The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 218a – A Supplement Podcast

Tim talks about the impending closing of Finnigan’s Wake and what the restaurant/bar means to this city, the community, THIS PODCAST, and to him personally. No crowd noise. No background music. Just the intro/outro and Tim.

Slàinte mhath, Finnigan’s Wake.

Finnigan’s Wake to close for good Oct. 30

This is a reprint of the Winston-Salem Journal article, it is not mine, I don’t own it. Michael is my cohost and he wrote it for the Journal. Here is the original article. I just wanted the copyright issue out of the way.

Finnigan’s Wake, a mainstay bar and restaurant downtown for 15 years, has announced it will close permanently on Oct. 30.

Owner Philip “Opie” Kirby” posted an announcement on the business’ Facebook page on Monday.

“It’s been an amazing 15 years. One-third of my life has been in this space that you helped create. People make the place and we’ve been blessed with the best staff and customers. Y’all have always stepped up and made our events, fundraisers, and community outreach your own. Your generosity has multiplied over the years to make Winston Salem a better place to live.”

Finnigan’s Wake, 620 Trade St., was one of the first restaurants in the Downtown Arts District, opening in 2006. It celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct. 6.

Like many restaurants this year, Finnigan’s Wake had reduced its hours — in particular eliminating Sunday brunch — as a result of the labor shortage that has affected many industries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kirby said in an email that the decision to close was not related to the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve stayed steady thanks to our amazing community,” he said.

Instead, Kirby, 47, said he personally was ready for a change. “It’s time for me to do something different after this many years in the business. Looking for a new adventure,” he said.

Finnigan’s Wake was known for its big St. Patrick’s Day parties, as well its annual fundraisers for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in which hundreds of people would get their heads shaved outside the restaurant to help raise money for pediatric cancer research. This fall’s fundraiser raised $50,000.

But, perhaps most of all, Finnigan’s was known for its unassuming owner, who always had a smile for everyone and was known for posting positive, supportive sayings on social media.

Some of his Facebook messages include:

“Don’t fill the space with the first person who fits. Fill the space with the right person who fits.”

“You have more bounce to the ounce. Don’t ever forget it!”

“Gratitude is good.”

His most recent one, on Saturday: “Walk your path.”

Kirby said he didn’t quite know what his future path will be. But he definitely wants to do some volunteering.

 

Touring from the Home Kitchen (Recipes) – Mauritius – Seafood Rougaille

Mauritian cuisine is, typically, a borrowed method of cooking, borrowed cultures, and adapted over years of French, Indian, British, Chinese, and African occupation and habitation. Mauritian dishes are not too spicy, by default, but can be modified to be as spicy as you’d like. On our trip, especially this being the first “trip” we took on the Country Spinner, we went with three dishes, Cheese Fritters, Ojja, and Rougaille. I’m going to split them throughout different posts as to not overwhelm you with text and make it difficult to follow. Also, I’m going to tell you what I messed up on or did very well in true transparency. This is really more of an experiment than how to do everything right. I did mess up some things. We worked around it.

Seafood Rougaille

Here we go…


Prawn rougaille (roo-GUY) is a Mauritian dish that is usually cooked with king prawns in a rougaille sauce. What does that mean? Well, rougaille is a Creole dish that is tomato-based with incredibly rich flavors thanks to the combination of spices used. Rougaille is a traditional dish that is handed down from generations before so recipes will vary from generation to generation. That’s okay. What I made is a Creole-style dish that I made “my own.” This was one of my favorite dishes that I’ve made.

