A River Valley restaurant showed its support for local vendors with a special menu Sunday night (Aug. 25). MovieLounge, located at 7601 Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith, hosted the "Taste of the Valley" - a five course dinner made with ingredients purchased at the Fort Smith Farmer's Market.
Chef Blythe Beck said her menu was inspired by the fresh produce and meats she found at the farmer's market.
"We couldn't have told you the menu a month ago, a week ago or a day ago because we didn't know," said Beck. "We went out and sought out the best products, and that's what we turned the menu into."
Chef Beck said diners were treated to lemongrass poached chicken with farmer's market ratatouille and a dessert made with watermelon and cantaloupe.
Adam Amorose and Alka Patel dined at MovieLounge for the first time during "Taste of the Valley." They said they shop at the farmer's market regularly and wanted to continue to support their local vendors.
"We eat very clean," said Amorose. "A lot of local grass-fed beefs, free range chicken, and we find that the farmer's market is the only place that we can find it."
Patel said she would like to see more restaurants incorporate locally grown ingredients into their menus.
MovieLounge became mobile when the restaurant owners purchased a food trailer. Beck and her team have been a fixture at the Fort Smith Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings since. Local vendors say they're thrilled to be teaming up with MovieLounge.
"I think people being able to taste homegrown produce supplied by MovieLounge will give them a better appreciation for what fresh is all about," said Joe Carr with Joe's Local Fresh Homegrown Produce.
Jeremy Prater with Cedar Creek Farm in Cedarville said opportunity to partner with MovieLounge is great advertising for his business.
"It gets our product out there to where people can taste it professionally prepared," said Prater. "So maybe some folks will have that dinner then come back down to the market and think they can do some interesting stuff at home."