The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 169

In Episode #169, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • Jordan Keiper discusses Providence Restaurant and Providence Culinary Training taking over food and events at Tanglewood Park.
  • Claire Calvin is on to discuss Canteen Market and Bistro becoming Canteen Still Life, its new direction and that it is opening this week, October 1.
  • DiLisio’s Restaurant to be offered in a local hospital’s cafeteria.
  • ByGood Coffee needs input.

    Claire Calvin

  • Cugino Forno closer to new opening.
  • Dairi-O starts on new location.
  • The Carolina Classic Fair will happen this week but as a drive thru, we talk about a list of available food.
  • Tim and Stephanie try Baklava and More’s baklava and baklava cheesecake. Food Freaks opens its new brick and mortar location this weekend.
  • 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 Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 168

In Episode #168, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • Lighthouse Restaurant closes.
  • Arigato.
  • Canteen Market & Bistro.
  • JJ’s Cuban Kitchen.
  • Tim had his first Burger Supreme burger.
  • 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!

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

Canteen Market & Bistro to Hold Sidewalk Sale on Sunday

Canteen Market & Bistro will open for a couple of hours this Sunday for a Sidewalk Sale! Stop by anytime between 2 – 6 pm to stock up on items from their market! If you BYOB (bring your own bottle 😉) they will fill it with draft beer or wine for free with any $50 or more purchase!

Putting In Some Perspective…

©Claire Calvin

From Claire Calvin (owner of The Porch, Alma Mexicana and co-owner of Canteen Market and Bistro) and her truly infinite wisdom:

A few more thoughts before I try to meet this new day.
Since the government closed down bars and in-restaurant service today in North Carolina, you may have seen many of your favorite restaurants post on social media that they would move to take-out/curb-side and/or delivery service, and you may have thought, “great! I’ll have so many options whenever I get sick of cooking all of this massive amount of food I just bought!” Maybe you also thought, “great! They’re going to be able to save jobs and stay in business.”
The reality is this:

• many restaurants will only have a few days to determine whether this model is viable, and if they don’t have a high volume of that business right away, they will close that service and shut down completely. If you wait until you’ve cooked through all of your homesteading recipes you’ve got planned, those options will be gone.

• Delivery and take-out, even in a best-case scenario, likely would only require between 50-20% of the back of house staff, and without drink sales and dining room service will not generate the tip income to keep almost any servers. So that’s a ton of employees people are still having to face letting go.

• Transitioning to a completely new service model is not as simple as just shoving the same food into boxes and taking it to your house. Among other things that make it hard are putting in place the technology to get a menu online, figuring out what hours, how far away can you deliver, what menu items, and what containers you’ll put everything in, and on and on and on. Trying to resolve those questions and implement new systems in a 12-24 hour window against the backdrop of laying off at least half of your workforce is challenging, to say the least.

So if your favorite restaurant is trying to throw this Hail Mary, here’s what you can do:

• Order right away for a week or so – you could take a meal to a friend who is struggling with homeschooling three kids while trying to “work from home” (😫😫😫) or an elderly person you know who is nervous to leave his or her home

•. Be patient when your order is messed up/cold/late/difficult to pay for because your favorite restaurant is hopefully not a big chain and not freaking amazon. They may literally be doing it for the first time.

• If you have a skill set that might help (ability to build web pages, graphic design ability to make signs and posters to help them advertise, social media savvy, or knowledge about setting up online credit card payments) and time to help, offer those skills.

• Be patient.
• Be patient.
• Be patient.

• Understand that it may not work anyway, and be supportive either way. Also, understand that there is grief going on behind the scenes either way.

For our businesses, we have one restaurant (The Porch) where a lot of this was already well-incorporated into our system and process, and we will hopefully be able to continue providing that service throughout this time. At Alma, we have made the decision to close completely after two nights of offering take-out only. At Canteen it was simply not feasible to even try because of the overhead of running even a bare-bones operation there because, without drink and product sales, nothing works. It is incredibly, unfathomably hard to watch something you just poured everything into essentially burn down in less than a week, and even harder not to be able to help the creative, hard-working, funny, talented people who helped build it with you.

