The opening of Rooster’s Uptown was a source of great pride for me and my team; it has raised the bar for us in many ways. It also forced us to look at everything through a different lens. With two Roosters now, and hopes for more, we have to really narrow our focus onto what defines us. What makes us who we are? What is our story?
After reflecting on this, most of the answers came naturally. The foundation of what we do as a company has always been to strive for excellence, never compromise on quality and my team and I are always looking for talent, inspiration and ways to step up our game. The rustic interior, use of antiques and local craftsman is certainly part of who we are. Of course there is our people and all the relationships we have built over the years with our purveyors and guests. But how do we best communicate this story?
Back when Rooster’s in South Park was brand new and gaining momentum, Southern Living came to do an article about us and this idea of “new, local Southern cuisine.” The piece was shot by Charleston based photographer Squire Fox, an enormously talented and kind man. Thinking back on my experience with Squire it was clear to me that I couldn’t think of any better way, or any better person to tell our story. His images evoke honest emotion and with his organic, candid aesthetic, I knew he was the ideal fit for our new website.
Our next destination is Charleston. As we launch our new website and look to the future, we are so very proud that Squire partnered with us. His photos tell our story, and are worth far more than a thousand words. To us, they’re priceless.
Thank you Mr. Fox.
We proudly present the new roosterskitchen.com
It’s hard to believe April is here; it has been a great start to the year so far with both Rooster’s Uptown and The King’s Bakery opening successfully. April is looking like another great month bringing more warm weather. We also have the annual Charlotte Wine & Food Festival on April 19th at Rooster’s Southpark and The King’s Kitchen. We support this event and the great charities that the proceeds go to, including Council for Children’s Rights, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, Charlotte Community Health Clinic, Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center – and hope you will, too. Rooster’s at Southpark will have a wine dinner with Saintsbury wines, and our courses are paired with two wines instead of just one. Many of the signature Rooster’s dishes are on the menu, such as our charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, Maple Leaf Farms Duck Confit, Roasted Bone Marrow… Check out the whole menu here! Tickets are $150/person and the proceeds benefit all of the abovementioned charities. Purchase online here. Tickets are $100 at The King’s Kitchen, and we’re also excited about our menu here (which is still in the works), paired with Chehalem wines. Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend is a great way to show your support for the local community. Even if you are unable to dine with us, we hope you will get out and enjoy this special event.
Boy, were we excited to finally open the doors of our second Rooster’s location in Uptown on Feb. 29th. After four years of searching for the right location and planning, this labor of love has come to life. We are especially thankful for our great partners who have made this a successful opening.
With the birth of the new Rooster’s, I got to thinking about how Karen and I decided to create Rooster’s in the first place. The seed was planted after I started Noble’s Restaurant in High Point in 1983, and then bought at house in ’84. I took out the bushes and began planting my own herbs that I couldn’t find anywhere. I then followed suit with a bakery when I couldn’t find the bread that I wanted to serve. This was the beginning of turning our focus to local food for the freshest ingredients. This is also when we started using wood-fired cooking, that has become a signature Rooster’s element now (less carcinogens than cooking with gas, too!).
As time went on, and we relocated to Charlotte, we also began to notice that there was a missing element in casual food market – quality food. Since we’d only done high-end restaurants before, we wanted to address this issue by opening a place folks could dine at more than once a week or month. So, we created an a la carte menu for chefs and foodies alike to enjoy. If you really understand food, you get Rooster’s. We are lucky to have partners that have our best interests as well in sourcing local farmers, etc.
So, now we have brought all of our old world, traditional style cooking that we have been doing for 30 years to the contemporary Uptown. A friend of mine said, “smells like Noble’s down here.” It’s true – you can’t miss our wood-fired kitchen. There really is a renaissance of artisans and craftsmen in this country, and our restaurants are no exception with our artisanal cheeses, salami, breads from The King’s Bakery… And, like I said, cooking with wood really makes a difference. With a wood-fired oven, you get the textures, feels, tastes of crisp skins and outside edges – things that fire does that you can’t do without gas. If I had to cook without wood, I wouldn’t do it.
