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Magic ala Carte: New magical dining experience coming to Williamsburg

Daily Press logo Daily Press 9/20/2022 Abbey Crank, Daily Press
Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) looks on between plays against the Ravens in Baltimore. © Terrance Williams, AP Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) looks on between plays against the Ravens in Baltimore.

Williamsburg is about to get more magical. A new dining experience centered around magic is premiering next week.

The dinner came about after local magician Steve Mains took a trip to New York City earlier this year. While there, he stumbled upon a magical dinner experience, and he immediately called fellow magician Henry Aldrich with an idea.

Steve Mains performing an illusion magic trick in which he transforms a ping pong ball into an egg. Em Holter/file © Em Holter/Daily Press/TNS Steve Mains performing an illusion magic trick in which he transforms a ping pong ball into an egg. Em Holter/file

One thing led to another, and Magic ala Carte was born.

“Magic ala Carte came into my mind when Steve was in New York City, where I was born and raised. He visited this place called Adjacent Magic and really liked it,” Aldrich said. “He mentioned it to me, and I said, ‘Well, let’s see if we can do it here.’”

Magician Watt Hyer is one of the performers taking part in Magic ala Carte. Em Holter/file © Em Holter/Daily Press/TNS Magician Watt Hyer is one of the performers taking part in Magic ala Carte. Em Holter/file

The magic-filled dinner is scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24 at the Jefferson Restaurant on Richmond Road. Tickets are on sale now.

Aldrich’s passion for magic has been alive for decades. The first trick he ever performed was in 1945 in his small New York City apartment.

“I’ve done magic all my life. Through the years, I’ve been involved with every aspect of the business from performing and teaching to mentoring,” he said.

In 1959, Aldrich moved to the Williamsburg area with the Air Force. Not long after, he was the creator of the children’s magic clown show “Bungles the Clown.”

Aldrich was the first magician to play Bungles in 1959, and then Jerry Standford took over the role. The show ran for 13 years on WVEC-TV Channel 13 in Hampton.

“That was my first impact on the Peninsula and it ran for a number of years,” said Aldrich, who is known by his stage name, The Amazing Mr. A.

Mains also found his way to the Hampton Roads area through the Air Force, but he didn’t find his passion for magic until his retirement.

“I always tell people I wasted the first 54 years of my life,” Mains said with a laugh. “Now I’ve been doing magic for about nine years.”

Mains and Aldrich met through Williamsburg’s chapter of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

The team meets at the Stonehouse Grille on Mill Pond Run every fourth Thursday of the month. The club is always accepting new members, and Aldrich urges those interested to come out — no matter the experience level.

Along with the duo, many other magicians from the club at performing at the event.

The show will begin as soon as people arrive. In the beginning, magicians will walk around tables and perform up-close tricks. Soon after dinner, performers will be up front doing stand-up, parlor magic. This is where the performers will provide their grand tricks.

“The best part of any show, no matter how many times you do it, is that wonder on the audience’s faces when they see something magical,” Aldrich said. “Magic is a wonderful thing that brings people together, no matter their personal backgrounds.”

The duo said Magic ala Carte hopes to continuously bring magic to the community, like The Wagsters Magic Theatre, which opened as a year-round magic venue in June, has done.

“They have a fantastic show. We’re hoping that people who saw them and loved them will then want to go to our magic show,” Mains said. “And we want the same thing if they come and love our show, that they go to Wagsters.”

Magic ala Carte is looking for new magicians and more restaurants to host their magic show. For those interested, email meimagicalacarte@gmail.com or amazingmra@yahoo.com. The next magical dinner is scheduled for Nov. 11 at Fireside Chophouse Bar & Grill.

“Williamsburg has always been a magical city,” Aldrich said. “Regardless of someone’s age, magic is something that everyone will enjoy.”

Want to go?

The magic dinners are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th at the Jefferson Restaurant, 1453 Richmond Road. Advance tickets are $59 for adults and $39 for children. To place tickets and select entrées (fried chicken and ribs, country fried steak or grilled flounder), call 757-968-6012 or visit tinyurl.com/5cyhvhwb. To keep up with the group’s upcoming performance, visit Magic ala Carte’s Facebook page or bit.ly/MagicalaCarte.

©2022 Daily Press. Visit dailypress.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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