Special parties, special china, special attention on Market Street
If you find yourself downstairs at V. Frances on Market Street, you may also find a grown woman... playing tea party. “You know how some people play with dolls?” asks Daphne Stargin. “I will come down here and do a whole setting, nothing in the plates, nothing in the tea cups.” Don’t call the police. Stargin owns V. Frances (named for two important women in her life)—and she loves china.
Her love of fine dining ware goes back to her childhood and further. “My mom was born in 1932 in Alabama,” Stargin explains. “And in that era it was crazy. But at the same time, when they didn’t have anything else, they knew how to come together and entertain.” So, parties come quite naturally to Stargin.
She worked at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in town, and enjoyed helping set up for events but wanted to do more. While she knew she wanted to go out on her own, she initially didn’t have the confidence. It took a leap of faith. But since 2006, Stargin has provided a place for people to have parties, first in a location across from Memorial Auditorium, then since May of this year, down the hall from Blue Orleans restaurant. Her first client was a local church. Stargin says, “It was a sign from God.”
For the last five months, Stargin has been putting her elegant touch on a two-story site vacant for more than a decade. Warm, neutral colors on the walls, beautiful hardwood floors, soaring ceilings—and the best collection of dinnerware you’re likely ever to see await your special event. The intimate space is a great combination of casual and dressy. “I didn’t want it to be frou-frou,” says Stargin.
Clients can hold any type of small event at V. Frances. The single room can accommodate up to 32 people sitting at four-top tables, or up to 50 in auditorium-style seating. For $375, clients have the room for four hours: one hour for set-up, two hours for the event and another hour to clear up.
The price includes tables, chairs and linens. China is an extra $75. Stargin will be more than happy to bring you downstairs to pick out the perfect set for your event. She has place settings from Noritake, Mikasa, Lenox and Kate Spade. And she doesn’t even mind if you want to mix-n-match.
If you plan to have food and/or drink at your soiree, feel free to bring your own, arrange for your favorite caterer, or Stargin can recommend one from a list of preferred suppliers. There are no facilities on premises for preparation of food, however, so it will need to be prepared off-site.
The venue has been used for bridal teas, educational workshops—even a surprise party. No matter what event V. Frances hosts, “My favorite part of the get-together is when people leave,” admits Stargin. But don’t think she’s being anti-social. It’s because “then I’m left with the china. I love that part of washing and putting everything back in place and getting it ready for the next [event].”
V. Frances Intimate Events
1467 Market Street, Ste.104, Chattanooga, Tennessee