Goodbye Tart & Tangy Triad, Hello to…

Since July, 2013, I, along with my wife, Stephanie and local food celebrity, Nikki Miller-Ka, have been co-hosting a food podcast that focused on the Triad, NC and surrounding areas. Tart & Tangy Triad has been the food podcast on The Less Desirables Network. We focused on food news and provided our own food views. We’ve had a few local chefs as guests over the years. We’ve broken news of restaurant openings, closings and chef changes. We’ve attended events and reported on what we learned or did. And, we’ve done a lot of restaurant reviews.

Well, allow this post to be the official announcement from The Less Desirables Network, that Tart & Tangy Triad, is no more. Nikki and The Beemans have decided to pursue different endeavors. We are retiring the name Tart & Tangy Triad, although it will remain property of The Less Desirables Network.Fear not, Nikki will be starting a new vlog coming late spring/early summer, 2016.

Also, The Less Desirables Network will not be without a food podcast for very long. And this is why I’m writing this blog post, today. The new food podcast will be called… wait for it… “The Man Who Ate the Town: a Food Podcast.” I will be enlisting the help of local food folks including chefs, other food writers and everyday food fans to make this show more “your” show and focus on only a few topics every week; not to overload the “palate,” if you will. No more ninety minute shows. The plan is to keep it to around 15-25 minutes, max. No fillers, no preservatives. Additionally, in conjunction, there will a very short video to accompany the podcast and this blog. I will be requisitioning the name “Appetizer” from Tart & Tangy Triad as the name of that video.

The start date hasn’t been determined as of yet, but I do envision the podcast and video starting around the first week of May; perhaps at the same time, perhaps not. Of course, the blog will continue as usual, and the plan is to up the frequency of the posts. So, tell your friends, read up and prepare to listen and see more of The Man Who Ate the Town in your near future. We, the former Tart & Tangy Triad, appreciate all of the listeners of the podcast and and watchers of the video. Followers of our Twitter and Facebook accounts, we thank you, too. I can’t wait to see and hear from you all on the new endeavor and I hope you’d follow those of this blog. You can find my Twitter, here. The Facebook, here.

Thank you all for everything.


A Krispy Kreme Barista? You Better Believe It

Think that only that coffee company from Seattle and the local café are the only places that have “baristas” to guide your craft coffee needs to new heights? That may be the way that it has always been but the times, they are a-changin’ and that change is being spearheaded by a local original, Krispy Kreme.

What? Krispy Kreme has coffee? Surprise! Krispy Kreme has always had coffee. Since 1937, when the company started in Old Salem, they’ve had coffee to go with those doughnuts. It’s just never been the focus, at least not from the customers’ point of view. Krispy 12642774_1016210518439851_9082411962573681754_nKreme is hoping to change that perception and change it in a big way; unlike anything this area knows of its favorite yeast-based, hometown treat and shops.

There are several Krispy Kreme locations in the Triad, NC area but there’s only one in the region that has baristas and that shop is in Clemmons, NC. In fact, according to Kelley O’Brien (Interactive Media), it’s the only place, at all, company- (and world) wide, other than the Philippines and Korea that has baristas. These baristas are trained how to make the coffee drinks and how to pair them with the various styles of doughnuts and other treats that Krispy Kreme offers. It was at this Clemmons location that I, along with several other food bloggers and media representatives enjoyed a sampling and tasting of the new coffee offerings, along with a pairing of the roasted liquid deliciousness and doughy delights the company has to offer.

