From my latest story in YES! Weekly, which I haven’t been really consistent on posting each week. But I’m excited about this one. We visited and chatted with StrEAT Provisions, The Whisk and Tin Food Truck, and The Bahtmobile. Go read about them and find them on social media. Because that’s how you’ll know where to find them.
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
This week at the Got To Be NC Competition Dining saw some amazing battles between our local chefs using local ingredients. These battles connect the chef, the farmer and the diner. It is so fun…so exciting! As a diner, YOU get to judge the dishes. What makes it extra special is you don’t know going in what the featured ingredient will be and you have no idea (nor should you guess) which chef made which dish. Keep reading to find out how you can join us this Monday. Click the link for tickets and join us for the fun!
We were media guests this past Monday as The Screaming Radish Food Truck Chef Kevin Reddick battled Chef Michael Harkenreader in Battle Black Mountain Chocolate and Bertie County Peanuts…hereby dubbed “Battle Peanuts and Chocolate.” Are you allergic? I hope not because you’d miss out on something tasty. Here are the photos from the night along with the scores.
On Tuesday, Chef Christian Froelich of Hearth at Sanders Ridge battled Chef Anders Benton…Winner: Chef Froelich. He’ll take on Chef Harkenreader on June 16 in the quarterfinal round. On Wednesday night, Gianno’s of High Point/Giada’s Trattoria of Kernersville Chef David Nicoletta took on Meridian chef Mark Grohman…Winner: Chef Nicoletta, he’ll battle the winner of Monday, June 8’s battle.
So want to see how it will shake out?
Again, we’re headed back for a special night as I represent YES! Weekly and triadfoodies on a special night!
We’ll be headed to Winston-Salem as media guests at “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining on Monday, June 8. So excited! Chefs competing that night will be Chef Travis Myers of River Birch Lodge in Winston-Salem and Chef Alex Pierce of Greensboro Country Club. If you follow Travis on Twitter you know he’s a huge fan of Competition Dining, a great sport and an awesome chef!
USE THIS LINK to purchase tickets. Let’s get a whole group together and make it a truly fun evening!
The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is an emotionally inspiring interactive dining experience connecting the chef, the farmer and the diner. Each evening, two restaurants battle it out in a neutral kitchen location. Diners will rate each dish on an app downloaded to their smart device ultimately deciding who goes on and who goes home! This year, Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston-Salem host the high-pressure series.
YOU BE THE JUDGE! is what differentiates us from all other cooking competitions. As our guest, you savor a full service “blind” six course dinner (3 dishes from each team) that revolves around a featured NC ingredient. As you dine, you’re voting on criteria such as, presentation, aroma, flavor, creativity and more. “Share” your dishes with your friends on social media right from the app! Get live peeks behind the scenes, watch interviews with the chefs and experience the intensity as the scores are revealed right in front of you.
First of all, how many of ya’ll “got” that title? Some of you may need to Google it 😉
This is almost the story of how an ex-Phillip Morris guy became the proud owner of a food truck based in Reynolds Tobacco Company-land. Ironic, yes? But it’s really more about the food experience that comes out of that truck than anything.
You’ve probably seen the Camel City Grill food truck about town, particularly downtown or in West End serving up hot burgers and sandwiches. If you’ve been to a food truck festival, you’ve probably seen a loooong line and you just decided to bypass it and promised to catch them another time. Here’s a tip, go catch them…and soon!
A quick little history: Ben Devar hails from Florida, then UNC-Chapel Hill. He landed a career with Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris—gasp!—the ENEMY 😀 His position was based out of Winston-Salem, but then he got promoted and was asked to move closer to the mother ship in Georgia. He loved the Camel City too much to leave and he says he always wanted to work with food, so he put together all of his savings for his food truck. Thus the Camel City Grill food truck was born.
I found them behind Krankie’s Coffee shop this week and after about 5 minutes the guys from the tattoo parlor had already formed a line. They are “regulars.” And they are working their way through the menu. That’s very cool.
What you’ll find on the menu…burgers, sandwiches and wraps. All with fresh ingredients prepared at their off-site commissary. They make their own peanut butter and use local pimento cheese from Uncle Chris’ Pickles because Uncle Chris’ pimento cheese with chipotle has just the right “zip”. Lots of folks agree since “Ben’s Pimento Cheese Burger” is a fan favorite. All burgers, sandwiches and wraps are cooked and assembled to order then handed out of their window by Ben or his right-hand, Gavin, with a smile.
The pimento cheese burger may be “Ben’s” but he says the it’s the PBBJ that has a special place in his heart. Now, this PBBJ is starting to become famous. It’s wacky, some people would say, “ewwww!” But wait! This burger, with ‘P’eanut ‘B’utter, ‘B’acon and ‘J’elly (the red pepper variety) is not your everyday lunch or dinner. All those ingredients alone are fantastic. But on a burger?? Well, Yes! Yes!! The burger is seared and cooked to perfection, the freshly made peanut butter is creamy and only slightly salty, combine that with the smoky bacon and the sweet and spicy red pepper jelly…oh my, divine. Ben says a good bit of trial and error went into getting the perfect combination of meat, smokiness, sweet, salty and spice and that’s why he maintains his affinity for this very popular item.
All of the burgers come on beautiful Brioche buns (my fave) and almost every item, when possible, is a fresh, locally sourced ingredient and Ben says they add more every day.
For now, the Camel City Grill is just about the only consistent food truck out and about in Winston-Salem. That’s sure to change if food truck advocates have their way. Check CCG’s webpage here for info about them, their menu and their catering.
And foodies, there’s a food truck rally with music at Ziggy’s on Saturday and Sunday. It’s FREE. Be sure to check out Camel City Grill along with their comrades. Take some friends, divide, conquer and share. Then start following Camel City Grill on social media and you can start taking part in the Food Truck revolution.
Here’s what the truck looks like. You’ll find where they are by keeping close tabs on their Facebook page.