I’m also getting into craft beers these days. We’re now carrying “Sisters of the Moon,” which is brewed in Kinston, where my family is from. We look forward to carrying more NC and SC craft beers, so stay tuned.
We are open Monday – Saturday at 4pm until March 19th. Starting March 19th, we are open Monday – Friday at 11am and Saturday at 4pm. We hope you’ll come see us in our new digs!
Over 20 years ago, my wife, Karen, and I were introduced to John Williams, owner of Frog’s Leap Winery, through our relationship with Dan Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards. We started going out to Napa Valley in 1986 and fell in love with their culture, and have developed a lasting relationship with them that we are grateful to have today. We used to do some great dinners out there.
John Williams, Owner & Winemaker. Photography by Meg Smith, copyright 2001.
One night to mention, we had the Williams’, the Duckhorn’s and a few other couples get together and started out with newer Sauvignon Blancs, making our way towards the older white bordeaux… It was a night to remember. Frog’s Leap has such fun with their wines. Their product is loved and respected by all of our restaurants, so we wanted to do something in honor of them this year. Frog’s Leap has always celebrated Leap Year because of their name, so we decided to do a Frog’s Leap-Leap Day Dinner at Rooster’s Southpark. If you’d like, you may view the menu on the Events tab of our Facebook page. I am excited for this event, but Karen might be a little more excited… she really enjoys Frog’s Legs. One of our favorite wines was a dessert wine they used to make. In fact, John Williams was kind enough to send over their dessert wine now that is made from Riesling called Frogenbeerenauslese for our dinner this week. We hope you’ll be able to attend!
An event came up recently that brought me back to my childhood. It was a request to put together a sweet potato recipe of sorts. I recalled when my Granny Noble would make this pudding and we would eat it for dessert after a meal, then we would go back into the “icebox” and slice off tastes until it was gone.
I thought I’d share this special (and delicious) recipe with you all:
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 c molasses
1 TS nutmeg
1 TS cinnamon
1 TS cloves
4 c sweet potato, grated and packed level
1 c cream
Grate sweet potatoes until you have four cups. Butter a 9 X 12 baking dished liberally. Mix all remaining ingredients together and pour into buttered dish. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 30-40 minutes or until the pudding is set.
I suggest serving it with whipped cream, as pictured, with cinnamon, paired with a late harvest Riesling. The above photo also has fried sweet potatoes as a garnish, but that’s only if you want to go all out. They have to be sliced on a mandolin to get them as thin as they are pictured. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as me and my family.
Margaux, Chef Joe and I had an awesome time in Napa Valley this week with Dan Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards, Larry & Maria Beasley and their annual Napa trip companions – Mary & David Whelan and Jeannie & Bob Wallace. We did the auction dinner from last years King’s Kitchen fundraising event. This was one of two auction items entitled “Dinner with Duckhorn & Noble” but Larry Beasley and Company requested the dinner take place in St Helena, Ca (see menu). The trip was great fun. We landed late Monday afternoon in San Francisco, took a quick riding tour through the city, including a trip down the Lombard Street and the infamous curvy road and then headed to Delfina for dinner. Joe returned to Jim Noble Restaurants from Delfina where he was sous chef for Chef Craig Stoll. I don’t believe we missed many options from the menu, enjoying the pork sugo, beef cheek raviolis, soft shelled crabs, spaghetti with tomato sauce, grilled squid and panna cotte. We even went next door for a fourth course form Delfina Pizzeria “Napoliano” styled which was some of the best I have had. Early the next morning on our way to the valley we stopped for breakfast at Tartine Bakery – ham and cheese croissant, chocolate éclair and their famous Meyer lemon tart. Latte from Tartine was one of the best in years for me.
