Beautiful BBQ, Bourbon and Bluegrass

by Timothy G. Beeman II

Friday night, October 23, 2015, Old Salem’s Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (known as MESDA) celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary, the completion of a six-year renovation, and the opening of two new self-guided galleries. To commemorate this, they put on a party that included BBQ, bourbon and bluegrass. The event, held in the Horton Meadow, just below, and even under the bridge and walkway of the wooden bridge that crosses Old Salem Road from the Visitor Center to the museum entrance, boasted a showcase of fourteen master distillers from sixteen distilleries, as well as two of the areas’ popular breweries. While all of the distilleries brought some good products, some really stood above the rest of the field.


(photo © Susan Jones)

Both versions of the Limoncello (regular and jalapeno-infused) from Seventy-Eight ºC Spirits (Raleigh) were not only good, but the spicier-flavored of the two was a true standout; not hot but flavorful. From Asheville Distilling Company (Asheville), the Blonde Whiskey is one of my favorites, overall. It was smooth and full-flavored. Trey Herring’s Carolina Bourbon (Charleston, SC) had a more robust and earthy, yet still pleasant flavor and aroma. You certainly can’t forget local up-and-comers, Sutler’s Spirits from Winston-Salem. Distiller Tim Nolan was on hand to promote the brand.

The highlight of the tasting table, however, was the Krupnikas, a Lithuanian style honey liqueur from The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits (Durham). The sweet of the honey ends with a spiced flourish. Beyond the tasting table was a special Reserve from an NC distillery that I’ll not mention by name because the booze was in a hidden stash under the table. I was lucky enough to try it and it was possibly some of the most smooth tasting whiskey I’ve ever tried. The rep told me to wait until the tasting cup was empty and smell it. The aroma of tobacco swelled as the cup dried. Minutes later that aroma was even stronger. When this special reserve gets released, I’ll certainly purchase some of that.

Area celebrity bartender, Lele Nguyen, was the “guru-in-the-know” for the evening, dispensing the goodies at the tasting table and she was very detailed with the descriptions of all the various liquors, no matter the style. The true superstar of the “bourbon” part of the event was the resident mixologist and co-owner of The Tavern in Old Salem, North Carolina’s oldest tavern, Jordan Keiper. Keiper designed a bar program for this event that highlights the new generation of Southern craft distillers, creating a variety of signature cocktails featuring the four spirits that made the early South “wet:” bourbon, rum, gin, and moonshine, especially moonshine. There’s a push to show North Carolina’s distillers are more than just moonshine; so much more.

This event was also more than booze. There was Eastern style North Carolina barbecue and fried chicken from the Barbecue Lodge in Raleigh. Eastern style is my preference in the “Carolina barbecue” realm. I don’t mind Lexington style, but I prefer the strong vinegar taste over the ketchup heavy, if I have my choice. A white barbecue slaw that tastes like the “red” stuff we have here and hush puppies. The fried chicken was absolutely delicious. Just the right amount of seasoning and the inside was juicy and perfect. In fact, I had two breasts. I liked it that much. And let’s not forget to mention the banana pudding. That, too, was delicious.

In addition to the liquors and delicious food, both Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company and Hoots Beer Company had two brews each available. Gibbs Hundred had The Guilty Party ESB and Blind Man’s Holiday GPA (Greensboro Pale Ale). They were both quite tasty with the ESB (one of my favorite styles of beer) being my favorite of those two. Hoots had their Oktoberfest and a wheat on tap. Stephanie had the wheat and I, the Oktoberfest. Hoots is always solid and this was no exception. These beers made fine companions to the rest of the festivities. I feel the same is to be said of the breweries. The theme of the event, a celebration of southern arts, was represented well by the brewing artists at these two breweries.

If there was anything that I can say that was less than optimal was that the bluegrass band, Carolina Tradition Bluegrass Band was set up right beside the tasting station. They were a fine band, indeed, but the music was loud under that bridge and it was hard to hear what Lele was saying about the various libations. Again, it wasn’t the band, it was the positioning. However, if that was the worst part, that just goes to show how good this event was.

