Follow the path around the statue of German-American Civil War General Franz Sigel at the Union Avenue entrance to Forest Park,
and you may come across Marie Jary and her husband, architect Sandy Talley (above), putting the final touches on a pop-up dining pavilion that has finally come to fruition after six months of planning. The curtain opens this evening on the first of the couple's six Demitasse 665 underground dinners in Forest Park. I was crushed to learn that all six events--three this week and three next---have been sold out (see new info below) for quite a while. There is a private event scheduled for this evening (Thursday), and five others that benefit different charitable organizations, including Forest Park Forever, which arranged for permission to use the site, Ranken Jordan, and St. Martha's Hall.
Architect and self-taught chef Sandy Talley designed the 12' x 50' structure (see model in photo above), and sited it to take advantage of Forest Park's recently installed stone amphitheater (which was donated by architect Bill Wishmeyer and family), and in the distance, a graceful bridge and the Park Plaza.
Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity worked alongside Sandy to build the structure, and will eventually help dismantle the temporary dining pavilion and take the materials away for a future Habitat project.
Photo above courtesy of Charlotte Lyons
Sandy and Marie have been holding underground dinners in various spots around town since 2009 (see CWEnder Katie O'Connor's account in St. Louis Magazine here). The structure, which seats 20, includes a makeshift kitchen. Most of the seven tasting courses will be prepared elsewhere, with limited finishing on site. To start each evening there will be a reception in the amphitheater next to the stream, pictured above. The cost for the dinner and wines--chosen by Marie Jary--is $125. But alas, unless you know someone who knows someone, you are out of luck--at least this time around. See info at end of post for openings this week.
When you see this structure up close you too may wish it could remain there permanently. The concept and execution are just magical. To get on the list for a future event, contact Marie Jary: email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of Marie Jary
This morning (Tuesday) I received an email from Marie Jary to say that there are a few cancellations for Thursday and Saturday night's events which benefit Forest Park Forever. The cost is $125 per person for an evening that will remain in the memory book for a long time. See menu and contact info below.
There is one change to the menu. Halibut en papillote, which I understand was fantastic, has been substituted for the meat course.
If you'd like to experience Dining Underground in Forest Park Thursday or Saturday, while benefitting a good cause, contact Marie: firstname.lastname@example.org.