Restaurant Week Comes to Downtown WSNC February 20-26

The 2017 edition of Restaurant Week is upon us, starting today! Like The Big Eat before it, Restaurant Week highlights the fantastic food in Downtown Winston-Salem, offered by many delicious restaurants on uniquely made prix fixe meals.  Reservations are highly recommended and if you’re not going to make your reservation, be courteous to the folks who may want your spot, and to the restaurant themselves: call and cancel as soon as possible.

You can find all the specials for each participating restaurant on the official page for the event, HERE.

According to the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership the following rules apply:

Restaurant Week Specials are dine-in only.
Restaurant Specials are subject to change, excludes tax and tip.
Please check with individual restaurants concerning food ingredients, allergens, and any additional restrictions, thank you.
Restaurant Week Specials are subject to availability.
Restaurants may run out of the Special.
If there is an error on this page, the official restaurant special at the Restaurant is correct.
Please check with restaurants prior to dining if you have questions about the Specials.
The restaurant is not obligated to provided a replacement dish.
Coupons are not accepted in conjunction with these specials. Check with restaurants for coupon policies.

The restaurants that are participating are:

6th & Vine, Bernardin’s, Bib’s Downtown, Burger Batch, Carolina’s Vineyards and Hops, DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant, Downtown Thai & Pho, Foothills Brewing, Hutch & Harris, Jeffery Adams on Fourth, King’s Crab Shack, Mellow Mushroom, Meridian, Miami Restaurant, Mission Pizza, Mooney’s, Mozelle’s, Old Fourth Street Filling Station, The Porch, Quanto Basta, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar, Sweet Potatoes, Thai Harmony, Tokyo Shapiro, Twin City Slice, and Willows Bistro.

The Big Eat – January 31, 2017

It’s week #4 of The Big Eat and here’s what I have for this week’s lineup:

6th & Vine: Blackened Chicken over penne with a bacon, basil Alfredo sauce – $9

Bernardin’s Restaurant: Sauteed Black Pepper Crusted Jumbo Shrimp with braised white bean ragout, tarragon, spinach, crispy onion ring – $12 

Bib’s Downtown: Pulled Pork Sandwich Plate: $4.25

Bleu Restaurant: Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken Breast Nicoise Vegetables & Sweet Mustard Sauce$9.50

Camel City BBQ Factory: BBQ Sandwich Basket and Tea for  $4

Camino Bakery: half-priced cheesecake slices

Hutch & Harris: East Asian Orange Salmon 1/2 off

Jeffrey Adams: 14oz. Ribeye served with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus – $14.50

Krankies: Steak Frittes steak, fries and a salad  $9

Local 27101: 50% Off all Burgers, Sandwiches, and Salads

Mellow Mushroom: 50% off whole order pretzels, 20% off large specialty pies

Miami Restaurant & Bar: Lechon Asado House marinated roasted pulled pork with sautéed onions. Served with white rice, black beans and choice of plantain  $7

Mooney’s Mediterranean: Garden Chicken Pita OR Garden Pita w/ Choice of Hummus or French Fries $5.50

Mozelle’s: Fried Chicken with mac & cheese and haricot vert (substitutions are allowed) – $9.50

Old Fourth Street Filling Station: Shrimp-N-Grits shrimp, andouille sausage, tomato, baby spinach, chipotle cream sauce, grit cake – $10

The Porch Cantina: Porch Naked Burrito Bowl With jasmine rice, borracho beans, veggies, Mimi’s Queso, verde sauce, sour cream, guacamole, jalapeños & tortilla chips.With: Chicken or Avocado – $6 | Steak or Shrimp – $7

Quanto Basta: Chicken Parmesan – $6.50

Señor Bravo: 4 Tacos de pastor marinated pork meat with pineapple,grilled onions on a chile guajillo rub served with corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, onions and hot sauce – $5.99

Spring House Restaurant: BBQ BISON MEATLOAF with creamed Spinach, Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes Applewood Smoked Bacon Demi-Glace – $10

Thai Harmony: Half Price Pad Thai

Tre Nonne: SPAGHETTI WITH MEATBALLS A one-of-a-kind, fully homemade experience. Fresh pasta and a generous helping of our special blend of meats and seasoning, served with our very own marinara sauce – $6.75

Twin City Slice: 2 for price of 1 Slices of Pizza

West End Coffee House: Brownie Sundaes and Affogatos for $4 each

Willow’s Bistro: Blackened Grilled Cafe Steak with arugula, french fried potato stick, grape tomato, horseradish aioli and blue cheese crumbles  $12.50

If you are a restaurant that is participating but I haven’t listed you here, please send me a message or call me (336)403-2076 and let me know. I want to make sure that you’re all represented for the awesome work you’re doing in bringing recognition to our town and your restaurants. These specials are dine-in only and on a “while supplies last” basis.

