Committing to a 100-seat dinner maybe doesn’t sound ideal at the moment. But you’re probably not opposed to supporting independent Arizona restaurants today, and then one day in the future attending a large, outdoor dinner party. That's the idea behind the Arizona Community Dinners Fundraiser, launched by Cloth & Flame, the event company behind many a scenic dinner in our state’s wilderness and cities.
After partnering with about 15 Arizona and Phoenix-area chefs, Cloth & Flame is currently planning a series of 12 100-seat dining events. Dates have not yet been set, but here's how it'll work.
Each dinner will offer a distinct menu from, and be staffed by, one of the participating eateries. Tamara Stanger and the staff from Cotton & Copper will cook one dinner, another will be overseen by Cat Bunnag and the Glai Baan and Sel Restaurant teams. A different one will be hosted by Chris Bianco with his menu and staff. Additional participating restaurants include the larder + the delta, Chula Seafood, and Crêpe Bar.
Future dinner guests can only reserve a spot by donating now (it’s first come, first served) a minimum of $50 per person to the current online fundraiser. All funds raised at present go directly to the chef and teams of the dinner you’d like to attend.
Then, when Cloth & Flame resumes its outdoor meal services, and the dates and locations are locked in, those early donors will be alerted. Dinner guests will be asked to pay an additional $95 for the other dinner elements — site deposit, production team and service staff payments, the actual dishes, etc.
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And Cloth & Flame does not actually collect a profit here.
"These small businesses statewide have been losing money for weeks and many are taking on additional costs to continue to serve and nourish us safely through pickup and to-go programs, many of which don't yield enough revenue to continue to pay cooks, dining room service team members, or bartenders,” Olivia Laux, Cloth & Flame’s co-founder along with her husband, Matt Cooley, says in a press release. “We expect to raise $50,000 for local restaurants through this effort."
To start your reservation process and select your future dinner event, see the Arizona Community Dinner Fundraisers webpage.