Thank God we have the window of opportunity that we do at The Porch and Dinners on the Porch, but many independent restaurants do not. So support this last-ditch effort and maybe some independent restaurants will make it to the other side.

(And as a note, I am writing about restaurants because I run restaurants, but I know people in every different situation are suffering the same, so there is no hierarchy of hardship where I’m suggesting you owe anything to restaurants in particular. much of this applies to so many other small businesses and organizations – retail, schools, small non-profits, artists, etc. This horror is facing all of us even if we don’t get sick, so being patient and sticking together is all I can think of to help us weather this season of grief we’re all living through.)
Love to all & thank you again for all of your tremendous support thus far. Onward!

Local Restaurants Offering Takeout/Delivery/Curbside

These are the restaurants that have reported to me that they are offering Takeout (T), Delivery (D) or Curbside Pickup (C). Please refer to their Facebook pages (the links provided) as anything can change at a moment’s notice. Some of these places had released statements before and I have included the links to those posts in which I published the statements. This list will be ever-changing, too, as I find out more info.

Stay safe and wash your hands!

Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro: (T, C) 11-7p (336) 703-5400

Slappy’s Chicken: (T, D)  — (336) 761-0268

Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream: (T, D) — (336) 793-5548

Skrimp Shack: (C, T, D) — (336) 331-3026

1703 Restaurant: (T, D) — (336) 725-5767

Carolina Ale House: See this post.

Xcaret: (C) working on it. (336) 955-1345

Wine Merchants/Vin 205: See this post.

Omega House: (T) presumably — (336) 724-5262

East Coast Wings: (T, D, C), Brent from the Peters Creek (336) 784-6700 and Reynolda (336) 293-4422 locations said they were. Country Club (336) 659-9992. Not sure of the others.

Camel City Coffee: (T) presumably — (336) 955-2246

Tart Sweets: (T) presumably — (336) 724-5663 Tart Sweets has closed temporarily.

Acadia Foods: (T) food only. Beer, wine and groceries still available as well. (336) 331-3251

Thai Harmony: (T, D) (336) 842-5532

Wingstop: (T, D) presumably — (336) 738-0129

Mozzarella Fellas: (T, D, C) — (336) 377-7179 New hours are 11-2/5-8. In-house delivery or online services.

Black Mountain Chocolate: (C) — (336) 293-4698

Taqueria Luciano: (D, T) — (336) 755-4782

Mary’s Gourmet Diner: (C) Fri thru Sunday 9 am-1 pm — (336) 723-7239

West End Poke and Burke Street Pizza: See this post.

The Porch, Alma Mexicana and Canteen Market: See this post. Only the Porch is doing takeout, now, including the take-and-bake.

Stoked and Social.: See this post.

Jeffrey Adams, Young Cardinal Cafe and Dogwood Hops and Crops: See this post.

Salem Organic Supply is offering FREE delivery within 25 miles of downtown WSNC and free shipping. — (336) 721-4367

Davie Tavern:  See this post.

West End Cafe: See this post.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill: 12:00 to 9:00 Monday-Thursday and 11:00 am to 10:00 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday for (T). Delivery (through Uber Eats/Door Dash) 4-9p customers are asked to stay in their cars. — (336) 831-0580

Jugghead’s Growlers & Pints: open 3-7 daily for Growler and sales from the fridge. Carry out only. — (336) 546-7754

Spruce Street Garden – Craft Tavern: See this post.

J and J Food Mart: (T, D, C) — (336) 283-9609.

Camino Bakery: See this post.

Mission Pizza Napoletana: See this post.

Camino Real Mexican Restaurant: (T, D) — (336) 923-0001 or (336) 210-9517

Camel City BBQ Factory: (T) 11-9 — (336) 306-9999

Ryan’s Restaurant: See this post.