Go out tonight and support your local cuisine and have a great meal in the process!

The Big Eat – January 24, 2017

It’s week #3 of The Big Eat and here’s what I have for this week’s lineup:

6th & Vine: Peachy Pork Tenderloin with a peach cognac sauce – $9.50

Bernardin’s Restaurant: ROASTED ATLANTIC SALMON with Horseradish crust, spinach, sweet roasted garlic, port wine sauce – $12.50           

Bib’s Downtown: Pulled Pork Sandwich Plate: $4.25

Bleu Restaurant: Blackened Catfish with Dirty Quinoa ,Collared Greens, Crawfish Brown Butter Sauce$10

Camel City BBQ Factory: BBQ Sandwich Basket and Tea for  $4

Camino Bakery: half-priced cheesecake slices

Hutch & Harris: Chicken Pie 1/2 off

Jeffrey Adams: Southern Fried Chicken panko encrusted fried chicken, wild mushroom and bacon gravy, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts – $9

Krankies: Housemade Bolognese over pappardelle with Parmesan  $9

Local 27101: 50% Off all Burgers, Sandwiches, and Salads

Mellow Mushroom: 50% off hummus, 20% off large specialty pies

Miami Restaurant & Bar: Picadillo Minced beef stewed with peppers, olives and tomatoes. Served with white rice, black beans and choice of plantain  $6

Mooney’s Mediterranean: Garden Chicken Pita OR Garden Pita w/ Choice of Hummus or French Fries $5.50

Mozelle’s: Meat Loaf with collards and grits (substitutions are allowed) – $9.50

Old Fourth Street Filling Station: Filet Mignon grilled 4 oz. beef tenderloin, sauteed vegetables, smashed red potatoes$7.50

The Porch Cantina: Porch Naked Burrito Bowl With jasmine rice, borracho beans, veggies, Mimi’s Queso, verde sauce, sour cream, guacamole, jalapeños & tortilla chips.With: Chicken or Avocado – $6 | Steak or Shrimp – $7

Quanto Basta: Chicken Parmesan – $6.50

Senior Bravo: 4 Tacos de pastor marinated pork meat with pineapple,grilled onions on a chile guajillo rub served with corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, onions and hot sauce – $5.99

Spring House Restaurant: BBQ BISON MEATLOAF with creamed Spinach, Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes Applewood Smoked Bacon Demi-Glace – $10

Thai Harmony: Half Price Pad Thai

Tre Nonne: CHICKEN ALFREDO with Our in-house fettuccini, covered in our signature creamy parmesan alfredo sauce –  $7.75

Twin City Slice: 2 for price of 1 Slices of Pizza

West End Coffee House: Brownie Sundaes and Affogatos for $4 each

Willow’s Bistro: Shrimp & Grits with smoked tomato & andouille cream sauce $15

If you are a restaurant that is participating but I haven’t listed you here, please send me a message or call me (336)403-2076 and let me know. I want to make sure that you’re all represented for the awesome work you’re doing in bringing recognition to our town and your restaurants.

Go out tonight and support your local cuisine and have a great meal in the process!

