The Gathering serves up culinary surprises, clever pairings and cool conversation
One week later and we're still filled to the brim with delicious memories of the first-ever installment of Downtown Arlington's hip new dinner series, The Gathering.
Held on December 1 at the so-new-it's-not-open-yet Division Brewing microbrewery on East Main St., the event sold out to capacity within 48 hours of the ticket release. The sixty attendees enjoyed a unique meal and pairings wedded by the creative minds at 506 Restaurant and Division Brewing.
"We wanted to create something really fresh, something that will bring people to Downtown Arlington in a completely new way," said Tony Rutigliano, president and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation. "Thanks to the dedication of our downtown partners, we realized our vision for The Gathering and much more."
It wasn't just one reason that the event was pleasing to the palate and satisfied our sense of adventure, and these same reasons will serve as the formula for success at future Gatherings. We've narrowed it down to five:
Reason 1: Palate Pleasing
"The food that was created and served by 506 Restaurant was wonderful! We also enjoyed having new experiences tasting the variety of beers by Division Brewing." - Christy Underkofler
What's an urban dinner series without the perfect gastro cornucopia? Dishes that not only complement one another but stand on their own. Pairings that amplify and transform.
For instance, when we tasted the passed hors d'oeuvre of shrimp ceviche paired with Division Brewing's own Forty-Eighter Berliner Weisse, we reveled in the moment and simultaneously wondered what could possibly be next to rival the flavor.
Not to disappoint, 506 Restaurant presented us a generous appetizer plate of braised short rib tacos, jalapeño pesto, and jicama slaw. The accompanying crisp RosaLee Hibiscus Infused Wit cleverly connected the dots. Pace yourselves, we thought, as we looked forward to the main course and dessert.
The 506 Kobe Burger with truffle mayo popped against Prodigal Saison Farmhouse Ale. But the talented brew masters had one more surprise in store. With the tasty tiramisu, we enjoyed a very dark yet deliciously accessible Ben Stout.
Reason 2: Elements of Surprise
"I've been hearing a lot about pop-up dinners around the area the past couple of years; it’s great that we in Arlington now have our own epicurean event." - Terry Gaines
As you might expect, menus for The Gathering are top secret. But the venue for the inaugural Gathering was also a mystery until the morning of the event, and even then, guests were emailed nothing but a street address as their destination.
Reason 3: Unique Venues
"It was really special to be at the new Division Brewery." - Dan Cavanagh
DAMC partnered with Downtown's newest start-up to open its doors before its doors opened to anyone else. Division Brewing, which anticipates an official opening on New Year's Eve, brought in fancy picnic tables in lieu of their own. Rustic table decor and light from a plethora of candles reflected gently off the silver fermentation vessels around the room. The ambiance was relaxed and sociable. Locations of future Gatherings will vary greatly but will maintain that same welcoming vibe.
Reason 4: Cool Factor
"While visiting the new brewery was fun and seeing friends is always great, I was (pleasantly) surprised that there were so many people there that I did not know." - Linda Dipert
No suits. No ties. No formal program. Nothing to bring but an appetite for enticing food and hearty conversation with people you know and people you'll enjoy getting to know.
Reason 5: Celebrating Downtown Arlington
"The Gathering was a fantastic chance to meet new people and create stronger bonds with others. As downtown Arlington grows, it’s good to know there are people from around Arlington invested in creating community." - Dan Cavanagh
"What an amazing turnout with so many interesting people." - Christy Underkofler
"I believe The Gathering fits in very well with the growing downtown environment, one that continues to provide so much more that Arlington residents can enjoy without having to travel east or west, outside of our great American Dream City." - Lisa Thompson
"It is a joy to be part of the energizing of downtown. There is a tremendous amount of momentum with culture, arts, restaurants and businesses." - Terry Gaines
"How does The Gathering fit into the evolving downtown scene? It keeps Downtown and Arlington in the conversation." - Linda Dipert
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Find out about future Gatherings
"I look forward to attending the next Gathering. The anticipation is exciting!" - Lisa Thompson
While The Gathering is by invitation only, there's no secret knock. All you need to do is to subscribe to our free email list, and you'll be notified of all future Gatherings. Be sure to act quickly when you receive that email! Reservations are first come, first served.
Visit The Gathering photo gallery.