Two of the baristas in this shop, Ulanda and Demarcus, came from the big coffee company that is located in the Pacific Northwest and are showing their talents off at Krispy Kreme. This isn’t just plain coffee, either, it’s cappuccino, lattes, mocha, Americano, espresso drinks and so on. It’s like other cafés, except, this café has awesome Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme understands that to compete with the big boys of coffeedom, they have to bring in some big boys of their own. In this case, they brought in S&D Coffee and Tea out of Concord to roast, condition and supply them with their coffee products. S&D Coffee and Tea are the largest custom roaster in the country, so they know coffee. Sustainability and 12645224_1016211241773112_3385366472348831281_nfair trade are becoming a more and more prominent concern with a wide breadth of commodities. When asked about sustainability, Toby Foreman (Director of Manufacturing for S&D) said that this is part of the ever-evolving focus of the environmental awareness of the company. According to S&D’s website, the company is working very hard eliminating unnecessary waste of energy, water and resources, establishing sustainable supply chains and engaging in the innovation and development of long-range solutions. Another representative (Glen, although I didn’t get his last name) also said that they are working with many growers in various harvesting locations to ensure better fair trade practices.

The head of Global Marketing, Amy Harp, explained that the reason this store was chosen as the “sandbox” or testing grounds. Simply put, it was already being built. And, since the location is merely minutes away from the Krispy Kreme worldwide, corporate headquarters, it’s easy to keep tabs on the progress, trends and circumstances as they happen. It was a matter of halting the plan, adjusting the layout, implementing the changes and voila, a new vision realized. This is the laboratory for what Krispy Kreme sees as the future of their business; not just the coffee but the store model.

So, next time you’re wanting a treat of a different flavor, with coffee that is beyond plain and ordinary, or if you’re looking for that big coffee shop experience with a delicious treat that is unlike any other, you should check out Krispy Kreme, not only in Clemmons but coming soon to your own local shop. The Clemmons shop is located at 2442 Lewisville-Clemmons Rd.

Chef Travis Myers: Willow’s Fresh Breath

By Timothy G. Beeman II

Big news came through the local culinary wires a few weeks back. That news created a wave of conjecture and wonder in the Triad restaurant world. The news was that Chef Travis Myers had left River Birch Lodge, where he was a staple for ten years, a reason for the success of that particular restaurant and a reason that people came back. But, the speculation did not stop there. Why did Chef Myers leave? Is he starting something new? Is he leaving the area? Gossip and rumor would be an exaggeration but to say that curiosity was abound, that would be accurate.


©Competition Dining

I had gotten a chance to talk to Chef Myers, in confidence, just a few days after the news broke. He informed me as to what his plans were and I was instructed to keep that on the down-low and that is never a problem with me. I like to report when there’s something to report. That time was not the right time. Now, however, is that time.

I have always been a huge fan of Willow’s Bistro in Winston-Salem. Let me rephrase that. I have always been a fan of Chef Will Kingery, owner of Willow’s Bistro, King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar and Silo Bistro & Bar. Willow’s, it should be noted, is Will’s “baby.” It is the upper-scale casual that people in this town needed and it continues to need and want. When Chef Myers told me that he was going to Willow’s, I was a bit concerned. The concern was three-fold: was Will getting rid of Willow’s and if not, how was Chef Myers going to be utilized and would it work? In the end, I figured it certainly would.

Stephanie and I had an opportunity to sit down with Chef Myers this past week and we discussed the move, his role, his life. One of the first things that he said to us was that the atmosphere was welcoming and within a few days he felt like he had been there for years. Will had basically given him the freedom to conduct business as he saw fit, be more than a chef, be an operator. He talked about plans for food, of course, but he also talked of plans to the ambience and décor of the restaurant. Not, mind you, changing Will’s vision but enhancing it. He understands Will’s love and devotion to this restaurant and shares that vision. But, Will, besides being a great chef, is a business man who has three restaurants to manage and willows-logo_optwho knows if more is not out of the question. He needs the room to operate these ventures and Chef Myers is giving him room to do so. With Chef Myers in there, Will doesn’t have to worry about his “baby” being lost.