We arrived in Napa around lunchtime, dropped our bags, checked out the kitchen at Duckhorn and then made our way Mustards, where former Noble’s Chef Dale Ray is now the Executive Chef. Dale and his staff were absolutely wonderful and gracious to us by pre-ordering a lot of our mis en place. They also gave us free range of their organic gardens. Thank you Chef Dale and Cyndy Pawlsen for your help. It’s tough to do a dinner 2500 miles from your own kitchen and we couldn’t had done it without you.
After lunch at Mustard’s, Joe prepped for the rest of the afternoon. Margaux and I were fortunate to get a personal tour of Ovid Winery and were able to taste barrel samples and their 2006 Ovid Winery Proprietary Blend, currently on the Noble’s Restaurant wine list. Stunning! Rated 95 points by Robert Parker.
We met Kelly Duckhorn and David Duckhorn that evening for dinner at Tre Vigne Pizzeria and finished the night with a glass of rose from the cellar of The Martini Bar.
The next morning, Margaux and I met Kelly at The Model Bakery for coffees and breakfast then headed to spend a few minutes with Margeret Duckhorn before she left for the Pinot Noir festival in Anderson Valley.
Back to Model Bakery to get bread for the dinner, local cheeses from Sunshine Grocers, lunch at Taylor’s Refresher and then last minute pick ups at Mustards as I finalized the menu in the car. Off to Duckhorn Vineyards for dinner preparations around 2. Before everyone arrived we were able to sneak in a tour of Paraduxx Vineyards.
The dinner went smooth, the wines were amazing and we were really happy with the flavors, colors and tastes of the food as we worked to make each course compliment the wine selections. Dan was, as always a most gracious host, describing each course’s wine selection with stories, history, warmth and typical hilarity. That Dan Duckhorn is a “hoot” as we say in the Carolinas.
Pan Seared California Quail
Thank you Larry & Beasley for your faithful support of The King’s Kitchen. Thank you Margaux and Joe. Thank you staff at Duckhorn vineyards, for you patience and assistance. Thank you Dan and Nancy. Thank you Ducky! You are the top of the heap!
We are right now on the plane heading to Napa Valley (St. Helena in particular) to do an auction dinner for Larry Beasley and Co. atDuckhorn Vineyards. With me are my oldest daughter, Margaux Noble and Executive Chef and Managing Partner Joe Kindred from Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. This is a long awaited return visit for Margaux, who spent a lot of her early years with Karen and I on trips to Napa during the late eighties and early nineties. At that time we did a lot of cooking trips Dan Duckhorn and family during the Napa Valley Wine Auction, during crush and practically any time we could find an excuse to come to the wine country. The last time Margaux was here was during Kelly Duckhorn’s wedding (daughter of Margaret and Dan Duckhorn). Margaux was about 5 or 6 years old and I can still remember our dancing to Frank Sinatra at the reception. Chef Joe on the other hand spent around a year in San Francisco recently before returning to help me steer and grow Rooster’s. He served as sous chef at Delfina, where we will be having dinner tonight. Joe and I have been working together off and on for the past ten years, our first extern from Johnson & Wales (Charleston, SC) in 2001.
It was in Napa Valley in June of 1982 that I received my inspiration for seeking a culinary career intertwined with my newfound love for wine. It was here in St. Helena and Calistoga where I saw what the French and other Europeans had enjoyed for centuries, the marriage of food and wine. From that time to today, food and wine have been my passion as a chef and restaurateur.
We are excited about this trip, even though it is a busy time to have to leave. We have just opened The King’s Kitchen and are preparing to start construction on the new Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen in downtown Charlotte at the 1 Bank of America Center, beside the Ritz – more on that later. This dinner with “Duckhorn and Noble” was one of two auctioned off last June at the fundraiser for The King’s Kitchen.
We are landing late this afternoon in San Francisco, going to Chef Craig Stoll’s Delfina for dinner, then trying some pizza at Delfina Pizzeria – Chef Stoll and Delfina were nominated for restaurant of the year last year with the James Beard Awards. I am looking forward to some great food and wine.
