Restaurant News January 13, 2017

I have already done a podcast this week and this info all came out after that, or at least I heard about it after. I figured it was better to give you the info now instead of waiting because time is of the essence.

We, the foodie community, were presented with a press release from the Honey Pot restaurant’s owner, Beau Tate. The press release reads as follows:

Friends, guests, and partners

It’s with a heavy heart that I share this news, but Saturday March 4th will be our last dinner service at The Honey Pot. This ride has been nearly three years long and we have consistently been humbled by the warm reception that we’ve received from the Winston Salem dining community. Our tables have been filled with friends and supporters who share in our endeavor: to showcase the amazing food that’s produced or grown in the Triad, to drink well in good company, and to celebrate life. Unfortunately, the financial end of this endeavor is a tough one. We’ve spent the last year making changes to keep the pulse alive but unfortunately our efforts have fallen short. We’re really proud of the food that we’ve put across the table and the memories that have been created at The Honey Pot. It has been an honor and privilege to welcome you through our doors, and it’s bitterly disappointing to know that it’s drawing to a close.

I couldn’t be more proud of the team that we’ve grown over the years and the work that they’ve collectively accomplished. THP has been built brick by brick through staff contributions, learning, and personal growth that our team has shared with guests on a daily basis. It’s a source of great personal pride for all of us and has been the most rewarding facet of my career to date. To anybody looking for employees with a diamond work ethic and an amazing passion for taking care of people, these are your folks. Call them, or call me and I’ll put you in touch with them.

To the growers and producers with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working, you all are a local treasure. Your dedication to producing the highest quality product in an ethical and sustainable manner is a source of inspiration and is changing Winston Salem’s relationship with food. Day by day you’re showing us that it is possible to make a life by working the land, and you’re living the change we hope to see in the world. We commend you and are deeply sorry not to be able to purchase your food in a professional capacity on an on-going basis, but we look forward to seeing you often at market.

Most importantly, thank you to our guests who have chosen to spend your hard-earned money and moreover your time at The Honey Pot. You’ve made it a special journey and there are no words sufficient to express the gratitude that we feel for your support. We’d love to see each of your faces over the coming weeks for a final meal at THP and a hug before we begin our next chapter. Until March 4th we’ll be doing what we love to do: putting forth food with heart and enjoying you all enjoying yourselves. There will most certainly be a celebration of everything that we’ve accomplished at THP at some point in the near future so stay tuned. If you’re unable to make it in before our last service please come visit at Tate’s and we can reminisce over a cocktail.

So, if you’re a fan of Honey Pot, you have until March 4 to enjoy it. It’s sad to see things close. I know a lot of people enjoyed the restaurant. I’ll admit that Stephanie and I haven’t been there since Chef Harrison Littell arrived on the scene and I know he’s top notch, but it was never a place that we wanted to eat. We tried a few times and weren’t impressed. Again, that was a while back and I do want to get there before they close because I want to get more acquainted with Chef Harrison’s cooking. You can get by there before they close by visiting 285 W 4th Street in WSNC. Good luck to all involved in their future endeavors.

In other news, I haven’t confirmed this, yet, but it seems that King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar is set to be franchised. Will and I are friends and we talk about food, but he hasn’t mentioned this to me. When I talk to him I can get the details and report more on it. But, I think it’s pretty cool that the place is doing well enough, and have the reputation to expand. I believe they’ll stick close to the area and let them all in the awesomeness that is King’s Crab Shack. Again, as I know more, you’ll know more. I’ll keep you informed. Currently, the only location is at 239 W 4th Street in WSNC. I recommend just about everything on the menu. Congratulations to Will and Norb, if this is true.

Thanks for reading!

Willow’s Bistro and King’s Crab Shack Get a New Sibling

By Timothy G. Beeman II

Will Kingery and Norb Cooper, Jr, the ownership team of King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar and Willow’s Bistro, have signed papers to take over Silo Deli, Wine & Cheese at Reynolda Village.

