Glow Table Dinner debuts in front of the Grove in Lakewood Ranch.
It's not about a fancy dinner or a show.
It's about taking a chance.
Anna Maria Island's Rainer Scheer picked Lakewood Ranch to try out a Glow Table Dinner on Nov. 6. The event will be held on Lakewood Main Street in front of the Grove, which will cater the event and provide servers.
Scheer is the founder of the Chillounge Night, which was established in 2008 to transform outdoor spaces into a relaxation lounge. Scheer would bring in two semi truckloads of furniture, lighting and entertainment to create a lounge atmosphere. He got away from the business because he was doing huge events and he said the stress was oppressive.
The Glow Table Dinner is similar, but smaller. Scheer will spread out 36 LED Glow Tables on Lakewood Main Street with social distancing in mind for up to 260 people. Tickets are sold in groups for tables, which accommodate four, six, eight or 10 people. Those tickets amount to $140 a seat while individual tickets can be purchased at $160 each.
It's a pricey proposition, but it includes dinner, nine cirque performers, who will rotate around the tables between meal courses, beer, wine and a DJ. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Scheer, who is testing the concept for the first time, obviously picked Lakewood Ranch because the residents here have the disposable income to try something chic.
Grove General Manager Greg Campbell said it is exciting to see Scheer take the risk when some people remain reluctant to come out during the pandemic.
"We're trying to support him," Campbell said. "I love to see people come in and try something. And those tables are beautiful."
Campbell said the Grove is doing well as people are beginning to feel more comfortable dining in a pandemic world. However, while he could host 300 people or more in his ballroom, most companies and organizations that host such functions remain a bit hesitant to put that many people together.
For example, the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance's annual Sandies awards banquet annually packs the Grove at this time of year. That event will be virtual this year.
So to see an entrepreneur like Scheer bet on Lakewood Ranch is a good sign for everyone on Lakewood Main Street and beyond.
The menu is impressive. Patrons can choose between smoked beef tenderloin, stuffed salmon duck sous vide and zucchini pasta (for those who need a gluten free, dairy free, vegan option). Dessert? Raspberry flourless chocolate tort with toasted meringue and seasonal berries.
For those who want more than the wine and beer that comes with dinner, bars will be set up along the tables with cocktails for purchase.
Scheer, who used to own the Sarasota gallery, Design O Fresco on Palm Avenue, said he will have 49 people on the payroll for the event including security.
Besides the event in Lakewood Ranch, Scheer is testing the concept in St. Petersburg on Nov. 13. If it works, he hopes to expand to other cities in Florida.
He said a section of Lakewood Main Street will close by 10 a.m. on Nov. 6 and the actual dinner and show runs from 7-9:30 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Lamborghini Sarasota. A rain date is scheduled for Nov. 7.
For more information, go to www.GlowTableDinner.com.