Open House: PlaceInvaders Dinners Pop Up In Great Barrington
By Amy Krzanik
If you’re anything like us, you love to see how other people live — how they decorate and use their space, what they collect. You also love being the first to experience a new restaurant — the more eclectic, the better. On Friday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 6, you can do both at once when PlaceInvaders, a team of pop-up dinner party planners, takes our two loves and combines them for a one-weekend-only secret dinner party.
While the location of the three dinners and two brunches won’t be released until the day of the first event, we can tell you that it’s in a Great Barrington, Mass. home with lots of space. PlaceInvaders owners Hagan Blount and Katie Smith-Adair are excited to have room to move after beginning their business in Brooklyn two years ago and having so far created events mostly in urban areas.
What began as monthly events in the New York City area has become a full-time job, and Smith-Adair and Blount now travel the U.S. year round in a truck with a purple trailer towed behind. Hagen, who is not formally trained but has years of restaurant experience, is by all accounts an amazing chef. “He’s the kind of person who finds the best thing to eat in a new city and then thinks ‘How can I improve on this?’” says Smith-Adair. As for her, Smith-Adair, who formerly worked in marketing and tech start-ups, now serves as host, flower arranger and anything else for which the event calls.
A friend in Hillsdale, N.Y. recommended the Berkshires as one of their stops and the Invaders agreed that it had all the ingredients they were looking for. Smith-Adair says, “I’m excited because there are a lot of interesting locals, and I enjoy meeting adventurous and social people who like to try new things.”
The couple likes to get to town early, in order to meet with local farmers, wineries and distillers, and make use of the best the area has to offer. Smith-Adair considers it to be one of the most fun parts of the job. “We get to meet people who raise animals and grow food, and talk to them about what they do.”
The meals they create are based, in part, on what fresh and interesting items they discover. That could mean anything from foraged berries and mushrooms to fresh-caught salmon, based on the season and location. The duo has some staple recipes they’ve honed over time, like grilled oysters in different iterations, and others that are inspired by what they find from local partners. For their Berkshire pop-ups they’ll be featuring meat from The Meat Market in Great Barrington, along with vegetables and flowers from Sol Flower Farm in Millerton, beer from Big Elm and wines from Domaney’s, and their signature drink will be based around Berkshire Mountain Distillers liquor.
Each event is guaranteed to have a five-course dinner, which includes a passed appetizer, wine and a signature cocktail served while guests mingle. For their Berkshires debut, Smith-Adair is leaning toward a sparkling mulled wine she calls “Christmas in a glass.” A sit-down dinner follows, where members of the guest list, capped off at 24 per meal, can get to know each other.
PlaceInvaders Pop-Up in Great Barrington, Mass.
Friday, Dec. 4: Dinner at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 5: Brunch at 1 p.m., Dinner at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 6: Brunch at 1 p.m., Dinner at 7 p.m.
$125 for dinner and $75 for brunch.