Do you love a little mystery with your dinner? One of the coolest trends in dining today is the “Underground Dinner.” It is a trend that can be seen in major cities all across the United States. However, most people wouldn’t expect this trend to be found right here in Bossier.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, the 2nd Act Supper Club hosted an Underground Dinner at the East Bank District. The location of the dinner wasn’t revealed until the day of the event. Attendees purchased tickets for the dinner without any knowledge of the menu or the location. Instead they trusted Chef Anthony Felan and his wife Amanda Davis Felan, founders of the 2nd Act Supper Club, to give them an amazing dining experience. As one of the diners at this event, I can say they certainly did not disappoint.
The menu featured 5 courses and dessert. Among the menu items were roasted pumpkin soup, beet salad with whipped lemon goat cheese, herb gnocchi, grilled quail with cornbread stuffing, slow roasted porchetta with creamy peas and apple cobbler with creme anglaise for dessert. Chef Anthony was inspired by the season change for this dinner’s particular menu.
“My inspiration for this dinner was the seasons changing. Fall is my favorite time of the year and I wanted this menu to reflect just that,” he said.
The event began with a cocktail reception at Flying Heart Brewing & Pub. After the reception, guests could walk with their drinks to the dinner venue at Retro 521. The East Bank District now allows open containers so patrons can walk outside with their alcoholic beverages.
Why the East Bank District?
Chef Anthony and Amanda usually choose locations in Shreveport, but this time they wanted to showcase the East Bank District.
“We wanted to showcase the amazing revamp that has happened in the East Bank District, while promoting some of the small businesses in the area,” Amanda said. “We were excited to cross the river for the first time and bring our supper club to Anthony’s hometown. We hope to find more unique locations in Bossier so we can continue to expand our reach outside of Shreveport.”
There is a lot that goes into planning these Underground Dinners. The Felan’s work as a team to make it happen.
The Dream Team
“Anthony and I usually brainstorm on locations but I typically reach out to the venues to request access and work out logistics,” Amanda said. “We both have our individual roles, event planning and social media being mine and the menu creation and food prep his, but we are always bouncing ideas and plans off of each other. He even lets me be the menu critic and help him with food ideas when he’s feeling stuck for ideas. Our differing perspectives and skills are what make this venture such a success.”
Amanda says that the 2nd Act Supper Club has helped her realized that her and her husband can accomplish great things together.
“Fulfillment for me comes from the joy and growth we have seen in our relationship by doing this together,” she said. “Things can be a little tense for us through the week prior to a dinner, but this team endeavor has truly made our relationship stronger. Our careers and schedules are so different, and time together is not something we get a lot of, so it means a lot for us to have something that’s truly ‘ours.’ Through it all, it has made us realize that we are a very good team and we can accomplish great things together.”
In 2017, Chef Anthony’s dad passed away suddenly after a cancer diagnosis one month prior. This motivated him and Amanda to finally start the 2nd Act Supper Club after they’d been tossing the idea around for years. Their goal was simple. To host delicious dinners in historic buildings. Today, they are hosting sold out dinners at cool locations only one year after starting the club.
“It’s humbling, exciting and sometimes overwhelming,” Amanda said. We are honored and so grateful that people support us in this endeavor. We are seeing new faces at each dinner, and at the same time, filling at least half of the room with people who attend every single one. We leave each dinner completely exhausted but energized and in awe of the response we receive from our guests.”
In addition to hosting these Underground Dinners, Chef Anthony also opened up his own business Fat Calf Boucherie. This farm-to-table gastropub is located inside Red River Brewing. They are now serving up tasty brunch to hungry customers every Sunday.
“I felt like it was time to try and venture out on my own,” Anthony said. “I felt that if I was going to make this jump, it was the time. I believe a lot of my push came from my father passing in 2017. I wanted to do something I knew he would be proud of. So with my wife’s support and blessing we made a jump into the unknown. I think we have made a good reputation for ourselves and Fat Calf has had huge success in such a small time as we approach a year in business on November 10th. I can honestly say it hasn’t been easy but we are fulfilled and are eager to see that the future holds for us.”
What does the future hold for the 2nd Act Supper Club? Chef Anthony and Amanda hope to continue to host these Underground Dinners in historically significant locations in Shreveport-Bossier.
“We just want to continue providing a unique and exciting experience for our guests so they will keep coming back and spreading the word about what we are doing. Our goal is to find more historically significant locations and incorporate the back story of each location at the dinner. The vision we’ve always had for 2nd Act was to show our community the value and beauty in some of our historic assets, allowing them to see how people have restored and re-purposed the buildings, in hopes that they will join arms in the movement to preserve our city’s rich history and revitalize the structures that we already have. And while this can cause certain challenges due to lack of amenities, we don’t want to lose sight of why we started this.”