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Supper Club First & Hope Set to Open Dinner Hours April 24

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010, at 06:25PM
Training Ed Fuentes

While Downtown has boomed as a dining destination over the last few years, little of that energy has reached the north edge of Bunker Hill, where supper club First & Hope this week opened its doors.

Judging from the money and work that they've put into the venue, owners Terry Brewer and Parker Martin clearly believe that the concept can make the spot a hot ticket for more than just a Music Center crowd.

While lunch service began yesterday, dinner won't be served until April 24. On Thursday afternoon, staff were busy being trained on lunch and dinner menu presentations. Two adjoining dining rooms decorated in modern versions of streamline art deco sat quiet, but the bar was busy as house recipes were being tested.

Toward the back of the venue is the cabaret room, where live entertainment will be featured. On that afternoon, though, chef Shelley Cooper was making use of the stage to introduce her chicken dishes, part of a Southern-inspired comfort food menu. "All the flavor . . it's the dark meat, and also comes from the bone, the marrow," the Memphis-born chef said to the staff, who were busy taking notes and munching on samples.

Also on that dinner menu is the Moonshine Meatloaf, made with gin-laced ground chuck, foir grass, and wrapped in bacon.

The supper club itself is a darker art deco room that will be used to showcase several First & Hope house bands, playing sets from jazz to standards. The staff outfits and movements continue the period theme, and at least as the venue sets to open, all were doing a good job staying in character during this week's soft lunch opening.

Time will tell how the show gets reviewed, and whether it can indeed fill the house on nights when the other stages in the immediate neighborhood are dark.

First & Hope Supper Club / 710 W. 1st (at Hope) / 213-617-8555 / 30% off lunch through next week

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