To Jordan Keiper, to MESDA, to Old Salem, many kudos for putting on such a spectacular event. Keiper himself said that he’s hoping that this will put Winston-Salem, North Carolina on the map. Not only the Southern map, no. The American distillers map. Not necessarily for the distilleries themselves, although those certainly don’t hurt, but for the city as a distillers’ event location. I can’t wait for the “second annual” version of the event. It has the potential to get support and attendance numbers of a wine festival and this town knows wine festivals. This was a bold undertaking on everyone’s part, but the event was a rousing success and was a complete sell out. Great news for the city, the museum, the distillers and the attendees. An honor to attend, indeed.

Twin City Hive to get New Address and New Business Model

by Timothy G Beeman II

Joey Burdette and Terry Miller, co-owners of Twin City Hive have announced that they are moving the popular coffee house to a new location. But, won’t this create a chink in the canonical armor of TCH? Absolutely not! This will make everything better.

First of all, the location, while moving, is only moving about twenty steps away. They’re moving to the back of the breezeway in the location that they’re currently occupying. So, in essence, they’re not changing locations, at all. What will change, however, is the overall scope of how the business will be operating. 11aTCH

Joey and Terry walked us through the new, larger space and gave a tour of ideas and vision. The old location, once the location of McCormick & Smith attorneys, has several separated spaces including conference rooms/meeting spaces and a kitchenette. The proposed layout will retain the front conference room that can be reserved/rented for business meetings, gatherings, etc. The next conference area will have the frosted glass and framing fixtures removed and seating and tables will provide a comfy lounge area around a proposed fireplace. The largest room, however, is in the front (or back?) and will contain more seating and tables.

Beyond this there will be a new entrance/exit that leads to South Marshall Street where there will be additional parking striped off along the street. Between the street and the building will be a patio that will provide more seating and accommodation. Currently, there is a solid door that is more of a necessary escape hatch that leads to the pine needles that serve as landscaping for the outside of the building. The ugly green awning has been removed as well.

This is, after all, a coffee shop. So, there will be, of course, coffee. New (to them) fixtures and such will be put in the barista and service area and a pass-through door to the kitchen where the plan, according to Terry, could be to eventually serve quiches, salads and the like. That’s not solid yet and there was also discussions of possible contracting of prepared goods to sell from local establishments. There was also a mention of a license to sell beer and wine.

One of the many unique qualities about Twin City Hive is the fact that they don’t use the same ordinary roasters that so many of the other coffee shops around town use; not that there’s anything wrong with those. Twin City Hive, however, use seven different roasters from across North Carolina. That in itself is remarkable. But wait! There’s more.  TCH is partnering with Sarah Chapman of Vida Pour Tea in Greensboro on a gourmet line of teas that will be branded by TCH. Sarah will sell the teas by the glass in her shop, but the only “bulk”/retail sales of the teas will be at TCH. Drinkers will be able to buy it by the glass/cup at the Hive, as well. The blends will be themed around Winston-Salem and its history. The flagship tea will be called “Tobacco Heritage” and when we sampled it you could really taste the notes of tobacco although I don’t believe any was actually used. There will be several other blends as well, including a local take on the traditional English Breakfast tea and a minty tea. Nothing run-of-the-mill for these teas.

Terry said that one of the challenges that they face, even in the current space is that you have warring factions of sort. You have those who may be meeting friends that want to catch up and have a good time, chatting it up. On the other side you have the students, the studies, the workers that need a little less of the loud and more of the quiet ambiance. This location can promote and accommodate both of those demographics. Plus, add the patio for the warmer, dryer months, you’ve got a great place to be productive and have great coffee or tea.

A major distinction that has been bestowed on Twin City Hive is the fact that they have been chosen to participate in the Yelp! event called Coast-To-Coast: Coming Together Because We Mean Business. Only one hundred businesses across North America were selected to attend and TCH is one of those hundred. According to Yelp!’s official release: “November 4–5, Yelp is bringing together the people behind 100 top-rated businesses across North America for a historic event taking place at Yelp’s San Francisco headquarters.” This is quite the accomplishment and accolade; a recognition by their peers.

One last thing is that the partners have recently sold their Segway business to a local competitor. Revolution Gliding Tours was a main component in the initial idea of Twin City Hive. The coffee business has pretty much taken precedence and this move and revised vision is proof of that. TCH will still be a stop on the tour and possibly a facilitator of the tours themselves.

