If it seems a little crazy to imagine an all-vegetarian pop-up dinner being served inside Sam’s Italian Deli, with its long counter of cured meats and cold cuts, well, welcome to 2017. Stranger things have happened.
In this case, strange is a blessing. If you don’t know, a pop-up dinner is a (usually) one-night-only restaurant event held in a unique place like a warehouse, garden or, in this case, Italian deli. Pop-up dinners have become a legitimate thing in Fresno. We’ve already told you about the Notorious B.I.G. Tribute Breakfast and the Underground Supper Series, so it follows that we need to discuss Chef Chris Shackelford’s upcoming dinner at Sam’s.
Chris Shackelford is chef and sommelier at Trelio Restaurant in Old Town Clovis, a popular upscale restaurant that has recently been renovated from the menu to the furniture. Chef Shackelford clearly isn’t confining himself to the new Ponderosa Pine tables he’s put in his restaurant, though. Thanks to the pop-up dinner concept, he’s able to take his innovative menu around town—including to Sam’s Italian Deli, where he’ll make use of a new “kitchen room,” which is a banquet-type room where customers can sit and watch chefs and professional cooks at work.
This latest pop-up event from Chef Shackelford happens on Thursday, March 9, when he’ll prepare in Sam’s kitchen a five-course meal made from locally sourced vegetables. Since there are only 32 seats available, the dinner is expected to sell out.
One might wonder why a chef with an established restaurant would want to take his knives to a new location. Happily, Chef Shackelford was willing to share his thought process when I asked him, “Why a pop-up dinner?” Says the Chef,
I have a thing with complacency. The reason we change the menu so quickly is because I don’t like feeling stagnant. I always have to be working on something new. This is the second pop-up, so I wanted to do a totally different style. That’s where I decided to do a menu that makes you forget that you didn’t have any meat.
I like to think of it as a completely new restaurant concept that is only open for one night. I also like talking to people while I cook so it gives folks the chance to both see and ask questions about the dishes and cooking in general. These dinners are made for the people of Fresno that want something different for just one evening.”
As for whether or not he has plans to bring the pop-up to other locations:
I am looking for other spaces to do similar types of dinners that have completely different ambiance. I will still probably have some at Sam’s Deli every once in a while.”
As I mentioned before, these special one-night restaurants tend to sell out quickly. If you think it sounds like an exciting culinary adventure, check for ticket availability here. And if you missed this round, don’t fret. There are ways to make sure you’re notified in time for the next one. According to Chef Shackelford,
“Everyone always wants to know how to find out about our events. We first post on our Facebook page, then usually a week later they are announced to our email list, which after 11 years of collecting emails, tends to sell most things out really quickly.”
Vegetarian Pop-Up Dinner Details:
Thursday, March 9, 6 p.m. at Sam’s Italian Deli
Tickets available here. Cost is $65 per person (includes gratuity). Limited to 32 seats.
Wine available from Nick’s Wine Corner.
• Tartine of Chive Fromage Blanc, Fried Lemon and Rosemary Sea Salt
• Roasted Baby Beets, Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Apple Balsamic
• Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Shaved Apple, Curry Crème Fraîche
• Parmesan Polenta with Marinated Japanese Eggplant, Cherry Tomato-Shallot Ragout, Smoked Mozzarella
• Crepe & Honey Sabayon Gratin, Citrus and Pistachio
Trelio Restaurant Details:
Location: 438 Clovis Ave. #4, Clovis, CA 93612
Hours: Tues-Sat: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Reservations: Click here
[Photos used with permission and provided by Trelio.]
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