Crafted – Art of the Taco: See this post. Crafted has halted ALL services, including their takeout and delivery service.

Milner’s American Southern: See this post.

Whitaker Square Pizza: See this post.

Moji Coffee and More: online sales, Swipeby and call ahead ordering, online takeout ordering! Gift cards available here. (336) 939-6654 Also… Grab-n-Go purchases of espresso and other coffee drinks, bagels, muffins, scones, sandwiches and more.

Village Juice: (D) through DoorDash, (C, T) — (336) 986-9402

Miss Ora’s Kitchen: 11-7 call ahead for curbside delivery. (336) 725-6257

Campus Gas: See this post.

DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant: See this post.

Mellow Mushroom: See this post.

Bobo’s Deli and Grill: See this post.

Real Q on Country Club: (T) — (336) 760-3457

Organix Juice Bar: See this post.

Cafe Vera Du: See this post.

La Botana: See this post.

Finnigan’s Wake: Closed 3/18 and 3/19. Takeout on Friday forward. (336) 723-0322. Opie says closed until regular business hours and services return.

To Your Health Bakery: (D, C) — (336) 618-5275

Zito Pizzeria and Grill: (T, D) M-Thur 11 am to 2:30 pm/5 pm to 8 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am to 3 pm/5 pm to 8:30 pm. (336) 765-9486

Happie Food: Delivery all day, every day. (336) 701-2911

Stonefield Cellars: Open for takeout wine only (they’ll carry it to your car, too). — (336) 644-9908

Bonefish Grill: (T, D) 1-9 every day for pickup or you can do grub hub or door dash. (336) 724-4518

Baked Just SO Bakery: See this post.

Corks Caps & Taps: See this post.

Foothills: (C, D) More details as they’re available.

Cracker Barrel: (T) (336) 712-9880 Clemmons.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar: (D) https://order.baddaddysburgerbar.com/

Diamondback Grill: (T, D) from 11:30pm-3pm and 5:30pm-7:30pm. Order from their scaled menu here. (336) 722-0006.

Katharine Brasserie and Bar: (T, C) Delivery could be soon, according to Erin Doby, F&B Manager (336) 761-0203 (note: Chef Adam said they are doing a truncated menu with lower price points).

Bib’s Downtown: (C, D) Use their website here or call (336) 722-0007.

Pacific Rim Food Truck: Truck… watch their Facebook and Instagram for where they may be. (336) 772-3051.

Food Freaks of NC Food Truck: Truck… watch their Facebook and Instagram for where they may be. (704) 299-1865.

Jimmy John’s: (C, D) Call ahead to have them come to the curb. The delivery app has a “leave at doorstep” option. Check your local listings for more details.

Krankie’s: (T) full-menu, coffee and bags of coffee. (336) 722-3016.

Honky Tonk Smokehouse: (T, D, C) 11:00-8:00, Tuesday – Saturday (336) 794-2270. Swipeby for (C) Take Out Central or Postmates for (D).

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill: (T, D) Enjoy 20% OFF ToGo with promo code 20TOGO on their website! DoorDash, UberEats or Postmates (D). (336) 659-3973

Goody’s Grill: (T, C) Curbside being a drive-thru. 336-765-3100

HakkaChow: (T) (336) 893-8178

Rooster’s – A Noble Grille: (T) — (336) 777-8477

Village Tavern (both Reynolda Village/Hanes Mall): (T, C) 15% off to go and 25% off bottles of wine. (336) 760-8686 (HM); (336) 748-0221 (RV).

Cloverdale Kitchen: (C) — (336)725-4701

Small Batch: 11-8:30pm food and growler fills. (336) 893.6395 (T, C through Swipeby, D through Uber Eats)

Mossy’s: (T, C) Via their website or (336) 766-7045.

