Last Monday, in the modern-meets-historic dining room of the Heights House Hotel (308 South Boylan Avenue) in Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood, 24 friends and strangers gathered over plates of lemony handmade pasta, fork-tender short ribs, and velvety chocolate budino served in vintage teacups. A few short hours later another group of 24 repeated the process, filling the Italianate mansion formerly known as Montfort Hall with an old-fashioned dinner party refreshed for the 21st century.
The new series called Supper Club is the creation of Heights House Hotel’s Sarah Shepherd and chef Liz Grandchamp of Grandchamp Hospitality. The events are meant to hearken back to an era where intimate gatherings reigned supreme and to invite locals in to experience Height House Hotel without having to book a stay.
Grandchamp got her start in hospitality serving sandwiches to tourists on Rhode Island’s Block Island and moved on to event and catering stints in Napa Valley before coming to Raleigh where she was on the opening teams of both Crawford & Son and Oakwood Pizza Box, among other industry jobs.
In 2018, Shepherd and her husband Jeff purchased and restored Montfort Hall, turning it into Heights House Hotel, a nine-room boutique hotel and event space. They opened part of the hotel to visitors by bringing on Raleigh native Will Bryant to run the Parlor, the hotel’s bar and lounge space. This past summer Travel + Leisure named Heights House one of the “World’s Best New Hotels.”
The Supper Club will feature a rotating menu helmed by Grandchamp and her team. The four-course menus will all be Italian-inspired, in a nod to the building’s architecture, and future themes will include seafood, Italy’s Piedmont region, and Italian American. There will be two seatings each evening, and before each dinner, attendees are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy aperitifs in the Parlor. During dinner, wine pairings will be available, chosen by Raleigh wine professional Halsey Merritt.
Heights House’s Supper Club joins a growing number of intimate, dinner party-like dining experiences that are cropping up around the Triangle as the restaurant industry continues to put distance between the pandemic hit to indoor dining. Chef Jacob Boehm’s Snap Pea Underground pop-up series, wildly popular before the pandemic, is returning with a series of dinners focused on fan-favorite locations from previous events. The first weekend of this Blast from the Past series is already sold out.
In Durham, chef Amanda Orser, formerly of Littler, launched a dinner series called Ellerbe and Joy. Orser’s menus reflect global influences honed in on local North Carolina ingredients, and each event also features an entirely separate vegan menu. Orser’s dinners regularly sell out as well, reflecting perhaps a desire on the part of the Triangle’s dining public to not only enjoy a meal out but to mix and mingle with friends and strangers.
The next Height House’s Supper Club will be held on February 13 and 14. The theme is Sicilian, and tickets can be booked online.