Fans of Silo needn’t worry. While things will change, they will only change for the better. Not that things weren’t already good. Chris Barnes, the establishment’s owner until now, did a first-rate service to Reynolda Village by bringing the bistro aspect in and they gathered a lot of frequent clients from it.  Will said he wants to expand on that concept.


Will Kingery

“A lot of locals love what is on the menu and they do a great job and have an amazing kitchen staff and front of house staff, too.  We’re going to add staff so we have better service and (be) faster in the kitchen. More ideas for menu items and daily specials, and have more ingredients for the chefs to play with,” Kingery said.

I asked Will if he planned to keep true to the menu that Silo has been known for. “Oh yeah, we’re gonna have fun paninis. Simple stuff like turkey and havarti sandwiches, french dips, etc.” Something I didn’t know (because I’m not a chef, I just play one in my kitchen, sometimes), there is no hood system in the kitchen. Will continues, “the challenge is there’s no hoods. So, there’s no stoves, no grills. Everything that’s created there is created in a small convection oven and a panini press. So you have to be innovative and creative to pump food out of there and the chefs that have been there have done a great job of it.”

Service has been a point of contention from those Will has asked about Silo. He went on, “It does have a good following and in talking to customers around town: they love the location and the idea of it, their biggest frustration is the service. They feel like there could have been a couple more servers on and the food could get out to them a little quicker. That’s two of the big things we’re going to focus on. Just constantly being better than yesterday.”

When I asked Will how the whole deal came about, he said that Barnes was ready to get out of the restaurant business and Reynolda Village approached them about taking over the space. They negotiated a good price, Barnes agreed and Will and Cooper then took over the space. Reynolda Village has plans for the entire area to be more creative.  In fact, Cooper is opening a beta salon in the old Ringmasters. Will also said that Wake Forest University, owner of the Reynolda Village and Reynolda House Art Museum, has allotted funds for renovation ideas and infrastructure for the area in the future.

Another “coming soon” feature is the opening of a full bar, a complete ABC license.  The interview that I conducted with Will was, indeed, on the phone whilst he and Cooper were on their way back from Raleigh, securing the license. “We have the ability to sell everything,” he said.

Confirming that Corks and Taps is not part of Silo, Will did say this: “We may look into it in the future, but with us putting a full bar in Silo, we’re going to concentrate on that and our other two businesses and we’re going to make sure that everyone is solid and taken care of. If there is a need for another bar, if the demand is there, we’ll definitely explore that option.”

Prepackaged food will be one of the things that is available. Grab-and-go type items like sandwiches and sides are going to be a benefit for both the hurried and rushing customers or those who just want to lounge around the grounds. “If you want to hop in and get a cold wrap real quick, a simple turkey wrap, some chips or a cup of fruit, it’s already ready, you don’t have to wait on the kitchen. Have a bottle of wine with a couple of glasses and go out into Reynolda Village and have a little picnic. Return your glasses please,” he says with a chuckle.

On the Willow’s and King’s Crab Shack front, they have a little shuffling of chefs. “I moved some chefs around. My old chef at Willow’s stepped down to take care of his family more and one of my other chefs, Jamie Cline (Klein?), former executive chef of Sapona Country Club and Lexington Country Club, stepped up.  I took my sous chef from Willow’s and put him in at King’s Crab Shack because they needed a strong leader and were doing good numbers. We felt that was a good move. King’s quality and service and speed will be stepped up as well, now.”

Will knows the keys to his success and he tells me why, outright. “The key is good people.  I’m only a tiny part of it.  It’s the chefs, the waitresses, the hostesses… the dishwashers. Dishwashers are the key to the restaurant. It sounds insane but if you work or own a restaurant and the dishwasher walks out, you have a whole new respect for them.”

Will gets his people and Winston-Salem gets Will and Norb Cooper. They get their expertise. They get benefit of fantastic food and fantastic eateries. I have a feeling we’re seeing more and more of the iceberg emerge, not just the tip. Silo Deli, Wine & Cheese is located at 114 D Reynolda Village, Winston-Salem. (336) 608-4359.