Viva Chicken: (T, C) via their website or Viva Chicken App. (336) 607-5355.

Cugino Forno: (T, D) via their website or (336) 448-0102.

Fiddlin’ Fish Brewing: (T, C) online or (336) 999-8945

Forsyth Seafood Market and Cafe: (T) — (336) 748-0793

Greek Guy’s Grill: (C, T) Drive-thru. Call ahead pick up at the window. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, full menu. (336) 794-2545

HakkaChow Asian Eats: (T) — (336) 893-8178

Vincenzo’s: (D, T) — (336) 765-3707

West Coast Wanderer, Food Truck: Truck (303) 834-5984

Intown Donutz: (T, D) — (336) 331-3414

3 Layers Cakery: (T, D) — (336) 701-0510

Little Richard’s Barbecue: (C, D, T) All Locations — (336) 766-0401

Duck Donuts: (T, C) — (336) 893-5356

Bad Daddy Burger Bar: (T, D) — (336) 893-6456

Los Toritos Mexican Cuisine: (D, T) — (336) 829-5232 DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub

Status of Alma Mexicana, Canteen, The Porch, Burke Street Pizza, West End Poke and Social./Stoked

From the restaurants themselves:


The Porch, Canteen and Alma Mexicana

Starting today, we are officially closing our dining rooms at all of our restaurants for the time being.

However, we are continuing to operate in the following ways this week:

Dinners on the Porch Meal Delivery:
Our pre-order, prepared meals and grocery items will be delivered Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. We are sending our emails and posting the menu order form on our social media, so please make sure you are signed up for those emails and check our Facebook page to place your order. You can find out more information at www.dinnersontheporch.com.

The Porch:
Grab & Go with assorted grocery items (beer, wine, limited product, margarita mix, etc) for sale every day between 10 am – 8 pm. Items will be first-come, first-served and we have production teams working in multiple shifts, so there will be items being made throughout the day every day.

Porch Menu Items available for take-out and delivery. You can place those orders in person at The Porch, by calling us at (336)745-8300 or via our app, which you can find in the App Store by searching The Porch Kitchen & Cantina. At this time, will deliver between 4 pm and 8 pm only, so other orders will need to be picked up for the time being.

Canteen:
Our Market will be open this week from 12 pm to 6 pm.
Our Bistro is closed for the time being.

Alma Mexicana:
Alma is open for take-out only this week from 4 pm – 8 pm. You can place take-out orders in person or by calling (336)918-5605. Alma’s menu is available at www.almamexicanaws.com.

Update: Canteen and Alma have closed until further notice. The Porch is still offering take-and-bake and to go orders.

**

Burke Street Pizza, Quiet Pint and West End Poke (from Dave Hillman)

Burke Street Pizza will continue to have delivery and take-out available. We would appreciate it if you could order online when possible and pay with a credit card so less interaction will be needed. The original store is working towards setting up reserved parking so we can also have curbside take-out. www.Burkestreetpizza.com Thank you. Burke Street (336) 721-0011 Sherwood (336) 760-4888

West End Poke will be re-opening soon…very soon hopefully is NOW open (3/20/20),  with Delivery and Curbside take-out. Check out our website at www.Westendpoke.com to check out our menu or to order online. Visit us on Facebook for announcements regarding the reopening. (336) 842-3712

Quiet Pint will be closing at 5 pm on 3/17 until further notice.

**

Stoked & Social.

Owner Update: Good morning everyone! Social’s dining room will not be open this week. HOWEVER, we will be offering a few dishes and family-style meals beginning tomorrow. For purchasing/staffing etc, we ask that we get as many pre-orders as possible. You will be able to purchase via our website therefore no money & pens will have to be used. You will be welcome to pick up your items or we can deliver them. I will post our menu for the week later this afternoon. Please reach out to me via email if you have any special request for your family this week. If we have the product, we will happily try and prepare it. Our sister restaurant Stoked Woodfired Pub will be offering pick up and delivery as well. Thank you for staying home during this time. I hope that these measures truly help prevent the spread of this awful virus.