Please follow us on twitter and Facebook during the trip and send/ask any questions while we are on this culinary whirlwind tour!
Tags: Chefs · Culinary · Wine
I am truly looking forward to going to one of my favorite true NC BBQ joints this week as we continue our journey on “The Pig Pen Trails” in North and South Carolina. See our My Hog Blog about Carolina BBQ and Carolina Road Cuisine as we prepare to open our own, true, Carolina, artisanal, wood smoked BBQ joint here in the heart of the Queen City, Charlotte, NC.
Going with me tomorrow on the “Pig Pen Trails” will be future exec chef/pitmaster of our BBQ joint, Ben Philpott (now at Rooster’s), Rooster’s exec chef Joe Kindred and Peter St Onge of the Charlotte Observer. We are meeting with owner and founder of Lexington BBQ #1, Wayne Monk and his son Rick. Lexington # 1 has been in business since 1962. Wayne Monk trained under Warner Stamey in the 50’s before he opened his own BBQ restaurant on I-85 (now the I-85 by-pass). He is an icon in the BBQ world and I am honored to have time with him tomorrow and enjoy some of his BBQ. I believe his is the best BBQ in North Carolina, western style, and so far my favorite in whole state. I have grown up on Lexington #1 BBQ and I am excited about our visit.
We’ll keep you posted on the visit from our BBQ blog, http://myhogblog.net
Back with you soon!
Rosa's Green Beans
Some my favorite vegetables and sides right now are the pan fried green beans. These, along with the pan fried corn, are adaptations from Karen’s paternal grandma, Grandma Rosa, from Oxford. I love to take thoughts and tastes from our parents and grandparents and rework them for today.
I was working in the kitchen at the original Noble’s when my future father-in-law, Dick Averette came by and asked me what I was cooking. We were sauteing corn, to which he told me how his mom cooked corn. I gave it a try and man was it great. He said she would get a cast iron skillet very hot and add butter. While it was sizzling she would add the fresh cut corn, salt and pepper – a lot of pepper he said. When it began to caramelize, it was ready.
We began to cook corn at the restaurants just that way from then on. It is the biggest single item sold at Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. However, Rosa’s pan fried greens are giving them a run for their money.
What I understood, since I had enjoyed neither personally, was that Rosa would cook her green beans with fatback or some pork product and simmer them down until almost all of the cooking liquid was gone. The green beans would then begin to fry in the rendered pork until they began to brown slightly on the outside. It sounded pretty good to me so we gave it a try at Rooster’s. They have been flying out of the kitchen since.
We cook the green beans in chicken stock with house cured bacon until most of the cooking liquid is gone, just like Rosa did.
The next time you are in the kitchen or in one of ours try these beans.
Tags: Culinary · Uncategorized · Vegetables
When I came home from work tonight, I brought a late dinner. Often I eat standing up while at the restaurants, but tonight I decided to eat at the counter when I got home. Nothing seemingly special or extraordinary, but something good to go with the bottle of Eric Solomon’s “St Jean de Barroux” from the Cote de Ventoux I had started the previous evening. This wine is wonderful. Sous Chef David cooked a half of a prime ribeye, over hickory and oak, medium rare for me and I asked him to sautee some mushrooms to accompany the beef. When I got home I noticed Olivia, my youngest daughter eyeing my plate, so we shared – only the food.
So simple, so understated was my dinner, but I truly gave thanks for this meal. The ribeye, with a veal demi-glace and of course some beurre monte and the wonderful, seasonal mushrooms sauteed in butter. But man, how the flavors of this simple late night dinner danced across my palate and I was in culinary heaven.
It’s times like these, which come by not as often as I would like, that I am reminded why I do what I do. Food and wine working together in such harmony, yet subtly. The cool evening November air another component.
By the way St Jean de Barroux is my personal pick at Bin 19 for the next few weeks in all restaurants.
Before it slips away, enjoy our Carolina fall!
Tags: Culinary · Wine