If there’s one thing Chef Kristina Fuller has gotten the hang of, it’s how to create a bit of a clamor when it comes to “will she, won’t she?” or “what’s it going to be?” After two successful restaurants in Greensboro (Crafted— The Art of the Taco and Crafted—The Art of Street Food) Chef Fuller and her mom and business partner, Rhonda, finally announced what thousands have been hoping for a couple of years now…..Crafted—The Art of the Taco is coming to Winston-Salem. And very fittingly, to the Arts District downtown.
We’ve been talking to the Fullers for a couple of years now about expanding their “taco joint” (it’s not a Mexican restaurant) into the the Twin City. There’s always been a “oh, we want to,” from them. Then Street Food opened, so we waited. And I’ve even sent them photos of spaces for lease when I would run across them downtown. The dynamic mother/daughter team simply wanted to take their time and make sure they had the staff in place so that the chef could focus on a new restaurant. Fuller says they were ready and finally looking at a space along 4th Street when they got an email that the property at 527 N. Liberty Street was available. “it really just kind of chose us. We set up a meeting with the landlord and realized it was a great relationship. It’s perfect.”
Owner, Mike Stinnett, has already gotten to work on improvements to the stand-alone building which used to be 3 different barbershops. The windows out front will be opened up even more, with an additional window being added to one side of the building for more light. There will be the Crafted customary open kitchen concept with a rustic, urban chic feel. Fuller says they plan on using one wall along the bar to feature the specials. The space already has exposed brick and the wood that is now the subfloor will be taken out and repurposed as table tops. “We really like to be as sustainable as possible and re-use what’s already here. Mike has barns and he’s just pulling fixtures from ” The main dining room will seat about 50, the bar will seat another 15 and the patio will hold about 28 seats. “We just want it rustic and a bit industrial, but clean and simple.” Fuller says elements of unexpected design like graffiti and chandeliers will be present at the new location as well. Fuller says Stinnett will be creating offices in the upstairs portion of the building. The lower level beneath the restaurant will be used for storage and hopefully be expanded into space for special events. “It has a lot of possibilities…art showings, parties, it’ll be a great space.”
There will be a small parking lot with about 14 spaces, then parking is usually pretty easy to find along Liberty Street. Fuller says they expect to be open in about 8 months. The Fullers also last week announced the opening of a food truck. Fuller says the truck will be used for special events but on she plans to have it On The Road 7 days a week, adding “We’ll also be putting the food truck out front at the WS location just to drum up excitement and word of mouth in the weeks leading up to the opening of the new taco joint this fall. We wouldn’t want folks to forget about us or wonder when we’re going to open.”
In the meantime, Fuller will be dividing her time between two successful restaurants and a food truck, with Street Food about to celebrate its one-year anniversary. Fuller says Crafted—The Art of Street Food opened with such fanfare that it took a while for them to find their ground. “In the beginning, we got hit so hard and sometimes we were on an hour wait and when it’s like that, you can’t always know what’s going wrong in the midst of all the crazy. But then the newness wore off and honeymoon phase was over and we were able to hone in on our recipes and know what was really working.” Fuller says the new menu that’s just come out is a reflection of that. “I feel like this is us perfecting all the food that people love, tweaking it and putting out what is a seriously good menu.” You’ll find a few more Asian dishes for sure, evidence of the chef’s recent travels. Fuller visited Thailand a couple of months back, so you will see some inspiration from trip like noodle dishes, Pad Thai, Thai curry shrimp, some Indian dishes and as always, favorite like poutine, Bao, and the ever-popular, ramen. Thank goodness….Fuller says, “Oh yeah, the ramen’s not going anywhere.”
Wanna go? Well, you’ll have to wait until about October/November for the new location at 527 N. Liberty Street in Winston-Salem. Until then, find the Crafted On the Road wherever it may be or Crafted—The Art of the Taco at 219 S. Elm Street or Crafted—The Art of Street Food at 600 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro. eatatcrafted.com