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cups tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1-4 Red or green chilies chopped (according to your heat preference)**
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 2 thyme sprigs (leaves only)
  • 1 bell pepper (thinly sliced)*
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of diced pineapple (drained)
  • 1 pound extra-large peeled and de-veined shrimp
  • 1/2 pound of cod (or other firm but delicate white fish)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  1. In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the onion and half the garlic and fry until golden.
  3. Pour in 1/2 the wine to soften the onion then add in the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes over high heat then reduce to simmer.
  4. Stir in the cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and white pepper and drizzle a bit more olive oil.
  5. Add in the parsley, chili, bell pepper, thyme, and pineapple, and remove from heat after just a few minutes.
  6. In another frying pan, heat up a little more oil and fry the remaining garlic until fragrant. Add in the shrimp and cod, season with salt and black pepper, and cook for two minutes.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the remaining wine.
  8. Add the seafood into the rougaille and stir through the fresh cilantro.
We served it on top of couscous, which is popular throughout Africa. Enjoy!

*I used 1/3 each red, orange, and yellow pepper. I don’t like green bell peppers.
**I used just one serrano pepper, seeded and chopped. Use more for more heat.


If you make this recipe, please let me know how it turned out and I’d love to see some pictures. Either email me or hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Thank you for reading!!

Touring from the Home Kitchen (Recipes) – Mauritius – Ojja

Mauritian cuisine is, typically, a borrowed method of cooking, borrowed cultures, and adapted over years of French, Indian, British, Chinese, and African occupation and habitation. Mauritian dishes are not too spicy, by default, but can be modified to be as spicy as you’d like. On our trip, especially this being the first “trip” we took on the Country Spinner, we went with three dishes, Cheese Fritters, Ojja, and Rougaille. I’m going to split them throughout different posts as to not overwhelm you with text and make it difficult to follow. Also, I’m going to tell you what I messed up on or did very well in true transparency. This is really more of an experiment than how to do everything right. I did mess up some things. We worked around it.

Here we go…


Ojja (oh-zjuh) is originally a Tunisian (northern Africa, Mediterranean coast) dish.  It’s made from eggs, known for its ease of preparation. simple and fast, and super tasty! While Ojja is often eaten with bread, we chose a large-scale cracker. Also, the recipes I found all called for Merguez sausage, a lamb sausage. No one around here (Winston-Salem, NC) had those, so we went with chorizo instead, trying to keep the Mediterranean vibe.

  • 4 chorizo sausages cut into sections
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree (I took 1 tbsp of tomato paste and diluted it with a little bit of water. Still thick but manageable)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway
  • Harissa (a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste) – use to taste or not at all, your preference
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 fresh tomato, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces water
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced ​​or diced, I always use red, orange, or yellow, green bell peppers are too bitter
  • 2-4 eggs
  • Parsley (for garnish)
  1. In a pan pour olive oil, the chopped onion, and the crushed garlic and fry for a few minutes then add the tomato puree and the harissa and simmer for a few minutes then add the fresh tomato cut into small dice, chorizo, and spices.
  2. Add salt and pepper and simmer for ten minutes on low heat then add water.
  3. When the chorizo has cooked, add the pepper.
  4. When the sauce becomes a little thick, break the eggs on top of the mixture. Cook for ten minutes without simmering (cover if you want hard-boiled eggs).
  5. Ensure that every portion has its own egg to break over the dish.
  6. Finally decorate with parsley and serve with good bread, lavosh, or crackers.

If you make this recipe, please let me know how it turned out and I’d love to see some pictures. Either email me or hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Touring from the Home Kitchen (Recipes) – Mauritius – Cheese Fritters

Mauritian cuisine is, typically, a borrowed method of cooking, borrowed cultures, and adapted over years of French, Indian, British, Chinese, and African occupation and habitation. Mauritian dishes are not too spicy, by default, but can be modified to be as spicy as you’d like. On our trip, especially this being the first “trip” we took on the Country Spinner, we went with three dishes, Cheese Fritters, Ojja, and Rougaille. I’m going to split them throughout different posts as to not overwhelm you with text and make it difficult to follow. Also, I’m going to tell you what I messed up on or did very well in true transparency. This is really more of an experiment than how to do everything right. I did mess up some things. We worked around it. I will say that I can’t find any pictures that I took of this recipe and I realize that sucks. I think I have everything else, though. This picture is from someone else. I don’t know who but it isn’t my picture.