The Big Eat – January 17, 2017

It’s week #2 of The Big Eat and here’s what I have for this week’s lineup:

6th & Vine: Peppercorn-Crusted Sirloin with a creamy cognac sauce  – $11

Bernardin’s Restaurant: SAUTEED BRIE STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST Prosciutto, shitake, asparagus, Turnip, puree potato, thyme natural jus – $9.50           

Bib’s Downtown: Pulled Pork Sandwich Plate: $4.25

Bleu Restaurant: Grilled Angus Flatiron with Whipped Potatoes, Asparagus & Au poivre Sauce– $12

Camel City BBQ Factory: BBQ Sandwich Basket and Tea for $4

Camino Bakery: half-priced cheesecake slices

Hutch & Harris: Olympic Pasta with Chicken: 1/2 off

Jeffrey Adams: Beef-N- Grits beef tenderloin tips, white cheddar grit cake, roasted red pepper, spinach, wild mushroom bacon gravy – $11.50

Krankies: Pork Schitzel with spaezle and braised red cabbage $9

Local 27101: 50% Off all Burgers, Sandwiches, and Salads

Mellow Mushroom: 50% off bruschetta, 20% large specialty pies

Mooney’s Mediterranean: Garden Chicken Pita OR Garden Pita w/ Choice of Hummus or French Fries: $5.50

Mozelle’s: Shrimp & Grits – $10

Old Fourth Street Filling Station: Crab Cake Dinner two house made crab cakes, creole remoulade, roasted cream cor sauteed vegetables, smashed red potatoes – $10

The Porch Cantina: Porch Naked Burrito Bowl With jasmine rice, borracho beans, veggies, Mimi’s Queso, verde sauce, sour cream, guacamole, jalapeños & tortilla chips.With: Chicken or Avocado – $6 | Steak or Shrimp – $7

Quanto Basta: Chicken Parmesan – $6.50

Senior Bravo: 4 Tacos de pastor marinated pork meat with pineapple,grilled onions on a chile guajillo rub served with corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, onions and hot sauce – $5.99

Spring House Restaurant: BBQ BISON MEATLOAF with creamed Spinach, Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes Applewood Smoked Bacon Demi-Glace – $10

Thai Harmony: Half Price Pad Thai

Tre Nonne: BAKED ZITI Fresh homemade ziti baked with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, topped with our special marinara sauce – $6.50

Twin City Slice: 2 for price of 1 Slices of Pizza

West End Coffee House: Brownie Sundaes and Affogatos for $4 each

Willow’s Bistro: Scottish Salmon with smoked risotto, curry lime aioli $15

If you are a restaurant that is participating but I haven’t listed you here, please send me a message or call me (336)403-2076 and let me know. I want to make sure that you’re all represented for the awesome work you’re doing in bringing recognition to our town and your restaurants.

Go out tonight and support your local cuisine and have a great meal in the process!

Reminder: The Big Eat is tonight!

Just a reminder for you all that tonight is The Big Eat! Here’s a list of who’s participating, once again. I included the special for those that weren’t listed the last time:

6th&Vine
Bernardin’s
Bib’s Downtown
Bleu – Shrimp & Grits with Andouille Sauce, Creamy Grits, Spinach & Cherry Tomatoes – $11
Camel City BBQ Factory – BBQ Sandwich Basket and Tea, $4
Camino
Hutch & Harris
Jeffrey Adams
Krankie’s – House Butchered Pork Chop with garlic green beens and mashed potatoes– $11
Local 27101 – 50% Off all Burgers, Sandwiches, and Salads
Mellow Mushroom
Mooney’s  – Garden Chicken Pita OR Garden Pita w/ Choice of Hummus or French Fries: $5.50
Mozelle’s – Tomato Pie and Cheese Grits $8.50
Quanto Basta – Chicken Parmesan – $6.50
Senior Bravo – Pollo Chicken (no price listed)
Spring House (has changed since I last reported) – BBQ BISON MEATLOAF with creamed Spinach, Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes, Applewood Smoked Bacon Demi-Glace – $10
Thai Harmony
Old Fourth Street Filling Station
The Porch – pending
Tre Nonne – RIGATONI Y VODKA – $7 Our smooth homemade tomato vodka sauce seasoned with herbs, heavy cream and cheese, served over fresh homemade penne pasta.”
Twin City Slice – 2 for price of 1 slices.
Willow’s Bistro

Check my previous post or call the restaurant for more info. Reservations are recommended. It’s only for dining in and it’s while supplies last; when they’re out, they’re out. Support your local establishments and enjoy!!