Erika & Jeff
Erika@socialsouthernkitchen.com

The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For

In May, I announced that I was embarking on a quest for the “best burger in Winston-Salem.” I declared it the “Summer of Burgers” and said I was looking for my top 10 burgers in town and would formulate a list from there. My wife and my doctor both grimaced when I said I was going to do this and I had to make promises as to the practice.

So, let’s review. I could only have three burgers a week with some green/healthier things in between. Toward the end of the summer, I had to have a few more to get the ones in that I needed to get in. I went to places that my readers, listeners and friends recommended. I tried to get every recommendation in but I didn’t achieve that, either by lack of funds available or just timing. A few of the burgers on the tour was sponsored by said listeners, readers and friends.

So, before I go any further, I want to thank those who did sponsor burgers for me. Daniel Butner, owner of Carrabba’s and our sponsor on this blog and podcast sponsored the Blarney Burger at Finnigan’s Wake and the burger at King’s Crab Shack. “Street Team” member, Steven McDowall sponsored the Boone Doggies trip and Thunder Road Grill burger. Steven Gallo sponsored the Krankie’s burger. My pal Jeff Davids sponsored both the Small Batch “Morning After” burger and Zesto’s “Chubby Decker” burger. Jason Cobb and Yamas! Mediterranean Street Food donated $50 for gas on the “tour.” Brandon Cassidy of Food Freaks, Chef Travis Myers of Willows Bistro, Chef David Swing of Sir Winston, Chef Antwan Hairston of Mac & Nelli’s, and my friend Dawn McDaniel with Bad Daddy’s did sponsor their own burgers. None of the sponsorship consideration influenced the correlating establishment’s standing in this list. No advantage was given for me not having to pay for them. That being said, thank you all so very much for your help and consideration in this very fun and delicious project.

Now, let’s get to the “housekeeping” stuff. I didn’t get to everyone. I just couldn’t. There is a burger in almost every restaurant, it seems. In some, those are the focus and in others, it’s just a menu placeholder. I tried to get to the ones that people were the most adamant about. I think I got most of them but just couldn’t get to all of them.

To be on this list the burgers had to be on the menu or at least mostly available. Specialty “off-menu” items or things that were made just to “wow” me are much appreciated but I couldn’t count that here. The biggest of these was Chef Travis’ first entry at Willows. Had I accepted that burger, it would have probably been top 3, but it was made for me, special, and not available all the time. Chef Swing at Sir Winston had a “special” burger that couldn’t be counted, as well, but it was darn good. In all, I had 34 burgers from 30 restaurants.

I kept a “journal” of the burgers that I had. It was a spreadsheet that I kept track of the name of the establishment, the name of the burger (if applicable), the amount of seasoning, the “doneness,” the juiciness of the burger, the type of bun and my thoughts on the burger itself.

I thought about breaking it down into “diner burgers” and “gourmet burgers.” Some have said it would be unfair to put a diner burger against a gourmet burger. I don’t see that as the case. I think it’s more unfair to impose some kind of “affirmative action” on burgers. Categorization is more of a problem than letting the burgers stand on their own, in my opinion. And that brings me to what I see as an important aspect of this list. This is my list. It’s not meant as a “readers’ choice” or a popularity contest. I respect the lists made in local publications but I feel it is just a popularity contest more than a true top list. I can’t compete with those lists and I don’t want to. I did take recommendations from others to get a broader knowledge of what is available to us. Burgers I either didn’t know or wouldn’t expect showed up and I am a better burger eater because of it. There were a lot of fantastic burgers on this list and some of your favorites will not make the top list. That doesn’t mean that those burgers that do not show up on the top list aren’t worth having. That’s not what this is about.

And it comes down to this, the list is about how I felt while eating these burgers. I love burgers and this list is representative of much joy.