(not my picture)

Here we go…


Cheese fritter is a snack that Mauritians like to consume during picnics or other occasions. It is also very popular during the month of Ramadan, probably because you can premake the batter and do these really quick after sunset.

These Cheese Fritters came out a little overdone because I had the oil too hot, I think. The lesson was learned and the next time (and there will be a next time) I will make sure to have a candy thermometer or similar to make sure the oil is at a good temperature. One thing, we looked for chickpea flour instead of regular wheat flour as chickpea flour (or more precisely, bessan powder for the recipe) is what the Mauritians use.

  • 3 cups chickpea flour
  • 1 pinch of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 chopped serrano peppers, seeded
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives*
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Cubes of cheese**
  • Oil
  1. Pour chickpea flour, salt, pepper, cumin, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl and mix everything well.
  2. Gradually pour your water in until you get a very soft and consistent paste. Don’t just dump the water in. Mix vigorously, adding more water if necessary, then leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour coriander, peppers, onions, and chopped chives into the batter and mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat your saucepan or pot over medium heat and pour in the oil.
  5. One at a time, add the cheese cubes to the batter, using a tablespoon to cradle it (so you don’t lose it in the batter) but making sure it is completely coated by the batter.
  6. Dip the battered cubes into the oil and brown for about 2 minutes or just before the cheese starts oozing from the crisping batter.
  7. Let drain before serving.

*If you don’t have fresh chives, you can use dried, but I’ve found that fresh has a brighter flavor.
** Use a good melting cheese. We used Dubliner and that was not a good melting cheese. You want one that melts but also keeps its consistency. I suggest a fontina, gouda (smoked or otherwise), mozzarella, or gruyere. And, if you have some pimento cheese sitting around, roll some in a ball and use that, I think that would be good.


If you make this recipe, please let me know how it turned out and I’d love to see some pictures. Either email me or hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Thank you for reading!!

Mr. Barbecue to Finally Re-Open Its Doors on March 15

©Walt Unks/WSJournal

The heck with the Ides of March! Winston-Salemites or as I like to call them Camel Citizens, will finally be getting their BBQ Mecca back on Monday, March 15 when Jimmy Carros reopens the famed restaurant almost two years after the fire that gutted part of the building. Thankfully, when that fire happened on April 10, 2019, during prime dinner service, everyone got out and no one was injured. The restaurant has been open and serving delicious “Q” since 1962.

To find out more, visit their Facebook page or their website. I will talk more about this on Monday’s podcast!

Those We’ve Lost

2020 was a bad year for everyone, but especially the Food & Beverage Community.

Here’s a list of those that have closed since the pandemic started. The dates are the dates of the posted announcements (if known). Not all restaurants closed because of the pandemic, necessarily, but it certainly didn’t help matters. This list will update as needed.

Bib’s Downtown – Dec 31, 2020
Bonefish – June 23, 2020
Cafe Vera Du – Oct 17, 2020
Carmine Italian Restaurant – Sept 15, 2020
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – May 18, 2020
Cimarron Steakhouse – August 26, 2020
Corks Caps & Taps – August 24, 2020
Dr. Chops – September 24, 2020 (Closed since March 2020)
Lighthouse Grill – September 17, 2020
Mary’s Gourmet Diner – May 25, 2020 (Closed since March 14, 2020)
Miyako Japanese Restaurant – January 1, 2021 (Sold and changed to a chain)
Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe – October 12, 2020 (Closed since March 2020)
Mozzarella Fellas – January 1, 2021 (Rebranded to Dom’s on Spruce Street)
Organix Juice Bar – November 2, 2020
Paul’s Fine Italian Dining – July 1, 2020
Providence at BB&T – May 29, 2020
Ruby Tuesday in Clemmons – August 11, 2020 (Closed since March 2020)
Silo – March 31, 2020 (Turned keys in long before the announcement)
Social Southern Kitchen & Cocktails – January 2, 2021
Spruce Street Garden – Craft Tavern – October 30, 2020
Tart Sweets – October 22, 2020
The Beer Growler – December 14, 2020 (Closed since September 2020)
The Slanted Shed – October 18, 2020
Trade Street Diner – July 1, 2020 (Closed since March 2020/rebranded Cibo)
West End Coffee House – August 31, 2020
Zesto’s Burgers & Ice Cream – Official date unknown.

