I had the opportunity to eat lunch with one of my very good friends today and when discussing where we were going to meet, I suggested that we go to the new Greg Carlyle vehicle, Local 27101, the former Millennium Artisan Restaurant.
The idea behind Local 27101 is that the food is locally sourced (no, not from the 27101 zip code, necessarily) so that it’s fresh. It’s supposed to be fast and reasonably priced. Greg said, “the people downtown are looking for a fast, $5 burger,” and this exactly that. The menu has many things from the aforementioned burgers (make it a double for just $2 more), po boys, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, salads (Cobb, Caesar, add a protien, etc) and so on. Sides include crinkle cut fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings. You can add on to your burger with avocado, an over-easy egg, bacon, or caramelized onions.
The Local Burger is a quarter pounder with lettuce, tomato, “local sauce,” which isn’t quite 1000 Island but is beyond mayonnaise, and muenster cheese. Another nice touch is the top bun is branded with the logo from Local 27101. I had one with an extra patty, hold the lettuce. The homegrown tomato along with the local sauce made the bread a little soggy as the tomato was really ripe, but it didn’t detract from the burger. You want the burger to be juicy without being wet, save the tomato, it wasn’t wet, it was cooked just right. I think the only thing it was missing was a few dill chips on it.I also had the onion rings with it, which if you know me, you know I don’t like onions, but oddly enough, I can eat onion rings, when they’re good. There’s a good batter on the rings and weren’t overly greasy which is all too common with onion rings from many places. My pal had his a single without the tomato but with lettuce along with crinkle fries. The fries looked to be topped with herbs that are grown in the windows around the restaurant (so there are some things that are local to 27101). The flavors, to me, were exactly what I was looking for good meat, great cheese the sauce was tangy. Again, I could have done without some of the moist bun from the tomatoes but that’s okay, the flavor was worth it.
The restaurant itself is a lot of brown and natural wood with each window adorned with herbs to be used in the restaurant. The slat work accentuates the bar area. A very large menu is stuck to the wall and the chalkboard was being decorated as we walked in. They have beer, wine and are formulating a drink menu. How the whole thing works is: you walk in, stop by the counter where the bar is, order your food, get a buzzer, scope your seat and wait for the buzzer. When it buzzes you go to the counter and pick up your silver tray. The bump in the road for me is when you want a refill you have to either jump in front of people at the order counter to get the order taker to refill it or alert someone else to do it, or you have to wait until someone notices you’re there and waiting. We did wait for a bit, but not too long. Another thing is that they serve the burger with the bun already on the burger. I know it’s an aesthetic thing but the presentation would be better if the top bun was off to the side. We often eat with our eyes and it would make the burger even more attractive; but that’s no deal killer They have a few kinks in the system to work out but I think that Greg finally has something on his hands that will be a boon for him, for the downtown lunch crowd and the downtown foodies and their searches for a good and affordable burger.
For now, they’re open only for lunch but sometime in September, probably after Labor Day, they will also be open during the evening, keeping the current (and presumably constantly modified) lunch menu as well as some dinner options. Greg also said to expect a “true blue plate special.” You can get your own $5 fast burger at Local 27101 which is located at 310 W 4th Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Their website and Facebook pages show the menu to get your ready to experience the good food. It’s good, it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s Local 27101.