Food With Company is a hospitality firm based in Greensboro, North Carolina, founded by Anthony Moriarty and Marquis Butler. Food With Company creates immersive experiences in restaurants and bars. The goal of Food With Company is to create these experiences in the North Carolina vicinity and then eventually branch out to other states and cities.
On Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. Food With Company are taking over Greensboro’s newest cocktail bar, Smith & Edge, located at 422 N. Edgeworth St., with a How The Grinch Stole Christmas theme in an event they like to call “You’re a Mean One.” This event is a part of their Story Time installment, where the experience is based on well-known and nostalgic children’s stories. Tickets for “You’re a Mean One” are available online or at the door for $10.
Moriarty is the event director of Food With Company, and he said this is the fourth year in the business. Moriarty said they had turned a barn in Liberty into a lake house extravaganza and a coffee shop into a reggae cafe. But this is the first time they are coming to downtown Greensboro for an immersive experience.
“I am always looking for places that are somewhere like you wouldn’t expect,” Moriarty said. “We usually don’t let locations go [ahead of time],” he said. “Everything we do is a day before, and then you know where we are at. This is the first time that we are letting a location go just to support Smith & Edge, which is a local bar that just opened [on Oct. 4].”
Moriarty said the more unconventional location the better, which is why they have ended up in barns and coffee shops.
Since the Grinch is a well-known and beloved movie by many, and since it will be making its rounds to television sets everywhere soon, Moriarty said the Grinch-themed experience is perfect for the time year and the space at Smith & Edge.
“Every year at Christmas that is something that everybody has inside of their childhood and also, it is adult-themed,” Moriarty said. “The Grinch, to me, is more adult than Charlie Brown. Since we are edgy, it would make sense that we go after an edgy story.”
Don’t walk into Smith & Edge on Dec. 1 and expect to hear “Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores,” or see the likeness of Whoville, though. This pop-up experience has decided to go in a different direction, and more specifically all the way up to Mount Crumpit and inside the Grinch’s lair itself. To fully recreate the inside of the Grinch’s quarters, Moriarty said decorators went inside thrift shops around town and collected items that look like they would belong in a junkyard.
“You could either mimic Whoville or the Grinch’s home,” Moriarty said. “We were like ‘oh, we are going into the Grinch’s home.’ Don’t expect the singing and happiness, it is going to be more like ‘dun, dun, dun.’ If you like go inside Smith & Edge, it fits, it is more dark and things like that. That is another reason why we picked it.”
The last event Food With Company hosted, they only had 30 minutes to get everything decorated and put together, Moriarty said. This event is different though, he said, because it is smaller and they will have more time to decorate since the bar opens at 5 p.m.
“Usually we are doing something from like 600 to 3,000 people, this time we are just aiming for 100,” Moriarty said. “Our aspect is to do the best we can for those 100 people because, after 100, we feel no reason to push it. We will even close the doors at 100 [people].”
Within two days of launching the Facebook event, Moriarty said there are almost 200 people already interested in going.
Along with games, spots to take memorable photos and prizes, there will also be a special drink menu that carries along with the Grinchmas theme. The featured cocktail is Smith & Edge manager Tanner Alberty’s personal favorite called The Mr. Grin-inch, which consists of Mezcal Vida, green Chartreuse, lime juice, a dash orange bitters and a dash of habanero bitters. Other Christmas cocktail creations include the Cindy Lou Who (bourbon-based), Means A Little Bit More (Gin-based), Shoes Were Too Tight (Midori and Cointreau-based) and the Whoville (essentially a Manhattan by another name). Alberty describes Smith & Edge having a more “laid-back environment than your general dive bar.”
‘I want everyone to enjoy themselves,” Alberty said. “I think it is going to be a really great time.”
This is not the only time you’ll see Food With Company downtown. Following the success of You’re a Mean One, they plan on having three more installments, all in different places with different themes. Moriarty said the next story time will be more fan-curated, and the public will have a lot more say in what the theme is and what will be offered. Moriarty said Food With Company is also working on other installments that are still in the works called “Brunch Not Lunch,” which is based off movies instead of books, Food Museum and a dessert bar (which is more exclusive and secretive), Moriarty said to be on the lookout.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.
For more information about Food With Company, visit their Facebook page, @foodwithcompany and website https://youreameanone.com/ .