Florida-based restaurant industry veteran Evan Darnell describes himself as the “steak secretary” of a national group that calls itself the Red Meat Lovers Club. Darnell came up with the idea for the club as a lark in Tulane, a playful response to the college’s SAVE (Students Advocating Vegetarian Eating) club. He and his friends planned fun meat-centric menus and realized they could actually do some good by raising money for local charities as part of their foodie endeavors.
The club retired until Darnell revived it in New York in 2017, and every month since then the group has planned a dinner party somewhere in the country, even during the pandemic. Various charities have been the recipients of almost $1 million in donations from the proceeds of the monthly dinner parties, which often feature guest chefs preparing menus that would make Paul McCartney quiver in his Beatle boots.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, Darnell brings his merry band of pork knuckles to Nashville for his third RMLC dinner in as many years, featuring guest chefs Matt Bolus of The 404 Kitchen and Carey Bringle of the Peg Leg restaurant empire. Pork barbecue. Darnell and the RMLC have a relationship with Casa de Montecristo, the South Florida-based cigar company with a series of retail outlets and smokehouses across the country. For one night only, their shop at 600 Ninth Ave. S. in the Gulch will be transformed into the Montecristo Steak House, as 100 ticket holders gather for an evening of frivolity and charity.
If you imagine a crowd of guys drinking whiskey, munching cigars and gorging themselves on unhealthy amounts of meat, well, you’re right, but at least they’ll be doing it for a good cause – the Jevon Kearse Foundation. The beloved ex-Titan will be the guest of honor that night, and The Freak’s charitable work with children in his home community of Fort Myers, Florida has been impressive over the years.
Bolus and Bringle collaborated on a menu of large-format dishes that Darnell describes as “a mountain of meat with views of deliciousness. We don’t really believe in salads. In truth, the “salad” course is listed as being a “roasted whole alligator”. Buffalo Trace will provide libations throughout the evening and Montecristo will provide the stogies. The Alex Murphy trio will also host the event.
While coming together for fun, food, and fellowship is a highlight, the real goal is to raise at least $10,000 through a combination of raffles and live and silent auctions, which I tell -on, can get quite noisy after all that whiskey and meat drunkenness. If you do attend, bring your checkbook (anyone still have one?) and prepare to be pressured into bidding by a 6-foot-4 former defensive lineman looking to separate you from your silver. Again, for a good cause.
Much of how the RMLC raises funds is through dinner sponsorships, and they are always looking for support. Sponsorships include multiple dinner spots, including the special option of a special A-5 wagyu beef course. Sponsorship details and regular tickets are available on the event website. It’s also possible to extend the fun to two days by signing up to join an RMLC food tour of Nashville with stops at several restaurants along the way.
I think this post is now long enough that if you haven’t clicked yet out of concern for your arteries, you probably want to see the menu. Pop a Lipitor, find a safe place to sit and take a look at this foodie wonderland:
Montecristo Steak Menu by Matt Bolus and Carey Bringle
Pimento Cheese on Sailor Crackers
Peg Leg Smoked Wings
Whole Roasted Alligators
gastric crayfish | arugula | citrus
Whole Roast Pork
Smoked prime rib loin
Green cabbage and Benton ham
mexican street corn
Duck Fat Caramel Brownies
Special A5 Wagyu course offered to VIP guests
The party starts at 7 p.m. and lasts until the last bid is paid.