Farm-to-table has been a buzzword for several years now. The Triangle has seen no shortage of such restaurants: Zely & Ritz, Piedmont, Lantern, Watts Grocery, Magnolia Grill and too many others to name. I never expected to see a restaurant take it one step further at least when it came to the table.
SoCo Food is a farm-to-one-table restaurant in Wilson -- a beautiful 14-seat salvaged barn wood table. Technically, it's not a restaurant but operates under bed and breakfast and catering licenses. But for most folks, the dining, not the overnight accommodations, although I'm sure they are nice, will be the draw.
SoCo Food is run by chef Jeremy Law (pictured right) and his wife, Kimberly Kulers. The couple bought what would become their 11 acres several years ago.
Here's the skinny on their love story: Kulers grew up in the area and has worked in the horse business all her adult life. She travelled to Colorado for a trade show, got stood up by a cowboy for a date and ended up meeting Law at the same bar. They were engaged three months later. And he moved to North Carolina to start their life together.
Law had worked in restaurants in Colorado, including for Chef James Mazzio, Food and Wine's best new chef in 1999. When Law first moved to eastern North Carolina, he worked as a reporter for the Wilson Daily Times and then for the NBC affliate in Little Washington. After his foray into journalism, Law wanted to return to restaurant kitchens so he spent a year and a half working for chef Vivian Howard at Chef & The Farmer, a well-regarded farm-to-table restaurant in Kinston.
Then Law, 37, and Kulers, 32, tried to figure out how to open their own restaurant. They decided to renovate a former garage on their property into a bed-and-breakfast with a dining room, three bedrooms and a professionally-equipped kitchen.
They are betting on this idea: "People will drive for good food," Kulers said.
They are just 45 minutes from Raleigh and they have Chef & The Farmer's success in Kinston as a model.
Law describes his food and explains the restaurant name as "Southern comfort with a modern twist." They grow their own organic vegetables.. They planted 50 blueberry bushes and plan to add chickens and goats next year. "I feel so smug," Law says, "when I pull potatoes out of the ground and I didn't have to go anywhere."
Dinner is by reservation only. You can come on Wednesdays and Thursdays for dinner at the community 14-seat table. Or you gather a group of at least eight friends and make a reservation for Friday or Saturday nights. A three-course meal costs $30, four courses cost $40. It includes tea, water, bread and French-pressed coffee. It is BYOB.
To make a reservation, call 252-243-8441.