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.


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.

The Man Who Ate the Town Minute (or Two)

Things are happening in this city, food and otherwise, at breakneck speed. It’s really hard to cover it all. We do the podcast once a week and with that, we’re taking the next two off from recording.

Let me cover some stuff.

Bar La Ch.ngada had mentioned they were going to partner with Xcaret (which is owned by the same folks) to offer food options. Then the Governor’s orders came through and they decided to pull back on that. Then, they announced, again, that they were back on! So, they’re back on! New hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 4p-10p and Sundays 1030a-9p. They are closed on Sundays. These hours effective Thursday, December 17.

Local 27101/Artisan has officially changed their name and logo to Local Artisan. We had Greg Carlisle on the podcast a few weeks back for him to announce this and yesterday they unveiled the new logo. I like it. It’s simple, sleek, and easy to read. If you haven’t had this restaurant in a while, it’s still as good as it ever was (better, even) and whether you’re doing the lunch (27101) thing or the dinner (Artisan) thing, you’ll love it. Congrats, Greg, on the rebranding!

Arigato Japanese Steakhouse and Seafood has announced that it will take takeout orders up until 9p in GSO but their WSNC location isn’t doing takeout just yet. They are also selling gift certs/cards on their website but that website is currently (1030a on Wednesday) being repaired.

La Carreta on Robinhood has implemented QR codes for menus. I think this is great. I like that other restaurants have basically laminated a large QR code and put them on the table and people don’t have to handle grody menus. I will admit, though, that I have some trouble reading them, even on my Samsung S10+. But, I’m willing to take that inconvenience, especially in these times, with keeping both Stephanie and me and other folks safe. Good job, La Carreta (and other establishments doing this).

This one hurts. Social. Southern Kitchen is closing for good. This place was great. Granted I only ate there twice, once for my “Summer of Burgers Tour 2019” and another just for appetizers, but the folks were great, the food delicious, the atmosphere perfect. It was just all-around great. Now, why didn’t I eat there more? It takes me around 20-30 minutes to get there from my house. That’s an hour round trip and if we have any alcohol at all, we don’t want to have to drive that and Uber is way too expensive that far away. So, it was special occasions that got me out there.

Here is what the public announcement said:

Jeff and I have worked together in restaurants since March of 2000.
20 years of
~ Behind!
~ Heard!!
~ We 86’d that an hour ago!!!
Let us not forget the priceless sound of $5 wine glasses hitting the floor. 🤬
Oh how we love the sounds. 🥰
The sounds of plates clinking
Cooks singing..
The end of the night LAUGHS with our staff after literally climbing out of the weeds for hours.
The SOUNDS of our guest laughing over a delicious meal with their friends and family.
The SOUND of glasses clinking in celebrations, belly laughs that would fill a room.
You could hear the bear HUGS and huge smiles…
The delight Chef would get when he’d come out of the kitchen. Witnessing that first bite. Then your guest shares a bite, because “this is too damn good for you not to try”
That is why we have AND WILL ALWAYS be restauranteurs!
It is with huge sadness that we would like to share our closing in January. We are leaving the door open to be able to do what we love in the future and want you to know We LOVE Winston Salem!
We will still offer both catering and private chef events until the coast is clear of Covid.
There are very few OWNER operated restaurants who do it for the money, not with these profit margins!!
We do it for all the reasons listed above and when the celebrations of food and life pause, we must pause as well…
This too shall pass… and we hope to be back in the culinary scene, before you know it.
Thank you for all the love and support Winston! We love you dearly…
Erika and Jeff Gibbs
We have found a GREAT concept to take the space, and we know they will offer fabulous to-go options and eventually dine-in service later this winter.

Thanks for reading my The Man Who Ate the Town Minute (or Two).

Arigato Japanese Steak & Seafood Updates Their Hours During the New Executive Order

Arigato Japanese Steakhouse posted this scheduling update on their Facebook page:
Hello~ announcing some updates regarding the Executive Order that starts tomorrow.
– last reservation time we’ll be taking each day will be 8:30 pm.
– we’ll be opening 30 minutes earlier each day. ( new opening times will be Mon-Fri 4:30 pm, Sat & Sun 2:30 pm)
– takeout @ Greensboro location will take orders until 9 pm.