Possibly, too, Willow’s was starting to get complacent with itself. Chef Myers will be that shot in the arm to make sure that Willow’s not only maintains that upper-echelon of service and quality that has made the restaurant great in the past, but also helping it reach new heights. Chef Myers certainly is not in this just for the paycheck. Granted, that helps. However, one word that he mentioned at least eight times in the conversation was “passion.” He is passionate about his food, about his role, about this restaurant. He also demands passion from his kitchen staff. Cooks are one thing, but Chef Myers doesn’t want a cook, he wants chefs. He wants people that are passionate about their food. That translates to works of art that not only satisfy customers but satiate them. The fruit of his chefs’ labor makes the customers come back, rave and spread the word. Cooks aren’t going to do that. Chefs are going to do that.

Chef Myers also gave praise to the other managers of the restaurant. The bar and Front-of-House is overseen by him, but he works with the managers to make sure that all is running smoothly. There were a few housekeeping items that he had to take care of when he first showed up, but they were mostly minor and it only added to the mood and quality, as a whole. Minor things like door stops, paper towel types and dispensers, items seen by the customers in the kitchen. Nothing, at least on the surface, anyone is going to really notice a change of, but will just feel that the restaurant is better. The menu boards, the liquor selection, the vendors and suppliers. Seeming small touches that will create a world of difference that you will probably never notice happened, just notice that things are better. He says that he and the other managers, including the GM all work together, bounce ideas off each other to make the restaurant the place to be; a destination.

I asked him what took him away from River Birch Lodge and he said he was planning on leaving anyway to try to start another business and was approached by Will and his partner, Norb Cooper, about coming in and seeing if they could make a partnership work that would improve the restaurant, make them some money and give Chef Myers a project he can take, put his mark on and make an impact in the community with, not unlike how he did at RBL. Also, upon Chef Myers’ arrival, not only did the quality of the food return to what made the restaurant great, but its social media presence has been elevated to “through the roof” levels. Chef Myers’ Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds have been decorated with some of the most amazing photos of his culinary creations. That may seem minor, but even though you cannot taste pictures, people taste with their eyes. The right food styling can do wonders.

When asked about his goals he says, “I want to make smart decisions in the kitchen and buy the right product. Some things I’m going to buy are going to be more expensive, like artichokes that are marinated and seasoned instead of the canned stuff that we’re using now. I’m going to have to pay more to get local cheese; we’re going to get Humboldt Fog in and Goat Lady Dairy.” The old adage is “you get what you pay for.” It is that way whether you’re in the restaurant business, the travel business, anything. You cannot skimp on quality. He goes on, “We’re going to start butchering in-house. We do some now, but we’re going to do it all. We’re going to grind our own meats, too.” When asked about the alcohol choices, he said there was going to be a slight overhauling of the selection. “We’re going to do wine dinners and liquor pairings. We’re going to do more public events outside. We need to expand our liquors. I can do this but it has to be in stages.” Local ingredients have always been an essential element of Willow’s theme and Chef Myers is vehement about perpetuating and improving on this premise.

It is quite apparent that Chef Myers is indeed “passionate” about his job, his food, his reputation and the reputation of Will, Norb and Willow’s Bistro. He is not supposed to be there until noon just a few days a week but he usually comes in at 8am, even on his days off. He wants it to work. He loves what he does. He is passionate about Willow’s. That is great news for the customers and lovers of food. That is great news for Winston-Salem. That is great news for the South of Business 40 (#SOB40) area.

You may notice that I didn’t talk much about the food itself. I talked about Chef Travis Myers and what he means to Willow’s and what he will bring to the restaurant. There’s a reason for that. Keep an eye on The Man Who Ate the Town: A Food Blog, as there will be a review of the tasting that went along with the conversation, accompanied by pictures. This will be very soon.



Beautiful BBQ, Bourbon and Bluegrass

by Timothy G. Beeman II

Friday night, October 23, 2015, Old Salem’s Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (known as MESDA) celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary, the completion of a six-year renovation, and the opening of two new self-guided galleries. To commemorate this, they put on a party that included BBQ, bourbon and bluegrass. The event, held in the Horton Meadow, just below, and even under the bridge and walkway of the wooden bridge that crosses Old Salem Road from the Visitor Center to the museum entrance, boasted a showcase of fourteen master distillers from sixteen distilleries, as well as two of the areas’ popular breweries. While all of the distilleries brought some good products, some really stood above the rest of the field.


