As winter settles in, we crave warmth, community and comfort. From from cozy corners in restaurants to drinking wine at home with friends, extra energy pours into our indoor environments. Attending a pop-up dinner fits right in with this theme where you dine with strangers that become friends over a shared meal. Brita Olsen and Elise Metzger, owners of Filigree Suppers, have been hosting year-round, design-centric pop-up dinners throughout Chicago and NYC for nearly four years. Their most recent dinner, entitled Surplus, was held at 99 Scott in Brooklyn and was focused on fire, warmth and abundance. The entire evening was bathed in a candle-like glow thanks to the Edison bulbs intermingled with the wild, hand collected florals that hung from ceiling from Sarah Saunders. Heirloom Fire created a menu surrounding a live fire and sustainability including venison, wild mushrooms and hearth cooked bread.
We caught up with Brita about this special seasonal dinner and learned more about Filigree Suppers’ methods and inspirations.
Tell us all about Filigree Suppers and the dinners you host!
We host monthly dinners in New York and Chicago with a strong emphasis on design. My business partner Elise Metzger runs the Chicago events and we are always looking for new and exciting spaces to explore. Every supper has a unique theme and then we bring in collaborators to help that theme come to life. Now two are ever the same.
What was the design inspiration?
The theme of the evening was 'Surplus' and celebrated the elements that are abundant in nature. This concept was completely inspired by a conversation I had with chef and owner of Heirloom Fire, James Gop. He started talking about how inspired he was to design a meal around foraged items he comes across in the Berkshires. He mentioned he is fascinated by the idea of 'invasive species' - fish and game that have little to no predators, and edible plants berries that grow like weeds. It seemed like a good sustainable cause to highlight so I wanted to echo that in the overall design. We sourced salvaged linen and used scraps that are at the end of the roll to make a runner for the long table. Florist Sarah Saunders collected wild bittersweet vines form the side of the roads and strung them from the ceiling.
A long table was lit by hanging edison bulbs installed by Stortz lighting and hanging vines of foraged bittersweet by Sarah Saunders Studio. Ikebana arrangements of pampas grassed sprouted out of vases by ceramicist Yoon Young Hur, who created a pop up shop for the evening. A window pane light installation projected on indoor leaf piles played on the concept of a crisp fall day at night.
Tell us about the menu inspiration and food & drink that was served!
Caterer Heirloom Fire set up a kitchen where they cooked the whole meal exclusively over fire. The menu focused on invasive species to include wild mushrooms, venison, hearth made breads and a dessert that celebrated bees.
100 guests were greeted with a sumac flecked bourbon cocktail prepared by herbalist Jessa Blades. Then they were encouraged to explore the outdoor kitchen in 99 Scott's patio space, to witness the preparation of this uniquely sustainable meal.
Why did you choose 99 Scott as your venue & what was your favorite part of working here?
I chose 99 Scott because they have an amazing outdoor space that I knew would be big enough for Heirloom Fire to set up an outdoor kitchen and allow guests to walk through during cocktail hour. I loved watching people take part in the whole process of what they were about to eat, and interact with the chefs. What James does is like theater, and there aren't many venues in NYC where you can really gather around a fire and also have an enclosed dining room.
Having planned a wedding at 99 Scott before, I was so inspired about how versatile it is. The space is very raw and that creates such a great canvas for design. We loved that guests navigated down a relatively industrial street and opened the doors to a space that was just glowing with warm light. It is such a great reveal and feels like a secret hideaway once you are inside.
What is your top tip for others looking to book 99 Scott?
Book an event designer who leans into the industrial nature of the space. I think 99 Scott looks best when the florals are a bit wild and bring life to all the concrete and brick. Also don't forget about lighting, simple changes can highlight the expansiveness of the space while still keeping it really cozy. It is a great space to get creative and build a unique event because so much is possible.
Get tickets to the next Filigree Supper →
Host: Filigree Suppers | Food: Heirloom Fire | Cocktail: Jessa Blades | Venue: 99 Scott | Floral: Sarah Saunders Studio | Vases: Yoon Young Hur | Lighting: Stortz Lighting | Wine: Early Mountain | Calligraphy: Raquel Writes | Photo: Tory Williams