Bradford Family Watermelon Tasting Menu is Oh So Sweet

2016-09-18-18-31-48

Chef Travis Myers, Nat Bradford, Chef Brent Andruzzi and the star of the show, the Bradford Watermelon

This past Sunday, Stephanie and I were invited to Willow’s Bistro to be part of (and to document via video) the Bradford Family Watermelon tasting event. Bradford Watermelons are an heirloom watermelon that has a lineage of around 170 years or so. The were once thought to be extinct but, according to Nat Bradford, they’re reintroducing the lovely melons to chefs, restaurants and foodie folk everywhere. I’ve always just been passive about watermelon; just had it if it was there, not really indulging for myself. Why?

Watermelon has just always been something that is messy (I don’t like messy food, at least when it makes a mess on me) with minimal flavor and you have to spit out a lot of seeds. I never minded that part if I was outside, I spit for distance. Let me tell you, though, there was nothing plain about this watermelon. It was very juicy, not messy, and very sweet and flavorful with a great color and not an abundance of seeds. Chef Travis Myers made sure to let us know they didn’t allow any salt on the table, it wasn’t needed. You could actually eat the rind, too. They’re related to cucumbers and for that, I think a little salt would have been good, but for the flesh of the melon, not salt.

2016-09-18-18-12-57Bradford Watermelons aren’t just about the melons, however. They have molasses, okra, toasted watermelon seed oil (that was some fine smelling and tasting stuff), ground nuts and so on. A plethora of food offerings. I couldn’t really hear much about what Nat was saying about the ground nuts, the music was a bit loud on our end, but Mr. Carroll Leggett said they reminded him of a cross between a turnip and yucca plant. I can see that, although, admittedly, I have limited exposure to either.

When we first arrived, Kelly, the fantastic bar keeper served us delicious cocktails of watermelon juice (from Bradford, of course) and Topo gin with purple basil and grated ginger. It was sweet but not too. The gin leveled that out nicely. It was bright pink and very drinkable.

2016-09-18-20-05-53

Bradford Watermelon

2016-09-18-20-07-41

Pickled watermelon rind and fresh okra

Nat Bradford then demonstrated the proper way to slice a watermelon, which one may think is rudimentary but there is a wrong way to do it. It’s all about the grain. Don’t go against the grain. Each melon has chambers, 5 of them, that you should cut along the chamber wall and always into wedges, then cut perpendicular to the wedge to create slices. Why that much thought? You’re not cutting into the seeds that way; you’re grazing the seeds and making a smoother cut. Science is great, n’est-ce pas? He then passed those wedge slices around for us to try. The best I’ve ever had, I’d say. With the wedge slices they also passed around pickled rinds made from a Bradford watermelon and fresh okra grown on the family farm. Stephanie told me that she wanted my okra if I didn’t like it. I didn’t, but she 2016-09-18-20-08-32loved it. So, it’s still a win. That was the warm up, the real courses then started.

First Course: Compressed Bradford watermelon with Tajín, micro cilantro from Fair Share Farm, ginger from Shore Farms Organics and Olinda Olives olive oil. This little morsel packed a punch. The Tajín, which is a seasoning powder made of chilies, lime juice and sea salt makes this baby pop! Overall, it’s bright and flavorful goodness packed into a 1″ cube. Delicious.

Second Course: Molasses haystack potatoes with Bradford’s light molasses, Fair Share Farm’s micro saltwort and Sea Love Sea Salt, with a load of Calavander cheese sprinkled all over it. Willow’s used to have molasses fries on the menu but it was hard for them to 2016-09-18-20-09-35keep the molasses in stock because the fries were a hit and Bradford can only make so much molasses at a time. I love the Calavander cheese, it’s tangy and light. It makes the molasses sweeter, at least to me. You can never go wrong with Sea Love Sea Salt, either. To hear Chef Travis tell the over-exaggerated story of how they extract the sea salt is always fun. He has it down, though. I like the haystacks over the sweet potato fries that Willows used to serve. I’m not a big fan of sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries.

Third Course: Bradford watermelon and seared ahi tuna with Bradford toasted watermelon seed oil, Bradford crispy okra, shungiku (an Asian green) from Fair Share Farm, garlic flower from Plum Granny Farm, rosé gastrique and Sea Love Sea Salt smoked salt. I think this was my favorite dish? Why? Because 2016-09-18-20-10-44there there was animal flesh on it. I love ahi tuna as it is and to have it next to the Bradford watermelon, well, it was heavenly. The okra seemed to be baby and it was crispy. There was a great seasoning on the tuna, too. The toasted seed oil gave a slightly roasted/smokey flavor to the whole dish and the melding of the sweet, savory and smokey flavors was enough to make me audibly say “mmmmm.”

