the state

– of brunch. by vastate
Friday, 13 February 2009, 10:35
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

we heard a lovely rumor that some folks are starting a sort of supper-club brunch thing in town.

this is brilliant!

we know the details, but are unsure if we can share – so can someone give us the d.l. and we’ll make it the dish?

we are fascinated with past projects in the same vein – particularly the associated intrigue, drama, and rapid rise to the top – and eventual collapse.

check out the story of family supper in portland.

photo credit basil childers

michael hebberoy; photo credit basil childers

In 2001, Hebberoy and his wife, Naomi, a chef, opened an illegal restaurant they called Family Supper in their rented Portland bungalow. Sans business license, the Hebberoys fed friends and friends of friends by invitation only. The meals, all served family-style, cost at most $20 a person, paid on the honor system. The 20 or so chairs were mismatched, the carpet was a shabby white shag, and the whole thing exuded such outré charm that the Hebberoys soon became the It couple of Portland’s avant-garde dining scene.

i read about this venture in a hotel magazine and have been somewhat obsessed ever since.  basically, michael & natalie hebberoy were culinary savants, taking the u.s. food world by storm in the early 2000’s, first with a series of exclusive dinners in their own living room, and later, rapidly expanding their success.  they did crazy stuff really well – all in an industrial, family-style setting.  like this:

Clarklewis was an overnight sensation. And if customers had to acclimate themselves to retro portion sizes (“small,” “large” or “family”), hipper-than-thou servers, “recommended reading” printed on the back of the menu, deafening acoustics and a level of lighting more suited to the bedroom than the dining room, Brownlow’s cooking lent Clarklewis the undeniable substance it needed. The ever-changing menu offered dishes such as mussels with shaved fennel and conserve of chiles; a “peasant salad” of bitter lettuces, roasted fresh-cured pancetta and coarse-shaved parmesan; and silken house-made pastas. During the day, whole hogs and lambs were butchered in the open kitchen, in full view of the ladies who lunched.


natalie hebberoy; photo credit basil childers

so, take heed, harrisonburg brunchers.    michael is now a revered, although slightly outcast, member of the cooking elite.  he relocated in sortof shame to seattle, and last i heard, runs a sweet transitory enterprise called one pot.


and has an amazing food/music blog, called one pot blog.  many of the dinners are all about “music for eating and drinking” and feature local music acts along with the food. check it – a cover of neil young’s “ohio” by head like a kite:

check out the aftermath of family supper in this nytimes article.   dan savage even got involved.

but, that said.  avant garde is dangerous, brilliant, and exciting.  if you can make bacon and flaxjax in harrisonburg virginia any of those things, you’ve got my vote, and the state‘s full support.  and, um,  just to work the local blogger angle, can we get an exclusive invite?



10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I would LOVE to be involved in something like this…

Comment by wellmet

Two other underground restaurant websites to check out:

Gypsy (Seattle)

Hidden Kitchen (Paris)

Comment by Josh

thanks, josh. will check it out…

Comment by vastate

so, anybody know what’s up and how much i can share about the local underground dinner scene? an if there really isn’t one yet…shall we start it?

Comment by vastate

We’re not an illegal restaurant, but we could be persuaded to invite you to the Cafe this summer…

Comment by Alysia

We’re not an illegal restaurant, but we could be persuaded to invite you to the Cafe this summer…

Comment by Alysia

i should be more careful when i’m trying out catchy post names! we are so intrigued – and would love to come and try your fare…

Comment by vastate

[…] Friday, 13 February 2009, 12:59 Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of localism thanks to josh for these […]

Pingback by - of pushing the envelope (restaurant-style). « the state

check out my updated post-title…thanks for the gentle head’s up, alysia.

Comment by vastate

[…] a family supper-style gourmet local-foods event.  i bet some local chefs would participate.  and farmer’s would […]

Pingback by – of another food co-op rant. « the state

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