When Cassandra Ayala bestowed the food truck rodeo’s she organizes with the title, the movable feasts, she didn’t realize the connection to Ernest Hemingway’s memoir until friend, business partner, and literary aficionado, MJ Medlar, pointed it out while the two brainstormed a new business idea.
“If Paris has a movable feast, then why can’t Virginia Beach have one,” Medlar said. “After hearing that, there was no stopping her.”
What started out as the commissary location for Ayala’s Eat the Streets 757 food truck network and Cast Iron Catering Co. has been redesigned into The Boardroom, a restaurant offering dinner four nights a week, brunch on Sundays, and Hemingway-themed supper clubs. Hoping to break away from the hustle of quick food and a make-it-snappy night out, Medlar and Ayala have created an atmosphere and a seasonal menu that will change the pace of your next date night or girl’s night out.
“We have a passion for food and bringing people together,” Ayala said. “Our dinners are meant to be slow and easy in an atmosphere that allows you to meet new people and create relationships.”
Ayala is hoping diners will put down the phones to socialize with others, play board games, and enjoy being present with one another. Underneath the table in the lounge area sits two baskets for people to store their cellphones that encourages a friendly game of sorts.
“It’s to encourage our patrons to set aside their phone,” Ayala said. “The first one to pick it up buys the first bottle.”
Ayala and Medlar are creating a healthy state of mind for their patrons as being in the moment has been found to be beneficial for a person’s well-being. Psychology Today stated that “calmness and peace of mind live in the present.” The report also encourages being in that state of mind which allows you to enjoy moments more instead of rushing your time away.
Dinner and Drinks
While the dining options range from a wide variety of boards to sandwiches and soups, with vegan, vegetarian, & gluten free options, the wines and craft beers are exclusive to Virginia, though some may be brought in from all over the world for the uniquely themed dinner clubs.
Some of the sandwich, soup, and board selections at The Boardroom. (Courtesy of The Boardroom)
“Unlike some supper clubs, we feed you here,” Ayala said. “Diners can choose to pick or gorge. We are designed to give you a full experience through food and wine.”
The Boardroom currently offers a variety of 35 Virginia Wines and a dozen Virginia craft beers.
“We have some wines that no one else has,” Ayala said.
This April, the Tuesday night dinner club options include a repeat of last month’s Hemmingway’s Havana evening. The boards and dishes include offerings of grilled brown sugar and rum pineapples and jalapenos, guava and queso, crab empanadas, conch fritters, and the main course of Lechon Asado with black beans, rice, yucca, and tomato salad.
Medlar, who serves as the executive director of the nonprofit food truck organization, Street Food Revolutionaries, also brought in Spanish wines to compliment the theme, and the dessert boards offer choices that include a coconut cream chocolate rum cake, flan, and dulce de leche which are served with french pressed coffee. To top off the night, cigars can be enjoyed outside.
As for some of the future dinner club themes, Medlar and Ayala have an endless vat of ideas.
“We’d like to do a vegan-themed supper club we’ll coin ‘Meat is Murder,’” Medlar said. “ We also plan on hosting a Dave Matthews Band inspired evening called the ‘Blenheim Dinner’ which will feature wines from Dave’s Blenheim Vineyards and will have food offerings names after various Dave Matthews’ songs.”
The ambiance of The Boardroom is meant to reflect the décor observed in the south of France with its hodgepodge of smalls tables, a wooden bar, large picnic-style tables, and a comfortable lounge area fitted with a couch and chairs. When browsing the walls, customers will notice framed images of food trucks taken over time.
“The theme was created to invoke feeling,” Medlar said. “We wanted to provide a relaxed European feel and create a nice lady place.”
The Boardroom has numerous local connections lending to the use of a variety of local products. The coffee selection, currently from Trager Brothers Coffee in Charlottesville, eggs from Thomas Produce in Pungo, and liquors, beers and wine from the region are just some examples.
Since their opening a month ago, clientele have predominantly ranged from groups of ladies to couples out for date night. Reservations are encouraged since the restaurant holds a max of 30 people.
Food offerings range from $8 for appetizers to $45 for large boards. The supper club evenings offer advanced ticketing ranging from $45 to $65, depending on the food for that evening. Diners can add a beer and wine flight for $25, or customers can wait to order drinks when they arrive.
Brunch is available on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the food trucks and feature ample mimosa selections made with their house-made soda.