(photo © Susan Jones)

Both versions of the Limoncello (regular and jalapeno-infused) from Seventy-Eight ºC Spirits (Raleigh) were not only good, but the spicier-flavored of the two was a true standout; not hot but flavorful. From Asheville Distilling Company (Asheville), the Blonde Whiskey is one of my favorites, overall. It was smooth and full-flavored. Trey Herring’s Carolina Bourbon (Charleston, SC) had a more robust and earthy, yet still pleasant flavor and aroma. You certainly can’t forget local up-and-comers, Sutler’s Spirits from Winston-Salem. Distiller Tim Nolan was on hand to promote the brand.

The highlight of the tasting table, however, was the Krupnikas, a Lithuanian style honey liqueur from The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits (Durham). The sweet of the honey ends with a spiced flourish. Beyond the tasting table was a special Reserve from an NC distillery that I’ll not mention by name because the booze was in a hidden stash under the table. I was lucky enough to try it and it was possibly some of the most smooth tasting whiskey I’ve ever tried. The rep told me to wait until the tasting cup was empty and smell it. The aroma of tobacco swelled as the cup dried. Minutes later that aroma was even stronger. When this special reserve gets released, I’ll certainly purchase some of that.

Area celebrity bartender, Lele Nguyen, was the “guru-in-the-know” for the evening, dispensing the goodies at the tasting table and she was very detailed with the descriptions of all the various liquors, no matter the style. The true superstar of the “bourbon” part of the event was the resident mixologist and co-owner of The Tavern in Old Salem, North Carolina’s oldest tavern, Jordan Keiper. Keiper designed a bar program for this event that highlights the new generation of Southern craft distillers, creating a variety of signature cocktails featuring the four spirits that made the early South “wet:” bourbon, rum, gin, and moonshine, especially moonshine. There’s a push to show North Carolina’s distillers are more than just moonshine; so much more.

This event was also more than booze. There was Eastern style North Carolina barbecue and fried chicken from the Barbecue Lodge in Raleigh. Eastern style is my preference in the “Carolina barbecue” realm. I don’t mind Lexington style, but I prefer the strong vinegar taste over the ketchup heavy, if I have my choice. A white barbecue slaw that tastes like the “red” stuff we have here and hush puppies. The fried chicken was absolutely delicious. Just the right amount of seasoning and the inside was juicy and perfect. In fact, I had two breasts. I liked it that much. And let’s not forget to mention the banana pudding. That, too, was delicious.

In addition to the liquors and delicious food, both Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company and Hoots Beer Company had two brews each available. Gibbs Hundred had The Guilty Party ESB and Blind Man’s Holiday GPA (Greensboro Pale Ale). They were both quite tasty with the ESB (one of my favorite styles of beer) being my favorite of those two. Hoots had their Oktoberfest and a wheat on tap. Stephanie had the wheat and I, the Oktoberfest. Hoots is always solid and this was no exception. These beers made fine companions to the rest of the festivities. I feel the same is to be said of the breweries. The theme of the event, a celebration of southern arts, was represented well by the brewing artists at these two breweries.

If there was anything that I can say that was less than optimal was that the bluegrass band, Carolina Tradition Bluegrass Band was set up right beside the tasting station. They were a fine band, indeed, but the music was loud under that bridge and it was hard to hear what Lele was saying about the various libations. Again, it wasn’t the band, it was the positioning. However, if that was the worst part, that just goes to show how good this event was.

To Jordan Keiper, to MESDA, to Old Salem, many kudos for putting on such a spectacular event. Keiper himself said that he’s hoping that this will put Winston-Salem, North Carolina on the map. Not only the Southern map, no. The American distillers map. Not necessarily for the distilleries themselves, although those certainly don’t hurt, but for the city as a distillers’ event location. I can’t wait for the “second annual” version of the event. It has the potential to get support and attendance numbers of a wine festival and this town knows wine festivals. This was a bold undertaking on everyone’s part, but the event was a rousing success and was a complete sell out. Great news for the city, the museum, the distillers and the attendees. An honor to attend, indeed.

