The Fiddlehead Manifesto

From my first post on this site:

San Francisco is a city of food, and a city of art: music, writing, film, and more. We’re aiming to combine those two worlds through events that pair a sitdown dinner with performance. The format is flexible, but the purpose is not: to fill our bellies with delicious food, to meet interesting new people and connect with those we already love, and to feel like our brains are getting creative, whether because of the company, the food, the art or the booze. And – we want to say this while still emphasizing that we’re looking to create a top-level experience here – we want to make it affordable, so that those who create art and help others and can’t spend gobs of money on a night out can still have a great time. So come in, sit down, and dig in.

The idea for Fiddlehead came up over drinks a few months ago – Mike and I were talking about what we like to do for fun, and why it differs. I like to sit down to a meal with friends, at a restaurant or at home, and drink and eat in comfort with good company. Mike likes to go to local music shows, to see other musicians and music fans, to be stimulated by new sounds. While he doesn’t dislike going out to eat, and I don’t hate going to shows, neither of us is totally comfortable in the others’ element. Mike feels unwelcome at most nice restaurants because they’re so meat-heavy (death to the one vegetarian dish on each menu, usually a mushroom risotto), and while we entertain a lot, he doesn’t relish the piles upon piles of dishes (my kingdom for a dishwasher!). I like going to music venues and seeing friends well enough, but I’m not crazy about standing for hours late at night while getting blasted by ridiculously loud music.

This discussion led to a lightbulb moment for us: what if we could combine the two? What if we pulled together an event that was both comfort-zone friendly and boundary-pushing, an event that would ease people into new experiences, either via a meal as a vehicle for experiencing art, or a performance as a route into sitting down to a nice meal. This isn’t anything revolutionary – dinner and a show, right? – but we didn’t think it had been done the way we’d want. Delicious homecooked food, classy but not too fancy, inspiring decor without formality, excellent company that might just become a community, and all kinds of performances to inspire and entertain. Basically, feed the belly, feed the soul.

And we wanted do it for a reasonable amount of money. San Francisco is a town that loves food, but when all the popup dinners seem to cost at least $100 a person and even neighborhood restaurants can have two hour waits on a weekday, there’s space for events that cater to those without a lot of cash to spend but with a taste for great food and inspiring art. This isn’t meant to be a profit-making venture; we want to cover costs, yes, but we also want to welcome everyone.

Thus was Fiddlehead Supper Club born. Nothing crazy, nothing earthshaking, but done in a way that we think is needed. We want to feed you. We want to have a drink with you. We want to introduce you to sounds and sights you haven’t experienced before, and put those you have in a new context. We want to create a venue for those who like to feed others, and for those who have a gift to share. So come, those who want to enjoy: ye eaters of bread and honey, ye lovers of a fine cocktail, ye listeners of music and viewers of plays. Come, those who want to help: ye keepers of your grandmother’s recipes, ye amateur sommeliers, ye writers and storytellers and musicians and filmmakers. We’ve made a place for you here.

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