Fourth Course: Bradford groundnut slivers, Goat Lady Dairy whipped cheese, Gnomestead Hollow crispy lion’s mane mushroom, crispy prosciutto, Harmony Ridge Farms sun gold tomatoes and tomato water with Fair Share Farm micro beets. The prosciutto was extra crispy and fell apart at the touch. The groundnut slivers were firm and sliced extra thin. I adore Goat Lady Dairy’s cheese products; 2016-09-18-20-12-01everything I’ve had is fantastic and tangy. I’m not much on mushrooms but Gnomestead’s wares are always spot on and they’re pretty. I enjoyed the sun gold tomatoes, too. They’re sweet and acidic and compliments the cheese perfectly. I know I’ve mentioned how much I love good microgreens and this is certainly it.

Fifth Course: Bradford okra and pickled rind syrup, Fair Share Farm collards and pot likker (pot liquor, the liquid leftover from cooking collards), Heritage Cheshire pork rind and Plum Granny Farm garlic ash. I love the things that Chef Travis does with pork skin. Be it cracklin’ or rinds, he always does it right with them. The pot likker makes it a little soft in this case and, while they already do, it makes them melt directly in your mouth. I ate the okra in this dish and I have really grown to love collards. These 2016-09-18-20-13-08were perfectly wilted and cooked, still retained all their flavor and created a wonderful jus. Good seasoning from the garlic ash made the dish delicious.

What I noticed about all the dishes was the vibrancy of the colors, the pinkish red watermelon, the emerald green okra, the deep green of the collards, the deep red of the tuna, the brilliant yellow and orange of the sun gold tomatoes. Each held their own merits on their own, but Chef Travis and his Chef de Cuisine, Chef Brent Andruzzi, made spectacularly large dishes in such remarkably smaller packages. I love what Chef Travis does in the kitchen and that’s why I call him “Wonderboy.” Taking a food like watermelon and turning it into these works of art, that’s talent.

There was a star-studded audience for this event, as well. Mary Haglund of Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Jennifer Smith, owner of Mozelle’s Southern Bistro, Curtis Hackaday, head chef of 1703 Restaurant, Margaret Norfleet Neff, Mary Lacklin of Triad Local First, Michael Hastings of the Winston-Salem Journal hosted and the list goes on. 2016-09-18-18-27-12

You can find more about Bradford Watermelons by visiting their website (HERE). Click on the links to any of the vendors mentioned above and try their products, you won’t be disappointed. Willow’s Bistro is located at 300 S Liberty St, Suite 100 in Winston-Salem.

Food Goings On and Stuffs 4/20/16

A few things that are going on around town and, really, around the state.

skippys

Photo©Skippy’s Facebook

Also, something that has been in the local food plane the last few months is happening next week. Many local chefs, restaurateurs and all-around foodie folk are banding together to come to the aid of a local restaurateur in need. Mike Rothman is the owner of Skippy’s Hot Dogs, famous for their pretzel buns. Mike has glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer and had some tumors removed earlier this year. Even though he has insurance, there’s only so much that it will pay and meanwhile he has a beloved (by him and the WSNC folk) restaurant that is sitting idle and unopened. Mike had to move back to Pennsylvania in order to be with family that will help with his recovery.

In what they’re calling “Mike’s Week” (#MikesWeek on social media, please), the awesome people behind some of Winston’s best downtown restaurants are coming to the rescue; at least coming to a relief. They’re going to open Skippy’s for one week starting April 23 and going through April 30. All the proceeds from this project will go to Mike. These opened days are done by volunteers of the restaurants involved, including their executive chefs, owners, bartenders, waitstaff and dishwashers. Everyone is getting involved.

The restaurants that are involved include: Spring House/Quanto Basta, Jeffrey Adams/Old Fourth Street Filling Station, Mozelle’s, West End Coffeehouse, DiLisio’s, Kabob’s on Fourth, Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Sweet Potatoes, Finnigan’s Wake and King’s Crab Shack/Silo Bistro/Willow’s Bistro. I hear there is also inquiries about more openings. Each day the restaurant(s) on duty will create their own twist on hot dogs. Unfortunately, Mike is the only one that does the pretzel buns, so that’s going to be missing, but the restaurant community is coming to his aid in a really awesome way. So, between this Saturday, April 23 and April 30th, won’t you stop by for a great dog for a great cause?