So, to quote Marty DiBergi, “But hey, enough of my yakkin’; whaddya say? Let’s boogie!”

10. Small Batch

My pal, Jeff Davids sponsored this burger, which was us having a good lunch together in a place where burgers were prominent. I chose the “Morning After” burger. Yes, it’s a gourmet burger and was what I was in the mood for that day. This burger was a big patty with a fried egg, bacon, fries, pepper jack cheese and grilled onions on what I believe is a brioche bun. In addition to “Done” for doneness and “Very Good” for flavor/seasoning, my notes state: “Some of the juiciness comes from the egg, but still a very flavorful burger. Once you bite into it, you aren’t putting it down until it’s done because of that egg and the mess, but also because it’s a darned good burger.”

The Morning After from Small Batch

9. Maxburger

This was a late entry and I didn’t know much about it because it is kind of down in the boondocks (Old Salisbury/Hickory Tree Rd area). This was also my first “Juicy Lucy” even though I had heard that term a good bit. I had it with both Pepper Jack and American cheese, onion, tomato and while I usually leave off the lettuce on burgers, I forgot to order it that way, and really on a “diner burger,” that’s not a problem. I think it adds to the flavor. This was on a brioche bun.  It was a fantastic diner burger at that. Under the doneness and flavor/seasoning categories, both were listed as “perfect.” And, as the name states, it was juicy. Notes: “A really great burger which I had no expectations of. A surprise. The cheeses and fixings made this a delicious entry.”

Juicy Lucy from Maxburger

8. West End Cafe

Full disclosure, when I had the first burger from WEC just before the start of the burger tour, I was set to let that be the first one but it was a little disappointing. I talked with John, the GM of WEC and he said they had been having a bit of trouble with their grill. I told him that I was going to give him a “mulligan.” This was the only mulligan on this tour and only because I had it before the “tour” started. Now, also in full disclosure, I gave John a heads up that I was coming and he gave me recommendations, as I welcomed from all establishments (after all it is their entry). I paid for the burger and it wasn’t comped. Now, this was certainly a different burger. This was, for all intents and purposes, a burger and a half. This burger was a Hamburger Grinder with habanero jack/provolone cheeses, spinach, 1000 island and pickles. I forgot to add onions, but they weren’t needed. The cheesy/1000 island combo is one thing that made this burger a winner. It was a bit messy but delicious. “Perfect” for the doneness, and “very good” for the seasoning, the majority of the flavor came from the accouterments. Per John, “the most underrated sandwich on the menu.” Per me: “Basically 1.5 burgers, great flavors and great unique sandwich.”

Hamburger Grinder from West End Cafe

7. Cin-Cin Burger Bar

Another full disclosure moment: Cin Cin is owned by the Michael family who also owns Yamas! who did sponsor me in gas. Again, that has nothing to do with this burger’s merit which is what this is about. I had the “Speakeasy Deluxe” burger which is their “classic” burger. This is a gourmet burger that tastes like a diner burger. There is a great underlying onion flavor that I enjoy in diner burgers, this I counted in the “flavor/seasoning.” It was a very juicy burger, too. I do kind of wish that restaurants would get away from the brioche bun as the end-all-be-all of gourmet burgers, though. My notes: “A gourmet burger that tasted like a diner burger, onions-on-the-grill quality. A very good burger.”

The Speakeasy Deluxe from Cin-Cin

6. Canteen Market & Bistro

I will be honest and say that I had little expectations for this burger. I can’t explain why, either. This is a “Smashburger” with American cheese, grilled onions, tomato and 1000 Island on a bun. The burger was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The grilled onions made it more like a diner burger and I love that. The burger wasn’t a thing of aesthetic beauty but it was delicious. “Perfect” in both doneness and seasoning. My notes: “A fantastic burger. Pricey but the flavors were top notch with the grilled onions.” My only knock on Canteen isn’t a knock because I try to stay clear of opining on the prices of restaurants’ wares. That’s their business but my business what I pay. It was more than I’d expect to pay for a burger usually, but the flavors made it worth it.

