The Blog

Why You and Your Neighbors Should Host a Progressive Dinner




Photographer: The Beautiful Mess Photography (100 Days of Real Food)















This summer I had the honor to speak on a panel held during the week long Charlotte Shout festival on the importance of building our communities here in Charlotte through events. As the resident hostess of my block, I spoke on neighborhood events. Neighborhood events come in many forms. Many start small and have the possibility and momentum to make a larger civil impact on its surrounding community outside of the one block or neighborhood. When you host neighborhood events it boosts morale and creates pride in your neighborhood Creating pride is something so basic, yet so important. Neighborhoods can easily fall into disrepair and despair. However, when people care, you will be able to maintain and improve that place that you call home.

Some of my fondest memories of growing up is playing with the kids on my block, riding my bike around my neighborhood and having the best time during our annual summer block party.

My block just hosted our first progressive dinner last month and it was a hit! A progressive dinner is a party where each course is eaten at a different hosts house in the same evening. Guests progress from house to house across three or four locations. The dinner does not have to be themed but encourage the hosts to bring delight during every course with decor or food and beverage that will create interesting conversation.

On the menu for our block’s progressive dinner was,

Cocktails and Appetizers 

Our block bartender is always ready for a good gathering of neighbors and served up several signature drinks that you could select from a printed cocktail menu, including a refreshing summer “Ruby-tini” a mix of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and ruby red grapefruit vodka. (My daughter’s name is Ruby and for her Sip and See last summer this neighbor put together the sweetest gift basket with the ingredients to this specialty cocktail in ode to my daughter. I have the best neighbors.) For appetizers, they keep it simple with an assortment of nuts, cheeses and summer sausages.


My hubby and I hosted dinner and we decided to cater some of the meal, since to our delight, 16 neighbors (including the older children that live on the block) committed to attending. We served up chicken picatta, garlic herb shrimp, cilantro rice, sweet and savory brussels sprouts with pancetta (my hubby cooked this item) and spinach and corn salad with red onions and feta cheese (I prepared this dish). We served red and white wine. Timing the meals is simple, if you’re the host of the next event, you should leave 10 minutes before the start time of the next meal to get set for guests. Our timeline for our progressive dinner was cocktails and appetizers at 5pm, dinner at 6pm and dessert at 7:30pm.


Our newest neighbors to the block hosted an assortment of homemade desserts, ice cream, coffee, wine and a yummy after dinner Blueberry Collins specialty cocktail. The evening ended at 10:30pm and fun was had by ALL. We’re already planning our next block event for the fall.

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