An Open Letter to North Carolina Residents, Support Independent Restaurants

The following was published via NC News Network today. This is a repost and is fully-owned by NCNN. A great piece written by our very own Claire Calvin from The Porch, Alma Mexicana and Canteen Market and Bistro:


Claire Calvin (©NCNN)

I am a small business owner and resident of an incredibly resilient city; I own three restaurants in Winston-Salem – The Porch, Alma Mexicana and Canteen Market & Bistro.

Independent restaurants are the economic engine for so many other local businesses – family farms, vendors, suppliers, and service companies. Chipotle is not hiring your neighbor’s graphic design firm for a new logo or a local attorney for legal advice. 

We support the state and local tax base, donate to local charities and schools, and invest our time and money into improving the community.  Collectively, we employ our neighbors who in turn pay rent, buy cars, shop, go out to eat and otherwise participate in our local economy. 

And, of course, we feed people in ways both physical and emotional. These past few weeks, while our dining room and two of our three restaurants have been closed, our kitchen at The Porch has continued to make and sell food for take-out and delivery, and that has felt so amazing to be able to provide a service to the community in these dark days.

Every person and every industry will have much work to do in the next year to rebuild and restore some sense of normalcy, and the challenges to each are unique and complex. Some industries will be more disrupted than others, but all will face new and difficult problems.

For independent restaurants, the challenges are many and survival depends, in large part, on how federal agencies, state and city governments proceed. Like airlines, hotels and entertainment venues, independent restaurants – particularly ones primarily sustained by dine-in sales – are still in free fall. Simply re-opening is not a solution that will address the needs of most restaurants, so if we care about saving them at all, we need action that specifically targets the issues they face.

As states begin to move away from total lockdowns, there will be many bumps in the road, and no one knows exactly what will happen. We’re all in uncharted territory, and we must observe and learn from others.

In the past weeks, I have been working long days in the restaurant trying to keep our business afloat doing take-out and delivery, and before and after work reading as much as I can to learn best practices on re-opening safely from around the world, talking to restaurant owners and industry leaders around the country who are trying to re-imagine their businesses, and creating one scenario after another for our own restaurants. I am exhausted, mentally and physically, and I know that the next 12 months will require even more of all of us.

I am willing to do the hard work ahead, and I expect the same from our government leaders. “Allowing” restaurants to reopen without financial help, stringent regulations and public (government) support is unconscionable and it will bankrupt small businesses.

Many years ago, I was asked to write about my “why” for getting into the restaurant business, and I remember that I wrote the line “This was never about food.” It is about building community, and food is the tool we use to do it.  The work we do is about building up and serving the collective community and the people in it. We use food to gather you to our spaces, but then we get to watch magic happen when you all are there with us in that noisy, chaotic and living space.

Please join with us in the hard work it will take to bring back that magic. I really do believe we can get there and beyond, but we need you all to make it happen.

Claire Calvin is a founding member of Triad Food & Beverage Coalition and owner of The Porch, Alma Mexicana, and Canteen Market & Bistro. Reach her at clairecalvin@gmail.com

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 154

In Episode #154 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios at The Lab at Industry Hill. Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • Jordan Keiper is on to talk about Heard Collaborative Cafe, what HCC does, how the community can help and how the services are there for those who need them.
  • Dairi-O puts extra sanitization processes in place.
  • Some restaurants are making moves to come back strong.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Tim and Stephanie had Don Zapata’s Mexican for Mother’s Day.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

Triad Food and Beverage Coalition Partners with AT&T to Launch Essential Worker and Low-income Community Feeding Program

Winston-Salem, NC, May 15, 2020 – Today, the Triad Food and Beverage Coalition, a program of the Winston-Salem Urban League, launches its essential worker and low-income resident feeding program. The effort, funded by a $10,000 grant from AT&T provides meals to essential workers and low-income residents while simultaneously providing a much-needed influx of cash to local restaurants.

The effort will partner with 7 local restaurants to provide 2,100 meals to essential workers and low-income residents over 7 weeks. The meals will be distributed by program partner, Love Out Loud.