Wild Willie’s Wiener Wagon – Moved to Myrtle Beach September 2020
Twin City Hive – Moved to Gibsonville August 22, 2020 (and have since closed again).
The Flour Box is closed temporarily in search of a new location (late February 2020).

Take-Out Pledge Winston-Salem

I have taken the #TakeOutPledgeWS and pledge to support local businesses. Some are only doing downtown but I think all businesses in WSNC need some push. Here’s a video to explain more.

Take the pledge with me!

Broad Branch Distillery Introduces Winston-Salem’s Own New Bourbon

According to the Broad Branch Distillery Facebook page:

An exciting announcement — Winston Salem FINALLY has its own bourbon arriving next week! We can’t wait to introduce you to Big Winston Bourbon.
This initial release is a 4-year single barrel low rye straight bourbon coming in at 85 proof. It boasts a great balance of spicy and sweet, with notes of tea, vanilla, tart cherries, baking spices, and pistachios.
For the time being, bottles will ONLY be available for purchase at the distillery starting on Saturday, January 23. The first 100 commemorative bottles – each one signed by Broad Branch owner John Fragakis – will be available for sale on our website starting Jan 18 (Monday) with curbside pickup beginning that same day at noon.
Mark your calendars to come to grab a bottle in person on Saturday the 23rd or grab a signed bottle online on the 18th.
This barrel WILL sell out fast.

We will have Daniel Spivey, the Head of Brand Development with Broad Branch Distillery this coming Monday. Tune in to hear more!

Bib’s Downtown Closes Today

We held out hope that one of our downtown food staples, Bib’s Downtown, would find a buyer and continue on. It seems that’s not to be. This is reposted from Michael Hastings’ article in the Winston-Salem Journal, it’s not mine.

©Bibs


Bib’s Downtown, 675 W. Fifth St., has decided to permanently close. Its last day of business will be Thursday.

In mid-December, the owners announced that they were negotiating to sell the business. They expressed confidence that the sale would go through, saying they needed only to finalize details and they expected a seamless transition.

But in a statement Tuesday, co-owner Robert Moreau said that the sale did not go through as planned.

“We have had ongoing talks with potential buyers over the last year,” Moreau said. “Despite favorable lease rates, buyers just weren’t able to get past the uncertainty of what the pandemic holds for 2021 and 2022.”
Bib’s opened in December 2008, a partnership between Moreau, chef Mark Little and Little’s son-in-law Ricky Seamon. The restaurant quickly became a popular destination downtown, offering what Little called neither Eastern nor Western barbecue but “Bestern.”

The restaurant sold a variety of smoked meats, including pulled pork, ribs, Texas-style beef brisket, smoked sausage, and smoked turkey breast and chicken.

The restaurant participated in many community events and won awards at such festivals at [sic] the Twin City Rib Fest. Little and Seamon competed on the show TLC show “BBQ Pitmasters” in 2013.

Moreau said that the restaurant’s lease was up at the end of 2020 and that it had suffered from the closing of Business 40 in 2019, and from the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

“What really hurt us is what we do is 20% or more catering and that vanished by decree,” Moreau said, referring to the lack of gatherings during the pandemic. “We could wait nine or 10 months, and maybe people will be throwing some big parties. But with the timing of the end of the lease, it just didn’t make sense.”
In a post on its Facebook page, Moreau said the closing was a hard decision. “Winston-Salem, our hometown, needs to know that their support of Bib’s has been nothing short of amazing. A huge thank you to all.”


Thank you again to the Winston-Salem Journal and Michael Hastings.

This is sad news. They plan to be open today until 4p or until their supplies run out. Here’s to you, Mark, Robert, and Ricky, and may the next steps be full of heart and prosperity.