Elmwood's new dinner series is a family affair – or, rather, a TRAMily affair.
The restaurant, which opened in January after years of anticipation, has announced that the first of its TRAMily Reunion Dinners will take place Tue., April 23. The series is named for The Restaurant at Meadowood, the three-star Michelin restaurant in Napa Valley where co-owner Chris Kelling worked for two years before returning to St. Louis. Kelling says the dinner series is a way to introduce St. Louis diners to the acclaimed restaurant – and the many talented people who have come out of it – while, in turn, showing off St. Louis to these industry professionals.
"When you work in restaurants you spend a lot of hours there, and they’re generally evening times, Fridays, Saturdays – times you might traditionally spend with your family," Kelling says. "I think that restaurant teams form a bond that goes beyond what other workplaces form, at least in my experience. The Restaurant at Meadowood shorthand was TRAM, and as such, TRAMily was born out of that. The restaurant was filled – and still is to this day – with so many people who are so talented and have gone to do really cool stuff."
To that end, the series kicks off next Tuesday with two of Kelling's former colleagues at The Restaurant at Meadowood: winemakers Erin Pooley of Little Frances (named a winemaker to watch by the San Francisco Chronicle last year) and Matt Iaconis of Brick & Mortar Wines. The dinner will feature a small bite followed by four courses, all of which will be new dishes developed by chef and co-owner Adam Altnether to pair with the wines on offer for the evening.
Kelling says that both of the wineries offer fun, expressive wines, from Little Frances' barrel-aged Semillon to Brick & Mortar's new canned rosé. "It's hard working in restaurants in general, and especially The Restaurant at Meadwood – it's three Michelin stars," he says. "For them to maintain this outside passion while just excelling within the walls of the restaurant is pretty impressive, so we’re really happy to have them here."
Elmwood plans to host the TRAMily dinners about once a quarter, and Kelling hopes to invite other alums of The Restaurant at Meadowood including winemakers, chefs and bartenders to participate in future dinners.
"I had a lot of time to reflect during the build-out of Elmwood about how I wanted to properly thank the people I worked with, especially at The Restaurant," Kelling says. "It's just really a great opportunity to bring them in and show them what we do at Elmwood and show them what St. Louis is about, and to also show St. Louis a little about the history behind what has manifested into Elmwood."
The first TRAMily dinner will be held Tue., April 23 at 6:30pm. Tickets for the dinner are $95, available here.
Elmwood, 2704 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, Missouri, elmwoodstl.com