The Friday Night Supper Club at the House of Blues’ Foundation Room has already established an ace reputation since its early March start.
The benefits to membership at the House of Blues’ Foundation Room are extensive, but sometimes enticing people to check out an extraordinary venue means more than just word-of-mouth delivery or creative marketing techniques.
Hence the concept that Cory Gallant and his colleagues came up with at Showboat Casino-Hotel — one that was an immediate hit and has been gaining popularity since its start about six weeks ago.
The Foundation Room’s Friday Night Supper Club offers a four-course gourmet meal, live entertainment during and after dinner, and a bottle of wine for a $50-per-person price, plus gratuity. There are four hourly dinner seatings starting at 6pm, with a maximum of 30 people in the main dining room at any one time. Each seating is accompanied by solo musicians performing mellow classics for about a half hour, and the entertainment kicks it up a notch at 10pm with a small band in the Foundation Room’s main lobby. All diners at any of the four seatings are welcome to attend the 10pm show.
“The idea was just to allow more people to experience the special room we have here and the special dining experience, and we know that this will also boost membership to the club as the buzz grows,” says Gallant, the nightlife operations manager for Showboat Atlantic City. “So far it’s having both effects. People are enjoying it, they’re really liking the food, the music, the décor and the wine, and each month we’ll be debuting a different menu. During April we’ve been doing a going-green initiative where all three wines that we offer with the meal are organic.”
A sort of ornate labyrinth of little cubbyholes and cubicles springing from a main lounge, the Foundation Room was exclusively a private membership club for the first few years after its 2005 opening. It later started some special events open to the public, and its Thursday service-industry night called Godspeed has flown fairly well from the start. As one might imagine with all you get for the price, the Friday Night Supper Club concept has been a smash success from its inception.
“People are really enjoying this, so we’re pretty excited,” says Gallant. “We basically have a different musician every Friday night in the dining room and a different band every Friday night in the lounge, so it’s two musical offerings, the four-course dinner with the wine included for $50 plus gratuity. And they’re getting more and more popular since we started. Tonight all four seatings are fully booked.”
The four-course meal through April includes a tamarind-glazed chicken medallion appetizer, choice of soup or salad, choice of five entrees (among them two cuts of steak, herb-crusted sea bass, linguine with peppers and sausage, or yogurt-and-buttermilk battered fried chicken) and a choice of four desserts. On a recent Friday night, Kristina Pruitt sang and played piano during the dinner portions, and the band Hired Hands played later on. Pruitt’s 7pm set included such classics as “Midnight Blues” by Melissa Manchester, “Wild World” by Cat Stevens, “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” by Carly Simon, “One More Night” by Phil Collins, “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John, and others.
“I really enjoy it here,” says Pruitt. “It’s nice to give everybody the opportunity to check this place out. It’s such a funky, cool place with all its little hideaways where people can go and kind of mellow out. You walk in here and there’s the incense burning, there’s an outside deck where you can enjoy the ocean views — it’s a very cool, unusual place.”
This Friday night, April 22, will feature local favorites Patty Blee in the dining room and the Patty Balbo Trio in the lounge. Earlier this month, former American Idol contestant Erika Schiff (from Bucks County, Pa.) and her trio performed in the Foundation Room lounge. The trio’s debut self-titled album In the Blonde is due out this spring.
Foundation Room membership privileges extend to any of the 13 House of Blues locations throughout the country. Call 343-4366 for a personal tour.
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