A Dopo Sourdough Pizza is welcoming a new pop-up restaurant called Terra for its first pop-up on May 2.
Earth will bring together Southern Appalachian and Northern Italian cuisine in a six-course tasting menu with optional three-course wine pairing. He will perform in the back room of A Dopo with a total of 24 tables on Monday, May 2. They had 48 tickets available for $70, which sold out within 20 minutes. They plan to hold more Terra pop-ups in May and summer.
Sous Chef Eleanor Sturm operates Terra. She spoke about the concept of the pop-up restaurant, as she was inspired by her years of experience in Italian cuisine and the fresh pasta she makes, which will serve as the base for dinner.
“It grew out of this concept of creating a conversation between southern Appalachia and northern Italy,” Sturm said. “Two places that I really like and two places that I see a lot of similarities in food and how communities approach the culture of food, the service of food, the creation of a community around the food.”
“So our focus is basically to highlight the foodways of those two places, but specifically the southern Appalachian foodways and the wild pantry that it offers,” Sturm said.
Sturm talked about the food they will find for the pop-up and the limits they set for themselves. She said the restaurant would source its supplies from local farmers and gardens within a defined radius. They will only use food grown in the land within a 125 mile radius, which is extended to 250 miles for anything that roams or swims.
For the first pop-up, she reduced this radius. She said knowing where the food comes from is an important aspect that she wants restaurant patrons to know.
“We were able to do something really amazing, which is that the product sourcing radius for this pop-up is 47 miles,” Sturm said. “And we bring fish and dairy from about 100 miles away.”
“So I think just being able to get them to recognize that it’s so localized and the most important aspect of the pop-up is that relationship that we’re building with the farmers,” Sturm said.
Pretty much all of the ingredients will come from local farms and foraging. She said only two ingredients will be imported from Italy as there is no good quality source for them locally. Sturm also shared how that experience got her thinking about the food supply, especially for ingredients that aren’t natural.
“I’ve always thought about where my food comes from in a certain way, but like I want to cook, well, vanilla, I can’t really get around here,” Sturm said. “So really using the natural landscape to replicate flavors or just create new flavors. For example, if you process hickory bark in a specific way, you can roast it, boil it, and you can create something very similar to vanilla extract.
For the wine pairing that costs $50 as an option, Sturm said he used a wine program focused on biodynamic wine. This removes chemicals and treats the vineyard as one entity, creating a more sustainable and natural wine. Three wines will be placed throughout the dinner to accompany the dishes.
She hopes the restaurant will serve as an introduction to the food she prepares and her own restaurant philosophy of sourcing locally from farms.
“I created this pop-up, from a space to introduce this cuisine to the region and to be able to play with these ideas that I have and this philosophy that I want to integrate into my future real brick and mortar restaurant. “, says Sturm. “My goal is to introduce this philosophy and test the waters to see how viable a truly 100% farm-to-table restaurant is.”
She works with the owner of A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, Brian Strutz, to run this pop-up restaurant. She came into contact with Strutz through Potchke co-owner Laurence Faber, who recommended Strutz after working together on Potchke’s initial concept using pop-ups.
“A Dopo’s Brian Strutz has been very generous and given a lot of time and space to me and the Terra team,” Sturm said. “He gave us the back room and we basically have a restaurant for 24 hours.”
Strutz talked about A Dopo pizza and how he views it, especially as a big part of the Knoxville community because of its local sourcing and home cooking.
“Now it’s become kind of a downtown institution, which was always the hope,” Strutz said.
Along with that, Strutz believes in giving people the space they need to test their ideas before jumping headlong into a restaurant or business without some of that experience. He did it with Potchke when he first started hosting restaurant pop-ups, which he is now a partner of alongside co-owners Faber and Emily Williams.
“We really liked it and we’re proud of it, and it eventually turned into a partnership with them and potentially more,” Strutz said. “So that wasn’t necessarily why we always did it, but it was something cool that came out of it because I think there needs to be a space for people to try an idea and not have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try it out.
After this first ephemeral restaurant with Terra, they plan to welcome others at A Dopo. Without revealing much, Strutz mentioned that he’s working on a project that will make pop-ups work better. For now, he hopes to welcome a few more this year, as he thinks it’s a way to develop ideas and a culture within Knoxville.
“People often ask me what I think would make Knoxville better, and the common answer I give is like, ‘Ordinary people willing to take a risk on themselves and claim a small part of Knoxville for themselves- same,” Strutz said.
Sturm and Strutz both hope the first Terra pop-up and subsequent ones go well and people enjoy the food. Sturm looks forward to your feedback, especially on how she can improve and grow as a chef and restaurateur. She wants Terra to be an accessible, local and refined dining experience.
“We’re trying to create an experience that builds on fine-dining service elements, but we want it to be accessible,” Sturm said. “We don’t want it to be stuffy. We don’t want you to feel like you have to sit there. For me, feeding people is a way to build community, but it’s also a way to make people feel comfortable, to take care of them and maybe they learn something along the way. .
This article has been edited to include additional information.