March Dinner: Spring Sunlight & Out-of-Towners

Saturday was our March dinner. Dinner number five. We really could not have asked for a more enjoyable evening. Our ever generous friends Aanna & Logan Greer offered to let us use their home as the venue. The windows & amount of sunlight in this place is unreal. We can’t describe it in words. So, here’s a picture:

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& another one:

AndCompany-31 As great as the sunlight was, it was made even better by the design genius of Ashley Snyder, who puts us all to shame when it comes to just about everything. & these gorgeous photos (and all the ones to follow) were captured by our new friend Mitzi Starkweather, who is one of those ladies who may technically be a “new” friend, but we feel like we’ve known her for years, & therefore know all of her deepest darkest secrets, but totally aren’t telling you guys any of them because we’re total BFFs.

Anyway…

Our March guests are also new friends, but have very quickly become some of our favorite people. Lycia Shrum & Taylor Macfee are the brains & brawn (not respectively, but collectively) behind Blackboard Grocery and Eatery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. If you don’t know about Blackboard yet, prepare to get educated. Blackboard Grocery and Eatery is a high-end, specialty goods market/gourmet, healthy-options-abounding convenience store. Awesome, right? Lycia & Taylor probably have a more compact description for their store, but we want to be as descriptive as possible.

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Upon entering Blackboard, you’ll find a huge selection of specialty convenience items ranging from small-batch chocolates (Askinosie, Mast Bros., Raaka, etc.) to Snack bars (Bobo’s, Bearded Brothers, Larabars, etc.) to beer (local, craft and domestic brews) to chips, pints of ice cream & frozen entrees. They also boast a large selection of local items: Onyx Coffee, Bernice’s Hellacious Hummus & Loblolly Creamery Ice-cream, just to name a few. In the mornings, they serve breakfast tacos (uh, yum) & have a selection of soups and sandwiches in the afternoon.

Lycia hails from Austin, TX & Taylor is a Joplin native (holla!). They met while on Warped tour. Taylor was playing bass, & Lycia was being wooed by Taylor (at least that’s the story we heard). They have been together since.

Lycia says she’s been dreaming of Blackboard since 2010, when her passion shifted from music, to food while working at a market similar to Blackboard in Austin. She says she had a hard time accepting that she was good at customer service, because she thought of it as a “college job”. To feel accomplished in working a service job, she needed to make it her own. & that’s what she did. She chose Fayetteville, in part, because she felt like she had knowledge to offer the area. Something fresh, that had not been introduced yet. While Austin had seen the likes of Blackboard, Fayetteville had not – until this last December. Now, it’s a fixture on notorious Dickson St., the heart of Fayetteville’s entertainment & nightlife district. If you’re not familiar with Fayetteville, Dickson Street is the place to be. It’s got all the cool haps & hangs. You know, it’s hip.

Taylor is simultaneously passionate about Blackboard, & his love for music & playing in a band. He is a bass player, & spends a lot of time on the road. When he is home, though, he’s making coffee, pressing panini’s, & learning how to run a business, right alongside Lycia. The pair said it has been fun learning together & are looking forward to what’s to come. When you make the trip to Blackboard, make sure you order a panini. Taylor’s a whiz at running the press. He recommends the Cuban.

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