Dinner in the Gardens: An Unprecedented Community Gathering

Imagine this.

7 courses. 5 local chefs. Over 1000 Memphians. One boulevard. One wonderful evening.

That’s what Edible Memphis and the Central Gardens Neighborhood Association, as partners and hosts, have planned for a fall Saturday evening in the heart of the neighborhood this October 19.

This fall, amidst a crisp autumn backdrop on Belvedere Boulevard, Edible Memphis and the Central Gardens Association will partner to host Dinner in the Gardens: an extravagant neighborhood dinner experience that allows us an opportunity to bring people together and invite them to engage with the Central Gardens Historic District in an unprecedented way.

​This seven course, farm-to-table style dinner will bring together guests from all walks of life, with the goal of fostering connections and conversations that will propel our city into its third century. 

~Edible Memphis & Central Gardens, at DinnerintheGardens.com

The idea is almost unfathomable: Over 1000 Memphians dining together on a table that will span over 1200 feet in length. The table – a set of up to 150 joined tables – will start at the north end of Belvedere at Peabody Ave and wind down the boulevard past Harbert and end around Glenwood Place, just a block north of Central Ave.

The table will be set up on the east, northbound side of the boulevard, with staging and server areas in various key locations up and down the boulevard. Live jazz will entertain diners, and community leaders will speak and make brief announcements between courses.

Those who purchase VIP tickets will also be able to attend a pre-event cocktail party the night before, Friday evening October 18.

Giving Back To Memphis

As further described by the Central Gardens Neighborhood Association, it’s an invitation to those Memphis communities beyond this historic Midtown neighborhood, as a way of bringing diverse communities together at the same table. Sponsors of the event and the Central Gardens Association will be making select tickets available to participating communities.

It’s also a way to give back. Portions of the proceeds from the event will go back to these communities in the form of grants.

Belvedere Blvd As ‘Central’ To Community

The selection of Belvedere Boulevard as the setting of the dinner is perfect: physically as the center of the neighborhood; and symbolically as a boulevard that built a community.

In years past the boulevard has consistently been voted the most beautiful street in Memphis. It’s tree-lined median strip spans the entire boulevard through the neighborhood from Union to Central. Many of the neighborhood’s original homes were built along its sidewalks. In some years the St. Jude Marathon runs through the neighborhood up Belvedere as it makes its way back toward downtown. And in 1966, a proposal by a city councilman to remove its treasured median and pave it brought the entire neighborhood together and was the catalyst for the creation of the Central Gardens Neighborhood Association.

“…too visionary to ever be realized.”

It started as concept of Memphis residents H.W. Brennan, H.H. Miller, and E.L. Boyle.

The April 7, 1906 edition of The Commercial Appeal, revealing the plans of the new boulevard to be constructed through an “unappealing tract of land filled with ditches and gullies.”
(image courtesy of creme de memph)

It was an area of rural, recently-incorporated Memphis that was marshy and wild, that many believed would be nothing more than “a good place for frog-gigging and squirrel hunting…” And it was a concept that, to many observers, was “too visionary to ever be realized.”

But the planners were determined to build the most glorious street in the city. And when it was finished a year later in 1907, The Commercial Appeal declared it “the most pretentious and artistically correct of all the beautiful residence streets of Memphis.” It was named Belvedere, derived from the Italian term to mean “beautiful view.”

It will be along this thoroughfare that Edible Memphis and Central Gardens will invite Memphis to the table to enjoy the history and legacy of this beautiful view, in community and conversation, for one glorious fall evening.

  • When: Saturday, October 19, 2019
  • Time: 5:00PM CST
  • Where: Belvedere Blvd, Central Gardens, Memphis

For information, tickets and sponsorships visit Dinner in the Gardens. Central Gardens residents and Neighborhood Association members can enjoy discounts on tickets by visited the Central Gardens memberships site.

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