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Mill pairs wine with success

Sinclaire Sparkman • Jul 25, 2017 at 8:40 PM

The wine loft on the second floor of the Mill in Lebanon opened its doors to 32 people Friday evening for its first pop-up dinner event.

Hungry patrons gathered around tables as Nashville chef Matthew DiPietro presented a seven-course dinner served with both red and white wines paired with each course. The menu consisted of courses of various vegetables, cod, cavatelli, squash, a pork duo with cheddar grits, greens and roasted garlic, banana pudding and a sorbet trio.

“I enjoyed the entire event,” DiPietro said. “I loved seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces after they finished a dish and hearing that they were happy and pleased with the dishes.”

This dinner was the first of its kind for the Mill, something the organizers hope to do again in the future. It was named the Dani-Grace dinner, in honor of DiPietro’s daughter.

“It was extremely successful. Everyone raved about it,” said Diane Parness, general manager of the Mill. “We became aware that the pop-up dinner concept seemed to be fairly popular, and we thought it would be a great way to showcase the wine loft.”

Food served at the event was farm-to-table, meaning it was made fresh from produce grown in the area. Parness said the Mill plans to bring more pop-up dinners, and it will work with area chefs to organize the future dinner events.

“We would definitely have Chef Matthew back,” Parness said. “The objective is to have a wine bar with small plates and charcuterie rather than a full-service restaurant upstairs. We are looking to work with a variety of chefs, as well.”

The wine loft is a charming space upstairs at the Mill at the end of the hallway by Harper’s books. Large windows look out over the property and provide a view of Lebanon. The atmosphere is upscale and casual with the Lebanon flair locals know and love.

“The first question was when is the next one going to be,” Parness said. “We will be having more pop-ups and more chefs. As the wine loft, it could continue to be a space that served as host for pop-up dinners or chef invitationals.”

The Mill is a historic site in Lebanon, repurposed from the early-1900s Lebanon Woolen Mills, which among its many functions, supplied blankets during World War II. The 20-building complex closed the doors on manufacturing operations in 1998, and it was bought again in 2006 when restoration efforts began.

The Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 and is now home to event spaces, more than 20 local businesses, a church, coffee bar and of course, houses a piece of Lebanon history.

It has big plans for the future, hoping to become a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that connects the town square with the commuter train, the Music City Star.

With the first pop-up dinner in the wine bar a success, the Mill is one step closer to completing those plans.

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