Last week on The Less Desirables, they (we) had Chef Kris Fuller (and her wife, Rachel Walker), owner of Crafted: Art of the Taco and Crafted: The Art of Street Food in Greensboro.  You probably know, that she is opening, finally, 2016-04-13 22.33.58Crafted: Art of the Taco here in Winston-Salem. It will be just south of the intersection of Sixth and Liberty on Liberty Street. She’s very excited about the opportunity and we are very happy that she’s bringing that deliciousness to our fair city.  The timeline, as of right now, is looking like late fall. We that follow restaurants and happenings realize that you take the target and add a little time to it to be realistic. That’s true with just about any business.

Without going into much details about their history, Crafted: Art of the Taco (East), Kris and her mother, Rhonda started another popular restaurant, The Bistro, in Adam’s Farm and had to close it due to road development. The success of that restaurant gave them motivation to open another. Art of the Taco wants it known that they are definitely not a Mexican restaurant, they’re a taco joint, plain and simple. Or, not really that simple. I’m sad to say that I haven’t actually eaten there, but Kris made me promise to come down and try it before Art of the Taco West opens. There’s also talk of a certain “branded” taco when they do open. We’ll see what happens with that.

In news outside Winston-Salem, even outside of the Triad, a Triangle brewing staple has announced that it is closing. In fact, the name of the brewery is Triangle Brewing Company and they’re closing their doors on April 30th. Triangle has been sold at City Beverage, at least in the past, and there are fans of that brewery here in Winston. The Less Desirables met one of their most loyal fans, we call him: Superfan Damien, at Triangle so it’s hallowed ground in TBC-Logo-blackTLD’s lore.

Their brews include: Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale, an IPA, Belgian White Ale, Imperial Amber Ale, all of which were available in cans and sold in this area. There are plenty of other styles that they produced. They will open, as I stated, for the last time at 4pm on April 30. They will stay open until the last drop of beer they have left is gone (or until 2am, whichever is sooner). So, since it’s the same day, perhaps you start with breakfast at Skippy’s and head to Durham for a beer-filled send off? Just drink responsibly and take a designated driver.

I don’t know all the details on why they’re closing but my “man on the street,” Superfan Damien is going to find out and let me know so I can report on it.

So that’s the things happening this week that I found noteworthy. There are plenty of things going on and I’ll do my best to update so you know! If you have WSNC food news and want my readers to know about it, please feel free to send me an email.

Bon appetit!

A Contemplation of Fourth

This is reprinted from an article that was published today from Tim’s daily blog, Useless Things Need Love, Too.

Salutations™!!

There have been two high profile (at least to me) closings announced this week in my favorite part of Winston-Salem and on the same city block.  This past Tuesday Augustine’s Bistro sent out a very short, but to the point, email to the restaurant’s closest supporters, friends and family announcing that they were closing as of that day.  No head’s up, no closing ceremony, no time for goodbyes.  About 45 minutes prior to that I received texts from both Aly Reich, the manager and Chris McDonough, the Mixologist (Intoxicologist?) Extraordinaire informing me that they were closing.  They had just found out minutes before.  According to an article by Michael Hastings of the Winston-Salem Journal, Eric Muck, the owner said that business just wasn’t there, as well as some preconceived notions of potential clients about the location.  We’ll get to that in a bit.

Today, in an article from Lynn Felder of Relish and WSJ, it was announced that The Community Arts Cafe is closing as of March 31. CAC was a performance center, cafe, wine & beer bar with a kitchen that was, for a time, a restaurant and catering area.  I saw a performance by Spirit Gum Theater Company there as well as some of the SoundLizzard showcases there.  The kitchen was the kitchen for La Rana Loca and Encore restaurants before that, complete with some beer taps.