6th and Vine to Close Until Spring

6th and Vine reposted this from owner Kathleen Barnes:

6th and Vine is grateful for a fantastic outdoor dining season! And, while we’ve extended our “outdoor only” model as long as possible, with temperatures falling, and Covid cases rising, it’s growing difficult to make ends meet. But, we will still be open, this THURSDAY, through SUNDAY, from 11 am to 9 pm. So, please come visit, and support us, before we begin our hibernation.
WE WILL BE BACK … probably in late February or early March!!
On a personal note: the members of my staff have stood beside me with amazing support, love, and laughter, this whole time! They have made the stress fun, instead of debilitating. I have NEVER worked harder in my life (in the restaurant, and as a full-time college professor – online, of course!) It’s been 7 days a week, most hours of the day or night (when I can’t sleep).
6th and Vine has been fortunate, this summer and fall. We love our regular customers/friends, and we’ve made quite a few more this summer!! Come out Thursday or Sunday for ½ price wine; raise a glass in our honor; and celebrate with us ….
TIP your servers!! They’ve more than earned it!
A huge shout out to Patrick Read Johnson (my own personal MacGyver) who engineered so much for us this year!
Hope to see you, this Thursday, through Sunday!! And either way, we WILL see you in the SPRING!
Stay safe, and stop the spread. We can do this!

Stephanie and I ate at 6th and Vine this past Saturday. It was quite cold in the alley but the heated bench made it better. But, the food was outta sight! So good. Check out our Instagram feed to see pics of what we had.

Bull’s Tavern to Close for Season After This Weekend

Bull’s Tavern posted this on their Facebook page this morning:

A personal message from the boss lady…
With the increased restrictions, Bull’s will be open this week:
Wednesday – Thursday – 5-11pm
Friday – Sunday – 5-9pm
*All standard pandemic protocols apply
My initial thoughts are this is the last weekend of Bull’s until Spring, but the staff and I will have a discussion early next week to confirm that decision. I’m so proud of my tiny skeleton crew that has managed to keep such a positive outlook through such a difficult time.
We still have really cool hoodies and t-shirts for sale if you want to support us but don’t feel comfortable coming out right now. I can ship for an additional charge of $5 and I’m happy to deliver to porches throughout the Triad.
I am confident that Bull’s will make it through this and other challenges it will face in the future. We are looking forward to the days when we can go back to being Bull’s again, bands playing on stage, rotating taps with interesting beers, shot glasses slamming on the bar top, the karaoke nights with all of the entertaining and talented singers of WSNC, we miss all of it and all of you! It’s the free-spirited and fun-loving place!
Since I know as soon as I hit “post,” someone will reply with, “just open up.” I’m going to address the multitude of reasons why we will NOT be doing that so I can just say it once and for all. I’ve never been more exhausted from having the same conversation in my life.
We have made it nine years in business without an ABC violation and I plan to keep it that way. Unlike other businesses that don’t sell alcohol, we are governed by the ABC (the group who permits us and sells us liquor) and the ALE (the division of the SBI that makes sure we are following the rules), there’s no consistency of how violations are enforced. Ask any ABC holder and they will tell you the same frustrating story. After being closed for nine months, I don’t have the resources to pay lawyers and fines to fight a violation where I’m clearly in the wrong.
ABC violations cause a business’ liquor liability premiums to increase, considering that bill is already higher than a good yearly salary, I’m not coming out of this with another huge bill. At best, it looks like I’m going to have to go back to a 9-5 for a couple of years while running Bull’s at night to dig the business out of debt. Now, if bars had been allowed to open when the breweries and restaurants did, when the viral spread was low and the weather was nice outside, would the circumstances be different? Of course, they would, but it’s the “Bible Belt” and the ABC laws haven’t been updated in our state since prohibition was repealed, so that wasn’t the case.
When I started on this journey nine years ago, I had two goals in mind, first to open my own business and the other to provide my Daddy with a job that didn’t involve him running a piece of heavy equipment. I accomplished both those goals. My love of music and that magic you feel when you listen to it live led me rightly down this path. I’ve met so many amazing people along this journey, from the musicians to fellow business owners, to people I’ve employed over the years, to patrons that become family and everyone else I’ve met along the way, I’m grateful to you. I was determined to turn that dream into a reality so many years ago and I’m determined to keep Bull’s alive and flourishing post-pandemic.
This virus is very real. I can’t scroll my social media without seeing constant posts from friends who either have the virus, had the virus, have family in the hospital with the virus, or sadly lost someone to the virus. It’s surreal every time I mindlessly scroll through my phone. Personally, I’ve been in isolation for the past three weeks and plan to stay that way until the vaccine comes available. I had a strong, sobering warning from my physician of the long-term danger than COVID could cause to my body since my immune system is already hostile with lupus. I’ve got to take care of me, to keep Bull’s going in the future. Take care of each other, wear your mask, stay distant, do all the things you need to do to take care of yourself and your family.
If you want to do something that doesn’t cost a dime, that could truly help a local business owner, call our hometown Senator Richard Burr’s office 202-224-3154. Ask him to support some form of a relief package that helps to fund small businesses and the unemployed. He took no issue warning his wealthy donors that this pandemic was eminent, selling his own stocks or bailing out Wall Street. It’s time he steps up to the plate and helps those who truly make up the fabric of his own community and our country.
I love you all and I can’t wait to be a serial hugger on the other side!
Love and Light,
Danielle Bull