Olde Orchard Diner to Become Cagney’s

by Timothy G Beeman II

According to servers of, and the presence of Cagney’s representatives inside Olde Orchard Diner this past week and weekend: ownership, management and the name of Olde Orchard Diner will be changing in the coming weeks. Cagney’s, who already has five other restaurants in the area, will be closing the restaurant to do renovations and rebranding, according to a server at Olde Orchard. This will make two locations in Winston-Salem. We hope to have more news on this early this week, here and on Tart & Tangy Triad, so stay tuned.


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.

A Contemplation of Fourth

This is reprinted from an article that was published today from Tim’s daily blog, Useless Things Need Love, Too.


There have been two high profile (at least to me) closings announced this week in my favorite part of Winston-Salem and on the same city block.  This past Tuesday Augustine’s Bistro sent out a very short, but to the point, email to the restaurant’s closest supporters, friends and family announcing that they were closing as of that day.  No head’s up, no closing ceremony, no time for goodbyes.  About 45 minutes prior to that I received texts from both Aly Reich, the manager and Chris McDonough, the Mixologist (Intoxicologist?) Extraordinaire informing me that they were closing.  They had just found out minutes before.  According to an article by Michael Hastings of the Winston-Salem Journal, Eric Muck, the owner said that business just wasn’t there, as well as some preconceived notions of potential clients about the location.  We’ll get to that in a bit.

Today, in an article from Lynn Felder of Relish and WSJ, it was announced that The Community Arts Cafe is closing as of March 31. CAC was a performance center, cafe, wine & beer bar with a kitchen that was, for a time, a restaurant and catering area.  I saw a performance by Spirit Gum Theater Company there as well as some of the SoundLizzard showcases there.  The kitchen was the kitchen for La Rana Loca and Encore restaurants before that, complete with some beer taps.

Fourth Street is the new main street in Downtown Winston-Salem. a/perture Cinema, Camino Bakery, Washington Perk, Mellow Mushroom, Jeffrey Adams on 4th, Hutch & Harris, Kings Crab Shack & Oyster Bar, Downtown Thai, The Honey Pot, Kabobs on 4th, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Jimmy John’s, Foothills Brewing, Skippy’s Hot Dogs, Corks Caps & Taps, Quanto Basta, West End Coffee Shop, Mozelle’s, Olde Fourth Street Filling Station, Mooney’s, Downtown Deli, West End Cafe, Recreation Billiards, Bulls Tavern, The Stevens Center, The Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and The Less Desirables are just a FEW businesses on this street within a 9 block (or so) area.  This is the street to be on.  Now, both of these are on the 400 block of 4th Street.  That’s two locations in one week announcing closings within 100 yards of each other. What in the world is going on!?  I have some theories and I’m going to expound on them.  These may be slightly off base or they may be close, but they’re mine.


Let’s start with CAC.  When it opened, it was an innovation to what was going on downtown.  It was Fourth Street’s alternative to Trade Streets art galleries and had a performance center area that had a decent beer and wine selection.  They eventually added catering and a restaurant. The space is huge and they’ve sublet some of it.  But, really most people didn’t even know it was there.  There was a sign, yes, but it wasn’t flashy and didn’t get in your face.  Even when people did see it, it wasn’t really clear what it was. A chalk sandwich board outside becomes commonplace on the street and people tend to stop reading or looking.  Posters in the windows weren’t really indicative, either.  So, there was challenge number one. Then not too long ago, the WS Chamber took over the entire upper part, of the building. In doing so, they basically branded the whole building as WS Chamber.  That’s the prominent signage and I’ll admit, that while I knew about CAC being in there, it was lost on the appearance that it was WS Chamber’s building and they did everything in there.  If someone didn’t have business to do with the Chamber, then why go in, right?  The Chamber are so dominant in that space that when they moved in they demanded (and got) all the parking behind the building and no one is allowed to park there without having credentials. The Chamber are brutal, at times. Yeah, I said it.

