Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hats Off

My love affair with this city is more involved than
just place. It's about the people I know, what we do,
and how we do it. It's the long conversations we have
late at night, the things we create, and the ideas we
tirelessly try to bring to life.

This weekend marks a small milestone, albeit an
important one. Over a year ago, Steve Smith came to me
and said he wanted to start a restaurant. There was a
small buzz. I'd hear conversations at Mangia late at
night, read bits in the gossip column of the
newspaper, and offerings of opinions would come my
way. There were naysayers and difficulties, meetings
that lasted way too long, and television cameras in
our faces. But still, there was a vision.

What we got turned out even better.

This coming Saturday, May 6th, we are celebrating the
Royale's first year in business. What started out as a
place where you could bring your grandmother for
lunch, your date for dinner, and your friends for
cocktails has turned into much more. Sure, the drinks
are fresh and innovative, some classic tales of days
past. The records spin at night, the bartenders trade
quips and insight; outside the fountain bubbles as the
tents sway and the grill sends up smoke signals.

The Royale has come together as more than just a
restaurant. It's a place where we have seen scores of
people come together to watch political addresses,
where books clubs meet while sipping wine, where
community leaders organize and teachers discuss the
state of education, where washers are thrown, and
where small revolutions begin their neighborhood
whispers. It has also become my home and my family--
not in the sense of that which you can't escape, but
in the way that it is constant, there for you to
return to when you need laughter and insight the most.

Come celebrate all this with us this weekend. On
Saturday, May 6th, we are holding our Second Annual
Derby Party, though this year it is officially the
Royale Derby Speakeasy. Mint juleps will be cold and
strong as the heat of spring stirs the building.
Jessica Butler will be outside on the patio singing
her jazz stylings and playing with her band. DJ's will
spin classic tunes inside and out. Our new chef, Tony
Beno-Holden, has whipped up a variety of food specials
that celebrate the South, the Derby, and the era of
Prohibition, not to mention officially opening the
full grill menu up for business. The race will kick
off around 4:30 for horse fans. There will be hats
worn and fancy dress, and the party will last long
into the night. And for lovers of the drink, Tim
O'Connell will be on hand, in town special from DC, to
hold court.

Thanks for the great year, hopefully the first of
many. Speak easy. Dress sharp.

WHAT: Royale Anniversary Party/ Derby Speakeasy Bash
WHEN: Saturday, May 6 2pm-close
WHERE: Royale Food and Spirits, 3132 S. Kingshighway
DRESS: sharp

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