The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 170

In Episode #170, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • Michael and Michelle Millan are on to announce they are opening Mojito Latin Soul Food on Friday!
  • Dina Abushihab is on to talk about Baklava & More and her fantastic desserts.
  • Ray talks about Food Freaks.
  • Mozzarella Fellas.
  • Dairi-O.
  • Bootleg Ramen.
  • Burke Street Pub.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • 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 Re-Emergence Part 1

I call this “Part 1” because I’m going through the list and gathering what I see restaurants and or bars have posted about their reopening plans. I don’t want to throw too many in one post because that will get convoluted and I want to make sure that each establishment has their moment of your attention. So let’s start here:


Per 1703 Restaurant’s Facebook:

Phase 2 of re-opening NC will begin this Friday. 1703 will be opening for dine-in service next Tuesday, May 26. There are many modifications we need to make to adjust to the guidelines of NCDHHS. For that reason, we will be offering dinner only for the first two weeks, beginning at 5:00 pm. Reservations will be required for inside and outside since our capacity will be limited. After two weeks, we plan to begin offering lunch Tuesday-Friday and Sunday brunch. We are very excited to see you all, but understand that you may want to continue to stay in. We will continue to offer take out and delivery Tuesday- Sunday, 11:00 am -close. We will also resume our schedule of having Mondays off. Thank you for your patience as we move into the next phase with extreme caution.


Per 6th & Vine’s Facebook:

Getting ready … we won’t open May 22. We are deep cleaning & training staff. We open for curbside/takeout Wednesday May 27 at 5 pm. And Patio dining opens Friday May 29 at 5 pm. #6thandvine #wsnc


Per Bull’s Tavern’s Facebook:

We will reopen the Wednesday after the Phase 2 order is lifted.

We are currently working through all of our policies to provide a safe environment for employees and our beloved patrons. These policies will be posted prior to opening.

During the 50% restrictions, Bull’s will be very different. We are taking this opportunity to do some smaller seated singer/songwriter shows, to still provide a place for musicians to share their art to the community.

The Bull’s Family, as we call ourselves, see this challenging time as an opportunity to turn negatives into positives.

We love our community and cannot wait to serve you again!

#safetyfirst #winstonstrong #bullstavern #wsnc #wheremusiclives #dtws


Per Camel City BBQ Factory’s Facebook:

Governor Roy Cooper has implemented Phase 2 and approved inside dining for restaurants.
Although we closed in March we never stopped working, planning, and renovating the restaurant in the effort to provide a better safer experience for all as much is possible in this Pandemic.

To limit touchable surfaces we will have QR codes for menus so guests can use their cell phones to order. But if requested we can also provide a disposable paper menu for easier reading. Also during this time, our menu will be limited to our most popular items. This will help our kitchen staff social distance as much as possible and reduce the amount of times a plate is handled. Our staff is our family and keeping them protected helps us all be safer.

Per Governor Cooper’s orders we will operate at 50% capacity with social distancing. Allowing guests their space is crucial so we have also created pathways to limit crossing paths. In everything we have done it has been our goal to make these changes effortless. Just follow the green steps.

At the entrance we have installed hands-free wash stations so guests can wash their hands as they enter. We also have installed forearm door openers so there’s no need to grab the handles. As for other barriers we’ve installed plexiglass for the cashiers and host stand, and food barriers at the expo window.

There are going to be big changes for all of us in this new frontier. How we communicate, how we serve you, how we order.
One thing that will never change is our commitment to our customers and our passion for serving.
Our motto has always been “Happy to Serve”…It’s what we do.

We look forward to serving you this Friday at 5 pm.


Per Carolina Ale House’s Facebook:

As we move into the next phase of these unprecedented times, we at LM Restaurants & Carolina Ale House are proud to put detailed procedures in place from the CDC to ensure the health and safety of our guests and employees.

While #dinein service may not be your decision right now, we would like to share our process as we move forward. We have a 2-part cleaning and sanitizing system in place throughout all our restaurants. We are taking extreme efforts in ensuring all surfaces are being thoroughly and frequently cleaned with the appropriate solutions and detergents. Our sanitizer is changed every 2 hours to provide its full concentration.

All employees are required to wear masks to add another layer of protection for our guests. We thank our guests in the community for supporting us during this time of social distancing.

We look forward to continuing to serve you whether you are a dine-in guest or #takeout or #delivery.

#aleyeah #foodie #carolinaalehouse #community #sanitize #inthistogether #newnormal #guests #staysafe #safety #eatlocal #supportlocal #drinklocal @NCRLA @VisitNC @countonmenc


More to come… STAY SAFE WSNC!!!!

Bull’s Tavern and West End Coffeehouse Closed Until Further Notice

Statements from Bull’s Tavern and West End Coffeehouse via their Facebook page:


Bull’s Tavern

We are deeply saddened to announce that we will be closed indefinitely to do our part of flattening the curve during this national pandemic.

We look forward to serving you when this nightmare is over. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones during these unprecedented times.

We love you all dearly!
-Danielle and the Bull’s Family

**

West End Coffeehouse

I’ve been trying to find the words all day to say that we will be closed until… well, we honestly don’t know.

To say I’m heartbroken is an understatement. I’m acutely aware that when we reopen our doors our community will be forever changed. Though I’m apprehensive about the uncertainty of what we’re facing, I’ve seen how great our city can be when we work together and I believe in us.

Under the circumstances, closing is the right decision and I don’t regret it. We’ll be at the shop on Tuesday morning if anyone wants to be socially distant with us as we get ready to close up for a while.

While we may be closed, we are definitely not gone. We’re planning to use this time to play with pie and catch up on rest and do projects around the house and pet some cats. We’ll definitely post about our housebound adventures and we would love to hear about yours too.

Please stay safe and please stay home. If you must get out of the house, most of your favorite locally-owned restaurants are offering curbside service or delivery. You get to eat a great meal and keep everyone safe. (And make sure to tip generously!!) You could make a day of it! Order curbside pickup from Mary’s Gourmet Diner, order some records from Underdog Records, pick up a pizza from Mission Pizza Napoletana, some cookies from Black Mountain Chocolate and then grab a coffee from Coffee Park Airstream on your way back home.

We love you, Winston-Salem.

#myws #dtws #wsnc #welovews #supportlocal

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