Fourth Street is the new main street in Downtown Winston-Salem. a/perture Cinema, Camino Bakery, Washington Perk, Mellow Mushroom, Jeffrey Adams on 4th, Hutch & Harris, Kings Crab Shack & Oyster Bar, Downtown Thai, The Honey Pot, Kabobs on 4th, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Jimmy John’s, Foothills Brewing, Skippy’s Hot Dogs, Corks Caps & Taps, Quanto Basta, West End Coffee Shop, Mozelle’s, Olde Fourth Street Filling Station, Mooney’s, Downtown Deli, West End Cafe, Recreation Billiards, Bulls Tavern, The Stevens Center, The Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and The Less Desirables are just a FEW businesses on this street within a 9 block (or so) area.  This is the street to be on.  Now, both of these are on the 400 block of 4th Street.  That’s two locations in one week announcing closings within 100 yards of each other. What in the world is going on!?  I have some theories and I’m going to expound on them.  These may be slightly off base or they may be close, but they’re mine.

CAC

Let’s start with CAC.  When it opened, it was an innovation to what was going on downtown.  It was Fourth Street’s alternative to Trade Streets art galleries and had a performance center area that had a decent beer and wine selection.  They eventually added catering and a restaurant. The space is huge and they’ve sublet some of it.  But, really most people didn’t even know it was there.  There was a sign, yes, but it wasn’t flashy and didn’t get in your face.  Even when people did see it, it wasn’t really clear what it was. A chalk sandwich board outside becomes commonplace on the street and people tend to stop reading or looking.  Posters in the windows weren’t really indicative, either.  So, there was challenge number one. Then not too long ago, the WS Chamber took over the entire upper part, of the building. In doing so, they basically branded the whole building as WS Chamber.  That’s the prominent signage and I’ll admit, that while I knew about CAC being in there, it was lost on the appearance that it was WS Chamber’s building and they did everything in there.  If someone didn’t have business to do with the Chamber, then why go in, right?  The Chamber are so dominant in that space that when they moved in they demanded (and got) all the parking behind the building and no one is allowed to park there without having credentials. The Chamber are brutal, at times. Yeah, I said it.

UNCSA Stevens Center

Let’s talk Augustine’s.  Augustine’s was at 401 W 4th. It was located in the UNCSA’s Stevens Center complex. Notice I said in the complex. Yes, it was in the same building but it wasn’t necessarily part of the Stevens Center.  However, that is one of the major problems.  People see the decorative awning of the Stevens Center that wraps all the way around the building and it full encompasses where Augustine’s was.  In fact, the Stevens Center’s branding was on the extreme edges of the awning, beyond any signage that any restaurant had out there. You can see from the picture here, what I mean. Thank you to Fam Brownlee for that picture.

So, with the perception of Augustine’s being part of the UNCSA, there are a few stigmas.  You get the low-brows who think the theatre is snooty and pompous and “I don’t want anything to do with those artsy-fartsy kind.” Or, because it’s in there, then it must be expensive.  The fact is, I believe that Augustine’s prices could have actually been a little higher; the quality and portion size (no matter what some ridiculous Yelp! reviewers may have said) were very reasonably priced and I think Eric and Audrey shorted themselves slightly.  I commend them for keeping the prices down as best as they can.  I just think it was particular component of the problem. Another thing, being that no matter how much signage you put out, UNCSA isn’t going to let you outshine them so your signs will never be indicative of what is inside. That being said, they think the restaurant is just part of the Steven Center which gives the misconception that they’re only open when there are shows going on.  They were open Tuesday through Saturday and even opening for lunches in the last month or so.

Another thing about this location is no restauranteur is going to have money to spend on upfitting the kitchen and refrigeration of the place and they’re in dire need of it.  UNCSA certainly isn’t going to pay to replace that, but they’ve had a problem with it for a while.  Compound all these ingredients and they either all are the problem or they contribute to it.

I’m not putting down either the Chamber nor UNCSA’s Stevens Center, but their being there is killing the potential for smaller businesses, namely restaurants in their presence.  The 400 block of Fourth Street at least on the northern side is dominated by those two locations. The irony is that the Chamber is supposed to be there to help businesses not oppress them. Whilst they maintain such visible and occupied presence, nothing else can survive.  Like grass when there are large trees around.  The trees absorb all the nutrients and the surrounding area is barren.

Both CAC and Augustine’s were reliant on word of mouth, however, if no one knows you’re there, they can’t tell anyone else. These locations have no money for marketing and without a marketing budget, there will be no traffic to your place.  Places like I mentioned before on this street had prominent signage that represented their establishments.