UNCSA Stevens Center

Let’s talk Augustine’s.  Augustine’s was at 401 W 4th. It was located in the UNCSA’s Stevens Center complex. Notice I said in the complex. Yes, it was in the same building but it wasn’t necessarily part of the Stevens Center.  However, that is one of the major problems.  People see the decorative awning of the Stevens Center that wraps all the way around the building and it full encompasses where Augustine’s was.  In fact, the Stevens Center’s branding was on the extreme edges of the awning, beyond any signage that any restaurant had out there. You can see from the picture here, what I mean. Thank you to Fam Brownlee for that picture.

So, with the perception of Augustine’s being part of the UNCSA, there are a few stigmas.  You get the low-brows who think the theatre is snooty and pompous and “I don’t want anything to do with those artsy-fartsy kind.” Or, because it’s in there, then it must be expensive.  The fact is, I believe that Augustine’s prices could have actually been a little higher; the quality and portion size (no matter what some ridiculous Yelp! reviewers may have said) were very reasonably priced and I think Eric and Audrey shorted themselves slightly.  I commend them for keeping the prices down as best as they can.  I just think it was particular component of the problem. Another thing, being that no matter how much signage you put out, UNCSA isn’t going to let you outshine them so your signs will never be indicative of what is inside. That being said, they think the restaurant is just part of the Steven Center which gives the misconception that they’re only open when there are shows going on.  They were open Tuesday through Saturday and even opening for lunches in the last month or so.

Another thing about this location is no restauranteur is going to have money to spend on upfitting the kitchen and refrigeration of the place and they’re in dire need of it.  UNCSA certainly isn’t going to pay to replace that, but they’ve had a problem with it for a while.  Compound all these ingredients and they either all are the problem or they contribute to it.

I’m not putting down either the Chamber nor UNCSA’s Stevens Center, but their being there is killing the potential for smaller businesses, namely restaurants in their presence.  The 400 block of Fourth Street at least on the northern side is dominated by those two locations. The irony is that the Chamber is supposed to be there to help businesses not oppress them. Whilst they maintain such visible and occupied presence, nothing else can survive.  Like grass when there are large trees around.  The trees absorb all the nutrients and the surrounding area is barren.

Both CAC and Augustine’s were reliant on word of mouth, however, if no one knows you’re there, they can’t tell anyone else. These locations have no money for marketing and without a marketing budget, there will be no traffic to your place.  Places like I mentioned before on this street had prominent signage that represented their establishments.

I’m challenging you all to become more aware of what is happening in this town that we love or if you’re from out of town, at least try to be more aware of what this town has to offer.  I’m bracing for the next big closure.  Which, sometimes when one thing goes another takes its place, but I’m afraid that the two spaces I’ve discussed are prompted to fail no matter what goes in there unless something changes on the marketing/signage front.  According to Hastings’s article about UNCSA there’s talk that they’ll re-purpose Augustine’s for something that isn’t a restaurant. I’d be relieved if that happened because anything that goes in there, to would be doomed for failure.

None of these factors are the lone factors, I believe.  It’s a culmination of many things, these just being the prominent ones in my mind. These are great locations that happen to be horrible locales.

Enough of my venting for the day.  Don’t let our foodie town erode away.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

For an adult, the world is constantly trying to clamp down on itself. Routine, responsibility, decay of institutions, corruption: this is all the world closing in.” – Bruce Springsteen

Augustine’s Bistro Closes Its Doors

It is with a sad, heavy heart that I have to write this post.  I just found out from Aly, the manager, Chris, the Intoxicologist Extraordinaire and an email from Eric and Audrey that Augustine’s Bistro has officially closed.  It was, indeed, one of my absolute favorite restaurants.  Business just was there to sustain the awesome ideas and food concepts that Eric and crew had.