Today’s meal service will be provided by Taste of the Triad owned by Sabrina Wingo. Wingo and her staff will deliver 150 meals to Morningstar Baptist Church (1400 Fitch St, Winston-Salem) at 1:25 pm and another 150 meals to the Winston Lake YMCA (901 Waterworks Rd, Winston-Salem) at 1:45 pm.

Sabrina Wingo, owner of Taste of the Triad remarked, “We have worked so hard to make Taste of the Triad a success. Closing our doors to address the pandemic has been tough. But this partnership allows us to provide an essential service while providing some cash to help bridge the financial gap.”

Algenon Cash, Director, Winston-Salem Urban League’s Triad Food and Beverage Coalition, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has made the work of the Triad Food and Beverage Coalition more important than ever. We are uniquely able to help the community by providing meals while supporting local restaurants that are in a time of need. This wouldn’t have been possible without AT&T’s partnership and support.”

Next Friday’s meal service will be provided by the Porch, owned by Clair Calvin.

###

About the Triad Food and Beverage Coalition

The Triad Food and Beverage Coalition is a program of the Winston-Salem Urban League, designed to promote a healthy food and beverage community by providing members with strategic programming, marketing assistance, operational support, and direct input on governmental affairs and administrative public policies that encourage regional economic growth.

About Winston-Salem Urban League

The Winston-Salem Urban League is a mission-driven non-profit organization focused on helping residents become financially secure and prepared to meet the demands of today’s job market through training, education, and job placement services. The agency provides comprehensive training and paid work experience program for over 300 seniors annually as well as the general public.

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 153

Dafni Michael talks with the TMWATT Crew

In Episode #153 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios at The Lab at Industry Hill. Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • Dafni Michael of the Michael Family Restaurant Group is on the show to talk about the restaurants being back open, what the community means to them and we talk about what they mean to us. Amazing interview.
  • Baked Just SO will open on Mondays starting next Monday 5/18.
  • Cafe Arthur’s has a new website.
  • Zesto Burgers helped by Young Cardinal Cafe.
  • Fratelli’s Italian Steakhouse is open again.
  • Ichiban has a new menu.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Tim and Stephanie had Don Zapata’s Mexican for Mother’s Day.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 152

In Episode #152 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios at The Lab at Industry Hill. Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • All Michael Family Restaurant Group restaurants are open. Mama Zoe Michael’s, Waldo’s Wings, Cin Cin Burger Bar and Yamas Mediterranean Street Food are back in business doing takeout, curbside and delivery!
  • Diamondback Grill is back open doing takeout and curbside. Tim talks about the food he and Stephanie had this weekend from Diamondback Grill.
  • Restaurants re-emerging to try different ideas, menus, and directions to stay relevant and keep their doors open, while offering service to the community that loves them.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • J&J Food Mart is hiring.
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Michael Family Restaurant Group Re-Emerges

One of the first sets of restaurants to bow out in March, while the dust was just starting to be stirred up, was the Michael Family Restaurant Group. Mama Zoe Michael’s, Waldo’s Wings, Cin Cin Burger Bar and Yamas Mediterranean Street Food all shuttered up and waited to see where the pandemic was going to take the world.

They were looking out for the safety and health of their customers, their employees, themselves. No one knew what was going to happen. Truthfully, no one knows now. The Michael Family then turned to renovations and construction working on Mama Zoe Michael’s on the renovation that they had been talking about for at least a year prior. It gave them the perfect opening to make that happen. I passed some time.

But, the dust is starting to settle, at least in terms of potential outlooks. On April 23, Waldo’s Wings announced they were going to reopen. That was a start. Yesterday, Cin Cin Burger Bar and Yamas Mediterranean Street Food both opened.

It was a glorious few days, indeed. Lea and Mel went to Yamas to grab some grub and so did we. I wasn’t passing on the opportunity to have some delicious Yamas that I had been craving for the last month. I was giddy and laughed all the way home.

While we were waiting for the curbside order, we saw this beautiful rainbow. Many people posted about it on social media. It was amazing and I think the perfect symbol for this town and all the restaurants, small businesses, service workers and the citizens of this fantastic town.

No word, just yet, on when Mama Zoe Michael’s will reopen, but I imagine it should be soon. Chris is a “spur-of-the-moment” kind of guy and I think when he’s ready, that trigger will be pulled quickly and without hesitation. When I know something I will post it here and/or on the Facebook page.

