Fall Line Fest: Food Panel Talks Foodie-Music
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Richmond foodies gathered at the Camel this past Saturday during the first annual Fall Line Fest for a panel discussion from a few noteworthy local restauranteurs and musicians. The subject aimed towards the medley of food and music and how both feed into one another. Like all good things, the conversation spurted in many colorful directions that had me chuckling, nodding, and saying a big ol’ Amen.
Michele Jones (co-owner of Pasture) served as a bubbly moderator while Jason Alley (of Pasture & Comfort), Nate Gutierrez (Nate’s Taco Truck & Don’t Look Back), Chris Bopst (musician/music booker at Balliceaux), and Constantine Giavos (musician and design guru) gathered to talk all things food and music.
Weddings, car rides, and sexy time wouldn’t be the same without music, but just as important are the jams restaurants crank out to diners. Sad, weepy songs reminiscent of a doctor’s waiting room should be outlawed in dining rooms the panel agreed.
But music in the back of house is equally important (if not more), Guiterrez recalled working in kitchens with a no-music policy. Jones chimed in, “the kitchen with no music is depressing to me. Like Footloose, it’s bad times.” It’s no surprise that streaming stations like Pandora and Spotify have assisted restaurant owners in perfecting their music selection and also alleviated the daunting hours it took to create playlists. Although the panel agreed on the importance of music throughout their space, the musical choices we’re heavily argued.
Customer selected music, aka the jukebox, is a topic that was tossed around for quite some time during the hour and a half discussion. “You can only take it for so long” Bopst points out. While guest experience and service is necessary, it all comes down to staff morale. “If the staff’s happy, then that translates.” And this is absolutely true.
I remember my working my years in the restaurant industry (a seafood place in Houston and good ol’ Buffalo Wild Wings in Oklahoma City). If the music was great, then the energy was there and all resulted in a good night. Other nights full of repetitive 80′s ballads and live karaoke had us all on edge and crashing to a Negative Nancy mentality. I’m sure it showed and resulted in average tips.
While some may think servers, bartenders, or cooks might bust their hump only in restaurants, this is far from true. Creative minds work in creative places, including restaurants.
Local musicians and DJ’s are the same folks serving your food, so be nice. These are the very people you might be waiting to see once they make it big. Or medium. Who cares, when someone’s in a band, they’re instantly cool.
In a city whose food scene is impressive and great restaurants appear (almost) overnight, the panel agreed Richmond lacks live music venues or at least a good balance. Although others pointed out the music scene is quietly growing, Giavos (who lives in New York but travels here often) pointed out RVA needs to break down boundaries – we tend to “theme it”. Yes, “theme it” we do – from jam band nights, dance party this, and dance party that. And gay clubs, we’re no different either.
It’s appealing for restaurant owners to host live shows but it’s a fine line to balance the market, “figuring out a way the restaurant and the bands to do enough events for people to keep their eyes open for it, but not so much that it dilutes the product,” Alley added.
No matter what, people want their food and their music. Maybe not at the same time, but both are necessities.
Some folks voyage out of their own kitchen and into a restaurant for the experience, some for the food, and others for the expectation. Part of the dining experience is the music, whether it’s the songs that are playing while grubbing down, the kitchen staff who’s humming along, or the bartender who happily shares his band’s road trip stories. Music and food go hand in hand much like a good burger and cold beer.
It’s just fits.
I adore good food; the restaurants that serve it, the energy around it (even the hoopla), and telling others about it. When I'm not grubbing down on a great meal or writing, I'm mixing aromatherapy oils, letting Jillian Michaels kick my ass, and discovering new indie music that eventually goes mainstream (sigh).
When Fall Line Fest announced they’d be serving up a brunch buffet at the Broadberry, sandwiched between two days of live music, I was in. So were the rest of Richmond Fall Line Fest-ers. I guess I should have suspected the heavy (and hungry) crowd when people got wind booze would flow at 11 AM, food [...]September 9, 2014
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