News & Politics

Fans of Fire-Damaged Restaurant Reverie Are Auctioning NFTs to Help

A collection of GIFs called "Revive Reverie" will be on sale for a week.

NFTs are on sale to benefit Reverie. Images courtesy of Byte Club/The Blue Alligator Group.

Since Reverie suffered severe fire damage earlier this month, lots of people have raised money for the Michelin-starred restaurant. Now they can help out by buying NFTs.

The non-fungible tokens are now available on OpenSea as part of the “Revive Reverie Collection,” which will direct all proceeds to the Georgetown restaurant’s  GoFundMe. The auction-style sale started Friday at 11 AM and will run for a week until it closes next Friday, September 2, at noon.

Above: A preview of some of the Revive Reverie NFTs. Images courtesy of Byte Club/The Blue Alligator Group.

Each NFT features a cartoon character with a food item bouncing around its head—a burger, an oyster or a lamb dish—and each utensil-armed chef with distinguishing restaurant accessories adorning its avatar. They are GIFs, but they’re on the blockchain–which means they’re both one-of-a-kind and verifiably unique.

The food items bouncing around in the characters’ astronaut helmets are actually real photos of dishes that Andrew Noh shot at Reverie. Noh is an engineer and food photographer who works with blockchain technologies. After he takes the photos, his fiancée, Yvonne Le, draws the characters and animates them.

The NFTs are being sold by Byte Club, the name of the collective Noh started to meld his professional experience of technology with his passion for food. “With Byte Club, we’re trying to kind of create a foodie network of people,” Noh says.

Ruben Garcia, formerly of ThinkFoodGroup, Jhonatan Cano of Jont and Bresca, and John Snyder and Kiran Saund of The Setting, are “ambassadors” to Byte Club. They each have their own NFTs with distinguishing features of their restaurants. Byte Club is a subgroup of the Blue Alligator Group, a community of mostly anonymous creators who Noh says develop NFTs as passion projects.

In order to place a bid, first you’d need to purchase the cryptocurrency Ethereum on one of the various marketplaces that trades the unregulated securities. One Ethereum costs about $1,689.57 USD at the time of publication. (Like other cryptocurrencies, Ethereum has lost a lot of value this year—it’s down more than 56 percent according to CoinDesk.) With each Revive Reverie NFT priced at .15 Ethereum, each of the ten pieces starts at about $252 USD for auction. The NFT fundraiser could raise a minimum of $2,520 USD if they all are sold at the opening price.

Reverie owner and chef Johnny Spero is not involved in the Revive Reverie NFT fundraiser but says he is thankful for the support. “I am honored and humbled to see the DC community come together to support Reverie. We have put so much into this restaurant and are so grateful for the support, especially as we are in the process of rebuilding,” Spero writes in an email. “From Ruben’s GoFundMe, to Bresca, Lutece and Queen’s English, Catbird Seat in Nashville, and Byte Club’s NFT fundraiser, truly everything helps and will go directly to our staff.”

David Andrews
Editorial Fellow