Waldo’s Wings is located at 2855 Reynolda Road.
Cin Cin Burger Bar is located at 1425 W 1st Street.
Yamas Mediterranean Street Food is located at 624 W 4th Street.

Go grab some food from one or all of these wonderful restaurants and post about it. Tag me if you’d like.

Diamondback Grill Re-Emerging This Weekend

The past few weeks have seen several businesses either revamping, repurposing, or simply jumping back into the fray after the nightmare we call COVID-19 set the entire world upon its proverbial head.

One big announcement came from Kimberly Gregg, owner of Diamondback Grill, the quaint eatery nestled in the heart of Buena Vista. The message was that Diamondback was re-emerging. This is wonderful news. Kimberly’s husband, “Murph” posted a long and touching post on March 28 that detailed the restaurant’s history, the area’s history, the importance of the community in which it sets and how difficult it was to lay off employees and shutter the dreams he and Kimberly had worked so hard to build and nurture. It was sad, but there were glimmers of hope in that message and it seems that now is the time to return. It is a time for rebirth, re-emergence and progress forward.

According to a post made on Diamondback Grill’s Facebook page (some edits for context):

We’re reopening THIS FRIDAY, May 1st for curbside/takeout!!! Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on menu additions + nightly specials!

You can also go to our website www.diamondbackgrill.com to join our email list for the latest updates….catering, themed dinners, etc.

ALSO… we’re selling bottles of wine for 60% OFF 🍷!

Here are all the ordering details below! We cannot wait to get back to serving you homemade and delicious dinners…

Tuesday-Saturday for now from 5-8:30 pm – we will have someone outside monitoring arrivals for a quick, safe, and easy curbside pickup. 

We will continue to honor COVID guidelines by wearing masks, gloves to prepare the take out orders, as well as continuing to sanitize.

Three ways to contact Diamondback Grill and utilize their services:

  1. Call 336-722-0006 after 3 pm to place your order and pay over the phone. Or…
  2. Order and pay using the SwipeBy app. Or…
  3. Preorder online by 3 pm and pay via PayPal which is coming soon.

Diamondback Grill is located at 751 N Avalon Rd. in Winston-Salem.

I cannot wait to have some Diamondback goodness, soon!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 151

Lea, Tim, and Algenon

In Episode #151 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios at The Lab at Industry Hill. Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim and Lea talk about (Ray is off this week):

  • Algenon Cash of Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream and Skrimp Shack is Zooming in to talk about the Triad Food & Beverage Coalition, what it is, how it affects the F&B industry in the Triad, how you can help and more.
  • Intown Donutz is assessing their reopening and asking their fans for input.
  • Restaurants re-emerging to try different ideas, menus, and directions to stay relevant and keep their doors open, while offering service to the community that loves them.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • J&J Food Mart is hiring.
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 150

In Episode #150 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios at The Lab at Industry Hill Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • Restaurants re-emerging to try different ideas, menus and directions to stay relevant and keep their doors open, while offering service to the community that loves them.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Richard Brewer, owner of Corks Caps & Taps talks about the winebar and specials going on for curbside pickup. Check out their Facebook page for more details.
  • Cafe Arthur’s is back open for takeout/curbside.
  • Intown Donutz is assessing their reopening and asking their fans for input.
  • Tim tries the new “Stay At Home Menu” from Burke Street Pizza.
  • J&J Food Mart is hiring.
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 149

Tony DiLisio

In Episode #149 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios at The Lab at Industry Hill Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • Restaurants re-emerging to try different ideas, menus and directions to stay relevant and keep their doors open, while offering service to the community that loves them.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Krankies reopen with limited hours, limited days, limited menu and a virtual grocery store.
  • Delicious By Shereen starts delivery again.
  • Shokunin Ramen becomes Bootleg Ramen and will deliver storable ramen meals and wine from Sanders Ridge.
  • DiLisio’s opens on Wednesday, 4/15 for curbside pickup ONLY.
  • Corks Caps & Taps have specials going on for curbside pickup. Check out their Facebook page for more details.
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!