A Night at the Apollo
It began when we arrived for our dinner reservation at The Apollo Grill on Thursday, October 22, 2015. The Apollo was hosting a charity event for the newly-established Bethlehem Food Co-Op. Carol Ritter, a membership consultant at the Co-Op, was selling chances as we checked in with the desk. We inquired about the event, and purchased tickets. As our dinner was coming to a close, Carol excitedly approached our table and advised us… WE WON! Our prize: dinner for four in the Apollo kitchen with the chef!
Rod Holt, one of the Apollo’s owners, came out and congratulated us on the win. We mutually agreed to wait until Spring – when the temperatures in the kitchen would be more comfortable – to schedule the dinner.
We invited our daughter and son-in-law to be our guests on the evening of June 2 this year and was it ever… a night to remember. Rod escorted us to the kitchen where a high-top table was strategically placed so we could view both the hot and cold stations. Rod began by introducing us to everyone in the kitchen by name and telling something about each of them (their kitchen responsibilities, how long they had been at the Apollo, etc.)… 10 in all as I recall.
Initially, he encouraged us to order appetizers that we would not normally order. My wife and I have dined at the Apollo for the past 17 years and we have a tendency to order many of the same items because we know they are excellent. However when we showed some reluctance to step out of our “comfort zone”, Rod “took charge” and we proceeded with oysters on the half shell, pistachio crusted sea scallops, black & blue tenderloin, cheesesteak spring rolls, and tempura lobster tail. He added a fine California white wine to help us avoid dehydration throughout the evening! While we waited for our appetizers to be prepared, Rod escorted us on a tour of the kitchen; cold storage, dry storage, etc.; each area marked, organized and spotless. While in the midst of dinner service, he answered the many questions we had about the complexity and demands of owning a restaurant and process of always getting high quality, hot food out to customers.
Next came the entrees and they included osso buco, duck confit, short ribs, and grilled salmon. Last but not least we were presented with a desert menu and despite our protests, we were encouraged to “sample” a couple. We finally decided on two, blueberry crisp with crumb topping and Mexican chocolate cake. But to our surprise not only did those two appear but so did key lime cheesecake and pineapple upside-down bread pudding. To conclude our evening, Rod offered us our choice of either limoncello or orangcello to toast our remarkable get together.
There is no doubt we, and our palates, had a most memorable evening. The different dishes were spectacular and we thoroughly enjoyed the unique experience of watching them being prepared. But, what truly made it special was knowing we got to experience this simply by helping a charity in our community.
The Apollo Grill will likely offer dinner for four in the Apollo kitchen with the chef two to four times a year to two or four different charities. Your charity can contact the restaurant directly to find out how they might be considered to participate in a fundraiser. One thing we can assure you… the winners will be as delighted as we were to have the experience.
It was truly…a night to remember.
What is a co-op?
Simply put, co-op is an independent, democratic organization owned, operated, and financed by its members, committed to the people it serves and the communities in which they live.
How did co-ops come about?
Cooperation is not new. Early human societies cooperated by sharing hunting, fishing, farming and shelter practices to improve their chances of survival. Cooperatives began to take more formal shape in the late 18th century as people moved from farms to cities. No longer able to grow their own food, they relied on privately owned stores to provide nourishment. Often, the prices were high and the selection was limited.
As less powerful members of these new cities, the workers, consumers, farmers and producers banded together to gain economic clout. They improved their options through joint purchases of supplies and services, and kept their costs low. They answered to themselves, and when change was needed, it was made. They became a co-op—a business run by the people, for the people.
Can anyone shop at the Bethlehem Co-op?
Yes! The co-op is open to anyone who wants to shop there, even non-members. However, members will receive many perks, like special prices & discounts, access to classes, and being able to walk in like they own the place (because they do!).