The target date of the whole change over is the first week of November. Joey will be in San Francisco right before that so it will be a challenge to make that deadline but these guys can do it. The changes all sound very exciting and needed. Everything old is new again certainly fitting here. What you knew about Twin City Hive is going to be reborn with all new attitudes, all new digs and an all new name. It will be called the Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge. It will be a lounge, for sure. It will be great for those who are fans of what Twin City Hive is now and great for those looking for a coffee lounge that they didn’t know existed. This is your place. This is our place. This is Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge.

You can find more about all the happenings at Twin City Hive by visiting their website. Twin City Hive is located at 301 Brookstown Avenue, Winston-Salem.

Famed Chef Paul Prudhomme has Died

by Timothy G Beeman II

I’ve never been to New Orleans. I know as a “foodie” (if that’s what we really are) that’s almost sacrilege but it’s true. I’d love to go someday and for no other reason but for the food. One place that I’d really like to go to would be K-Paul’s

Chef Paul (photo ©

Chef Paul (photo ©

Louisiana Kitchen. From what I have heard (and not being there and experiencing it) that pretty much changed the rules for a lot of things in the culinary world. I can still go there but it won’t be the same without Chef Paul Prudhomme. Instead of trying to make up something I really don’t know about I’m going to include a link to the article I read about his passing. Enjoy!

All rights reserved to the owner/writer/publisher of the article as listed within

Cagney’s Takes Over Olde Orchard (the Deeper Version)

by Timothy G Beeman II

Yesterday I reported that this change was going to happen. Today, I had a chance to sit down with Al Yow, the now-former owner of Olde Orchard Diner to discuss the change. Yow says that he’s been in the food service industry for 40+ years and that’s a long time. He loves his diner but also realizes that his body is tired. It was time to spend a little more time with the grand kids, now. The sale was final as of October 1 and Yow confirmed that the restaurant would continue to operate under Olde Orchard Diner for right now, however, in the very near future, they will close the restaurant, do renovations and reopen under the re-branded name of Cagney’s Kitchen. The menu will, at that time, be uniformed just as the other five locations’ menu, meaniOODCKng the food will be more like the others’.

A few things that will immediately happen are some procedural things that the public probably won’t notice much of. Basically, it’s mostly in the service and behind-the-scenes. What the public will notice is that sometime this week, the Hershey’s Ice Cream cooler will be gone. Cagney’s won’t be keeping that. Also, the hot bar that customers see as soon as they walk through the vestibule will be moved to the kitchen, in the back. They have already changed the biscuits to the kind that is normally served at the other Cagney’s locations. The new restaurant will serve home made desserts, just like the others, as well.

In the dining room, the renovation will eliminate the current seats, tables and booths and replace them with updated fixtures. The ceiling tiles will be replaced with newer ones. Supposedly, according to the chatter I heard about the restaurant, today, Cagney’s expects the renovation to take no more than a week. With the nature of contractors being what it is, we’ll see if that schedule goes as planned. Too many restaurants around town have set “opening dates” but most of those targets are overshot, sometimes by more than a little. It will be interesting to see how the whole changeover goes.

It will be different not seeing Al standing in the serving window of the kitchen and thanking us and “God-blessing” us. He has a back surgery scheduled in the upcoming weeks and the toll that standing for so long has taken on him has led to this. We at The Man Who Ate the Town: A Food Blog wish him and his wife Susan best of luck with whatever they plan to do (I believe Susan plans to work at Cagney’s) and thank them for having it there for us “locals” that needed it and enjoyed it.

You can find more about Cagney’s and their locations (this one will be added soon, I’m sure) by visiting their website (click here).

Olde Orchard Diner to Become Cagney’s

by Timothy G Beeman II

According to servers of, and the presence of Cagney’s representatives inside Olde Orchard Diner this past week and weekend: ownership, management and the name of Olde Orchard Diner will be changing in the coming weeks. Cagney’s, who already has five other restaurants in the area, will be closing the restaurant to do renovations and rebranding, according to a server at Olde Orchard. This will make two locations in Winston-Salem. We hope to have more news on this early this week, here and on Tart & Tangy Triad, so stay tuned.