“Smashburger” from Canteen Market & Bistro

 

SO! That’s 10-6. Now, for the Top 5 Burgers of Winston-Salem (ish).

5. Food Freaks of NC Food Truck

Brandon Cassidy sponsored this burger, but again, there was no bearing on the outcome for that. This was the only “actual” food truck that I got to, although there were a few that were on my “to do” list. This was also the first “official” burger of the tour on May 29. As I said in the Instagram post, “This is perhaps the messiest thing I’ve ever eaten but goodness! This is phenomenal.” It is the Wild Mexi burger which is andouille sausage stuffed into a double burger with jalapeno peppers, Muenster cheese and topped with a Sriracha chili mayo on Martin’s potato bun. This burger is huge and if you put it down, it would be all over everything. So, I recommend keeping a roll of paper towels near and don’t put it down until you’ve downed it. The flavors in this burger burst in your mouth and it’s juicy as all get out. Perfect in doneness. My notes (being my first entry): “What a burger should be.”

Wild Mexi from Food Freaks of NC

4. Zito Pizzeria and Grill

The biggest “didn’t see that coming” moment on this tour was when I ate the burger at Zito. It came as a recommendation and I was like, okay, let’s give it a shot. I had only eaten at Zito once and that was right after they re-opened. That was a pizza-kind of day. I sat down and looked over the menu. I decided I wanted a double burger and got it with cheese, onion, mayo and tomato. The flavors in this burger were amazing. It was juicy, seasoned perfectly and worthy of the #4 spot on my list. Doneness and flavor/seasoning was “perfect.” My notes: “Was pleasantly surprised at how good this burger was. Better once it cooled off a bit. Lots of flavor with no fluff.”

Double Cheeseburger from Zito Pizzeria and Grill

3. Social. Southern Kitchen & Cocktails

A beautiful chunk of filet, NY strip, ribeye and ground beef ground together into a delicious patty of perfection. “All that wonderful beef with mayo, American cheese, housemade pickled onions and housemade pickle chips on a brioche bun. Woot… and BAM!” I said on Instagram. The pickled onions were amazing. The pickle chips were also unlike I’ve had anywhere else. This could have easily been #1 on the list. “Perfect” in flavor and doneness. My notes: “A darn fine burger. Great seasoning and temperature. Made with filet, strip, ribeye and ground beef.” It is in a location far from where I usually go, but it was worth that “drive.”

Burger from Social. Southern Kitchen

2. Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream

Of course, this had to be on the top 10 list, right? You were probably looking for it earlier, huh? Well, there is undoubtedly no burger that gets as much public love from me than that of the “Chubby Decker” from Zesto. There is something about having this double burger with its 8-minute char, the mayo, ketchup, onion, tomato and melty American cheese that puts me in a great mood. It makes me happy. I love eating at Zesto, too. Algenon and his staff make it a great place to eat a delicious, always flavorful and juicy burger. Zesto is much more than its burgers but for this, the burger reigns supreme. At least at the #2 spot.

