Assembly Atlanta’s star-studded gala to showcase Georgia, celebrate TV and film

Sterling Culinary Management will offer up Georgia-centric cuisine with an Atlanta flare.
The sprawling 135 acres of mixed-use property is designed to look and feel like a city center.
Published: Oct. 19, 2023 at 8:47 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2023 at 6:28 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - In the hours leading up to Assembly Atlanta’s big grand opening gala, crews were busy hanging the lights, checking the sound and unpacking mountains of food and beverages.

Atlanta News First’s Ella Dorsey is co-hosting Assembly’s live red carpet event on Saturday from 6-7:30 p.m. and you’ll be able to watch it live on the Atlanta News First app or on Roku, FireTV and AppleTV by searching “Atlanta News First.”

“The red carpet is going to be rolled down the main street. So, you get out of the car and there’s a red carpet right there,” Dorsey said.

The star-studded gala on Saturday will celebrate the grand opening of Gray Television’s Assembly Atlanta, a sprawling 135 acres of mixed-use property that’s designed to look and feel like a city center complete with businesses, homes and public parks – as well as TV and film studios on-site.

The invite-only gala will host more than 2,500 guests with an Assembly sound stage and back lot serving as a unique event space.

Dorsey and Atlanta’s own Monica Kaufman Pearson will cohost a red carpet preview show that will be streamed live on ANF+ and Gray TV’s national streaming service Local News Live. They’ll interview guests as well as the stars who will be in attendance that evening.

“Killer Mike is going to be there, CeeLo Green is going to be there, Sheryl Crow, Gladys Knight. So, kind of music for everyone,” said Dorsey.

And Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens will also make an appearance to cut the ribbon, signifying the property’s new beginnings.

Catering an event of this magnitude is a huge undertaking. Sterling Culinary Management is deploying nearly 300 staffers — including bartenders, bar-backs and servers — offering Georgia-centric cuisine with an Atlanta flare.

“We have a lot of great Georgia restaurants involved. A lot of great food trucks from Atlanta,” said Brent Rabren, vice president of operations at Sterling Culinary Management. “So, we have charcuterie, we have raw bars. We have a ton of different things and a lot of handmade cocktails, and of course, local Georgia beer.”

Sterling Culinary, a contract food service company operating cafes and restaurants in Georgia and Florida as well as the iconic metro Atlanta fixture Marlow’s Tavern, signed a multi-year lease with Assembly Atlanta. The company will operate a café on campus and provide catering services for the various TV and film production companies.

“Not only is it the biggest contract we have, but just the visibility of this space and the overall breadth of what we can do,” Rabren said. “I mean, the different things we can do here from a food and beverage perspective are going to be amazing.”

Sterling’s presentation will be on display Saturday night when they serve more than 6,500 appetizers, including 3,000 dumplings — not to mention the more than 6,500 cocktails set to be poured.

WANF’s Ella Dorsey, who grew up in metro Atlanta, calls the gala a celebration of Georgia.

“It’s always felt great to say, ‘Hey, I’m from Atlanta.’ But now to say, ‘Hey, I’m from Atlanta, and guess what? This movie and this movie were filmed here! Oh, and I met this movie star because they filmed down the street.’ That is just a really cool feeling,” Dorsey said.