The Story of Heirloom
Heirloom Restaurant is my dream. I opened Heirloom’s doors in early February 2014. My vision for the restaurant is to showcase the plethora of ingredients and producers that North Carolina offers by serving dishes that do justice to the dedication of the over 70 farmers and producers from which Heirloom sources. Changing the menu daily to reflect the availability of the farms and what North Carolina has to offer, my staff and I prepare a 12 course tasting menu that is inspired by my experiences in some of the world’s leading kitchens, including The French Laundry and El Bulli, as well as my time in Charlotte’s Mama Ricotta’s and with Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Utilizing local ingredients offers a sense of the breadth of what North Carolina offers throughout the seasons for our guests, but we constantly seek to expand the perception of what local can entail, as we work year-round to preserve ingredients in their purest form, and thus have the capacity to offer the bright flavor of blueberries in December, tomato soup in February, okra seed couscous in January, and carrots in August. Guests’ palates are also treated to unique ingredients at Heirloom available thanks only to our knowledge of the land and a commitment to appreciating what the forests offer, bringing edible foraged ingredients such as reindeer moss, hen of the wood mushrooms, strawberry tops, oak leaves, and other delicacies in their purest form and reimagined through innovative pursuits such as vinegars, pesto, and broths.
At Heirloom we are also committed to creating a sense of community and sharing the joy that comes from a deeper understanding of an ingredient or appreciation for where one’s food is sourced. Relationships with our local health department, along with countless community connections, foster such opportunities and allow Heirloom to offer cocktail and cooking classes, bee-keeping classes with the six hives on our roof, and the pleasure to host fundraising dinners for local non-profits or smaller community based organizations.
While dining at Heirloom, I strive for guests to be transported to comfort and familiarity, surrounded by family heirlooms from the seven generations of North Carolinians that comprise my ancestry. The wooden mixing bowl and stirring spoon on the wall were used to mix bread by my great-grandmother, whose pumpkin seeds still produce a gorgeous harvest at my parent’s farm in Lenoir, NC. The walls are adorned with barn wood from 1909, carefully gathered by my entire family prior to the restaurant opening, specifically for Heirloom. Even the bar holds family photos and trinkets, neatly placed within my great-grandmother’s window sashes surrounded by a pre-blight NC chestnut beam. These personalized touches are meant to provide an environment that makes guests feel at home, remembering their own connections to family, North Carolina, and the fellowship of food.