The Chubby Decker from Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream

And, then there’s #1…

1. Boone Doggies

If you notice throughout my writing of this post, I have mentioned Winston-Salem (ish) a time or two. Boone Doggies is not in Winston-Salem. Luckily for us all, it’s also not in Boone. It located in Yadkinville. Named for the fact that Drew Ausley, who started the Boone Doggies food truck graduated from Appalachian State University in, you guessed it, Boone. The truck focused on hot dogs, mainly. But, the time came to do something different and he opened a restaurant. The location is a true “greasy spoon”-type building and the dining room can get quite crowded. All that being said, you are completely remiss if you don’t make the drive there to have the burgers from this heavenly place. So, about the burger. Steven McDowall alerted me to this restaurant and took me there, and sponsored the tasting. It was an overall win-win for me. I was honored to taste not one. Not two. But three different burgers from Drew and company. I will say that these burgers were probably the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. Ever. First, we had the “Grandfather” which is their classic burger, named after Grandfather Mountain (a Boone reference). It’s a double burger with chopped onion, tomatoes, mayo and American cheese. Next was “The Rock” (another Boone reference): mayo, grilled onions they char in their homemade bbq sauce, bacon, and cheddar cheese. They even char the patty in the bbq sauce for a little something extra! Was it ever. The third is “The Peacock,” named after a chancellor at ASU that Drew had. It’s made with Papa Ausley’s homemade pimento, perfect bacon, tomato and mayo! Seared (and smashed) on the flattop and placed on a buttered toasted bun. I couldn’t pick a favorite of the three but why should I? I got to have all three at the same time. Thank you, Drew and thank you, Steven!

“The Grandfather” from Boone Doggies

“The Peacock” by Boone Doggies

“The Rock” from Boone Doggies

 

 

 

So, here you have it. MY Top 10 Burgers of WSNC (ish). I want to thank all the restaurants for their contributions to the tour and even if they didn’t make the top 10, they all are worth a try. You can’t know how incredibly hard it was to leave anything off this top list. Except for about three places, any of these could have made this list. Thank you to Mac & Nelli’s, Willows Bistro, Campus Gas, Sir Winston, North Point Grill, PB’s Takeout, King’s Crab Shack, Crafted, Earl’s, Allen’s Dairy Treats, Quiet Pint, Trade Street Diner, Mooney’s, Bad Daddy’s, Thunder Road Grill, Krankies, Mozelle’s, the Katharine and New Yorker Pizza Pasta and Wings for your burgers. My apologies to Burger Supreme, Jeffrey Adams, Athena Taverna, Hot Dog City and Sweet Potatoes for not getting to you.

It was a long-yet-short summer. It was a great burger summer. It was great eating great burgers with great friends. Let’s just say it was all great. I know some of yours didn’t make the list. I know some of you don’t agree with this list. But, that’s okay. Convince me otherwise. Tell me about your top list. Tell me the ones you like I left off. Tell me why you don’t agree with the list. I love the conversation and I love the interaction.

Now, I’m off to finding the next “tour” to take. What’re your recommendations on that?

As always, thank you for reading and thank you for listening!

Bon appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 127

©Fam Brownlee

In Episode #127 proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

Tim and Ray talk about:

  • Tim announces his Top 10 Burgers in WSNC (ish)! Will your favorite make the cut?
  • Chef Pam Cager opens 3 Layer Cakery tomorrow, October 1 on Liberty Street.
  • Carrabba’s and Daniel Butner involved in a lot of cool things around town and Daniel being a “steward of the community.”
  • Tim will be judging a chili/stew cookoff at The Big Sip, presented by Piedmont Local Magazine/336 Events, this Saturday, on October 5. More details including purchasing tix here.
  • Hot Dog Tasting Trolley Tour is rescheduled for this Saturday, October 5. You can purchase discounted tix using the code “Man5” on this link.
  • 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 117

In Episode #117 proudly produced at The Lab at Industry Hill:

The first-ever remote recording or The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast live from Yamas Mediterranean Street Food!

Tim and Ray talk about:

  • Jason and Mia from Yamas hang with us for the entire podcast, talking about Mediterranean food, Yamas, the Michael family and more.
  • Rumors of a new “food hall” in the Sentinel Commons building.
  • Salem’s Biffles are finally at Canteen Market & Bistro.
  • Pan Goo in danger of closing.
  • Sweet Aromaz will close soon.
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

DiLisio’s Italian Family Restaurant Italian food like you’re sitting, eating in Naples. Wonderful Italian dishes from traditional spaghetti and lasagna to contemporary delights. Rich, flavorful sauces, a variety of pasta options, seafood, meat and more. Just south of Downtown and Business 40 (SOB40).

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!