I’m challenging you all to become more aware of what is happening in this town that we love or if you’re from out of town, at least try to be more aware of what this town has to offer.  I’m bracing for the next big closure.  Which, sometimes when one thing goes another takes its place, but I’m afraid that the two spaces I’ve discussed are prompted to fail no matter what goes in there unless something changes on the marketing/signage front.  According to Hastings’s article about UNCSA there’s talk that they’ll re-purpose Augustine’s for something that isn’t a restaurant. I’d be relieved if that happened because anything that goes in there, to would be doomed for failure.

None of these factors are the lone factors, I believe.  It’s a culmination of many things, these just being the prominent ones in my mind. These are great locations that happen to be horrible locales.

Enough of my venting for the day.  Don’t let our foodie town erode away.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


For an adult, the world is constantly trying to clamp down on itself. Routine, responsibility, decay of institutions, corruption: this is all the world closing in.” – Bruce Springsteen

DWSP Presents Restaurant Week 2/15-2/21

Did you know that the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership is presenting Restaurant Week from Sunday, February 15 through Saturday February 22?  Well, you do now!

restaurantweek

DWSP Restaurant Week

What is Restaurant Week?  We’re glad you asked.  Restaurant Week is a food event where many of the downtown Winston-Salem restaurants offer special prix fixe menus of $20, $30 or both.  For example: a restaurant can offer an appetizer, an entree and a dessert (chosen to form a combo) for $20 per person or they may offer a double portion for $30.  Make sense?  Maybe not.  Let’s give some real examples:

Bib’s for example has the following:


 

$20 Special for 2
3 Rib Bone Plate: Each person gets a plate that comes with 3 Rib Bones, Choice of Red or White Slaw, 1 side item, Hush Puppies and Toast
Choose 1 dessert to share

$30 Special for 2
Half Rack Rib Bone Plates: Each person gets a plate that comes with 6 Rib Bones, Choice or Red or White Slaw, 1 side item, Hush Puppies and Toast
Choose 1 dessert to share

They can also offer extras such as this: Beverage Pairing Suggestions (Additional Charge)
WINE: Our ribs pair nicely with the Michael David Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon or North Carolina’s Childress Pinnacle
BEER: Our ribs also pair nicely with the Olde Hickory Ruby Lager or the Highland Gaelic Ale which are both North Carolina brews


Let’s look at another restaurant’s offerings.
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar offers this:
3 Course Dinner $30 per person
BOOM! M-80 Crispy Shrimp: texas pete voodoo sauce
Filet Mignon: cabernet franc butter, oyster cornbread dressing & gorgonzola fritter
Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Nutella Cake: hibiscus cherry infused sweet cream

$20 Special per person
Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pan Gravy: atop smoked tomato and pimento cheese grits, M-80 sauce, ‘Bama BBQ sauce, Sriracha aioli
Spring House Bread Pudding: caramel Kahlua sauce and sweet cream


So these are only examples.  Here is a comprehensive list of participating restaurants…

6th & Vine Wine Bar & Cafe
Augustine’s Bistro
Bayberry Bistro
Bernardin’s
Bib’s Downtown
Black Mountain Chocolate
Camino Bakery
Di Lisio’s Italian Restaurant
District Rooftop Bar & Grille
Downtown Thai & Sushi
Foothills Brewing
Graze
Hutch & Harris
Jeffrey Adams on Fourth
Kabobs on Fourth
King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar
Mellow Mushroom
Meridian
Mooney’s Mediterranean Café
Mozelle’s
Mission Pizza
Old Fourth Street Filling Station
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
Twin City Hive
Wen Hwa Asian Fusion Cuisine
Sweet Potatoes…a restaurant
West End Coffeehouse
Willow’s Bistro

We could have saved you reading that and just sent you to the website, but what fun would that have been?  We recommend calling ahead for reservations and remember that these are dinner specials only and, of course, they’re subject to availability and all that jazz. Also, the restaurants are subject to change and more could be added or some may drop out; it happens.  Go, eat, have fun, take friends, enjoy and tell us what you think. Even better, let DWSP and the restaurants know what you think.  Help make this Restaurant Week a success.

Have fun!