met through Marcie Kinsey with Alabama fine wine and craft beer distributor, Pinnacle Imports, will be on-hand to pour his wines with the different course offerings. Bushaw reflects, “Bobby is gregarious and wonderful with the folks.” Flournoy will also have some of his wines for sale during the event. The Chamber is currently drafting a proposal for a special wine tasting event presented by Flournoy at the Gulf State Park Boat Launch on Thursday, October 17th.

The Chicago Street Supper Club is about the community coming together. Tickets are $75 per person with seating limited to three-hundred people. Tickets are available for purchase through the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce website (https://www.southbaldwinchamber.com). Cocktails start at 6:00 p.m. and dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. An array of International wines from Bobby Flournoy’s portfolio will also be available.

Live entertainment and acoustical music complement the dining affair. Bushaw states, “The weather is always perfect – a delightful night without too much heat. I have done many events, and it isn’t always like this.” He continues, “Guests use the Supper Club as a reason to dress up. We do not see a lot of shorts and golf shirts.”

Extensive community sponsorships, as well as assistance from chamber ambassadors and chamber volunteers, make the event possible. Please visit the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce website should you feel compelled to serve.

The Chicago Street Supper Club is a community of people coming together to eat great food in a street setting. At the heart of it, the Supper Club is a collective dining experience for not only guests, but for our local chefs, farmers, merchants, breweries, vineyards, and so many more. It is a chance for South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce to bring the community together one bite at a time.

Coastal Palate Magazine, all rights reserved.
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