Dining INNvasion Episode 2
The Bobcaygeon Inn
Getting people in the door is only the first step in a loooong battle when it comes to restaurant life. Good food is obviously important, but this episode was all about creating the right ambience… a social environment that encourages people to have great conversation and come back week after week.
I’ve always thought dining out was a bit strange… you dress up, go out to a public space with other people, only to sit by yourself. This bizarre relationship of public privacy is exactly what led Victor and I to doing family style dinner. So what if people don’t necessarily know each other… by the end of the meal they will! And more importantly, they will love the experience! Winter is hard, long and bleak… what better way to fill up The Bobcaygeon Inn, than with a fun-filled evening? My grandmother always said: “strangers are friends you just don’t know yet.”
But a communal table alone won’t cut it; the décor also has to spark conversation and help ease people in. The existing dining room was fairly bright and cheery, so for an evening dinner ambience I used metals, industrial pieces, wood and vintage light bulbs. AND to spruce things up a bit, I “lit” the bulbs using individual LEDs and batteries.
There are so many ways to light for events… in episodes to come, I’ll use underwater LED’s and you can get LED plates that sit under a vase and light them from beneath. But these little guys are special because you can hide them and use as many or as few as the design calls for. What I love most about them is that guests all night kept asking “how are those lightbulbs lit???” since there were no power cords visible.
And everyone sat down to a pretty, and amazing smelling bunch of fresh rosemary. Nothing like wetting people's appetites and setting the tone by scenting the room with fresh herbs!!
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