In talking with a friend, we truly believe that 401 W 4th Street is just a bad locale.  The location is perfect for many things, but because it is inside the Stevens Center, people think that it’s only open on show nights.  This wasn’t the case.  It was open 5 nights a week and even lunches.

The French cuisine will be missed and the drinks that Chris dreamed up, hopefully, will land elsewhere.  The smile from Aly always lit up the room.  Downtown Winston-Salem just doesn’t know what it’s going to me be missing.  It’s this writer’s hope that they land on their feet in a new location, at least in some resemblance of what Augustine’s Bistro was.  Cheers to Eric, Audrey, Aly, Christ, Ricky, Nick, and all the crew.


Quanto Basta Holds VIP Gala to Celebrate Opening


Chef Tim Grandinetti (Photo courtesy of

Super Chef Extraordinaire, Tim Grandinetti, is at it again. And, again, he’s got a gem on his hands.  Grandinetti, who is chef/partner of one of the Triad’s premier restaurants, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar, hosted a few handfuls of friends, family and VIPs to celebrate his new venture: Quanto Basta.

Quanto Basta takes it home to momma’s Italian cooking, with traditional Italian dishes, pizzettes (smaller-sized pizzas) and a long list of meat and cheeses, just to name a few things.  It’s located in the now-booming 4th & Broad/Spring area where a lot of construction and a lot of awesomeness is popping up.


Cheeses at Quanto Bosta

The new eatery is located at 680 W. Fourth St and is only a block away from Spring House Restaurant, separated only by the new 751 W Fourth building that houses the Winston-Salem Foundation.  Quanto Basta is housed in a magnificently re-imagined setting with stone and wood and a wondefully stained floor that shines for days and creates the great ambiance that will only help make this restaurant great.  I say only help because what is going to make this restaurant great is the food.

For the VIP party they had much of the fare on showcase including at least 3 different pizzettes, an Italian sausage with peppers and onions pasta, eggplant parmesan and a delightful meatball slider.  Tuscan ham, soppressata, capicola and mortadella were on the meat display as fresh mozzarella, pecorino, parmigiano and a most delicious gorgonzola bleu was on the cheese plates.  Crostini and olives round out the antipasto selections.  I tasted almost every bit of the food and thought it was spectaculicious!  They had desserts, which I’ll admit, I am not sure what they were. I asked about other things but missed that.  I’m a horrible reporter, I know.


The Salumi Selection

The kitchen staff are well-knowledgeable and were there to please.  The servers and bar staff were also on point and if our glasses were empty, they brought more of what we needed.  They had a white, a red and Peroni for the beer drinkers.  Tim told me that they’ll have in addition to Peroni, Moretti and the full line of Samuel Smith brews from England as well as other international beers. I’m excited about that.  Also, a fixture that will wow a lot of customers is the wine tower. Nestled in a stone facade, this enormous structure will eventually hold up to 1600 bottles of wine.  Quanto Basta will also have craft cocktails.



Another great point about Quanto Basta is that while it gives you an upscale elegance, it’s more down-to-earth in pricing.  That was a very pleasant surprise.  $5 spaghetti, $11 sausage with peppers and onions, $14 fire roasted chicken, $14 chicken marsala, $15 shrimp arrabiata.  These are very reasonable and affordable prices.  In fact, the most expensive entree is the beef short ribs barbaresco at $17.

I went to the restroom and even it was in pristine condition. Granted, yes, this is a brand new facility from the inside out, but it’s well thought out.  The details in which they put into the bathrooms, the bar, the kitchen, the food!!!  These details are going to be the ingredients to help Tim Grandinetti, his partners Lynn and Lynnette Matthews-Murphy and those who back them, realize the dream that they have for Quanto Basta.  Most likely, the dream isn’t even close to the apex the restaurant will attain.

Quanto Basta is set to open on March 5, 2015.