This is our 26th neighborhood letter and the first one where my ramblings were so long that we put them on a separate inserted piece of paper. In this section of the letter you’ll get to learn about a ton of new stuff, some special holiday offerings and get a recipe for a delicious pound cake. On the other sheet, you’ll find what will seem like a journal entry. In it, I (Dennis) share some of my recent experiences and thoughts.
As always, we are honored that you choose to be our guests at our restaurants and/or hotels and that you choose to receive these letters. (If you don’t want to get them any longer, please just email us at email@example.com. Also, if you would like to get our news online, please sign up on any of our websites to receive email updates or “like” our Facebook pages.)
Cheers! Dennis Quaintance & Nancy King Quaintance
Mom taught me that you really don’t have a principle or a conviction unless you are willing to voluntarily inconvenience yourself for it.
When our twins landed on this planet 12 years ago, we decided to put our convictions about “Sustainable Practices” (our environmental stewardship and diversity programs) into a real, no kidding sincere mode. The motivation: We didn’t and don’t want to disappoint these kids or generations beyond.
Notching up our commitment was an inconvenience, because doing so makes most decisions more difficult. But, we ended up with Proximity and Print Works being the first hotel and restaurant in the country to attain the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) highest rating, Platinum, with their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program; arguably a pretty good outcome for the trouble.
The technique we used at the Proximity was to view each decision through a Sustainable Practices lens/filter. Loading such a lens is a chore because decisions are hard enough as it is without adding more considerations. Then, often times the new filter doesn’t have much information on it! And, what data it has is sometimes flawed so you end up not with a quick decision but with a research project. I often wonder if we have some sort of masochistic bent that causes us to enjoy making things more difficult, but then I remember what Mom taught me. By the way, it is even more of a pain when the process leads to an unconventional decision that requires more effort for implementation. In my experience, it is well worth it and it is fun. I’ve wondered if people from past generations didn’t use a variety of “lenses” more often than we do now.
Anyway, this process allowed us to gain competence with using non-typical lenses / filters so we decided to start looking at our decisions through an authenticity lens. For some time now, Nancy and I have been in search of higher levels of authenticity. We notice that we love having authentic experiences, so we reckoned that others (as in our guests and fellow staff members) might have the same reaction. Using this lens is doubly difficult, because I don’t know what authenticity is. I just know it when I see it. More to the point, I notice when it is missing— as I think we all do. I’m giving this background because it sets up the story I want to tell.
The other day I was dining on the veranda at Lucky’s in Greensboro when I had a fairly significant emotional experience. It was the sort of groundedfeeling that I’ve come to call “WA” (Warm and Authentic).
It began when I sat down and noticed the great fidelity of the sound system (now in stereo) playing a song by Laurelyn Dossett, a friend, neighbor and extraordinary singer-songwriter. I was waiting for my guest, so I just sort of soaked the music in. Then, not two songs later, a song by Evan Olson came on. Evan is also an extraordinary singer-songwriter and friend who worked with us back in the 90s when his band won the Dick Clark national talent search. All the while, I felt wonderfully enveloped by this beautiful outdoor room. I got to help design this space with my great friend, Don Rives, who sadly has since left this earth. This space is special, not just because of Don’s great design, but also because it is lovingly cared for by our friends Brenda McLamb and Tom Grandy. Then Karen Walker, who leads the team at Lucky’s, came my way with her sincere and authentic smile. She visited some guests near me then teased that I must have been stood up.
When my guest arrived, Eric, who is a great service staff member, told us about the specials. A day boat something-or-other for the fish and the special vegetable was crowder peas that Jay (Lucky’s Executive Chef) had picked up at the Farmers’ Market. I ordered the locally grown pan-fried catfish and as my sides I chose the crowder peas, kale greens with black-eyed peas plus green beans. When the plate arrived, it looked and tasted like a fantastic home-cooked dinner rather than a restaurant meal. (In my experience, restaurants seldom get food to the table that is soulful, delicious and nutritious plus appealing to the eye. This plate had all of that.) Then Jay happened to saunter by with his ever present playful, enthusiastic, academic, bohemian and serious about food way of being. His eyes twinkled when he asked if it tasted good. Just minutes later, I saw him wheeling a couple of coolers of food from the Farmer’s Market to the London Taxi that he uses to chauffeur his precious cargo. He was on his way to our Southern Kitchen in Cary to distribute that good stuff along with his enthusiasm and competence.
It occurred to me that this outfit might be progressing in its quest for higher levels of authenticity because I sure-as-fire experienced it. It all makes sense because isn’t there something authentic about the sorts of things I describe? But….it is elusive and dangerous for us to think much about it. If someone thinks they are cool, don’t they cease being cool? I’m not saying our restaurants and hotels are anywhere near as authentic as we want. This is about the journey, not the destination. Authenticity isn’t a destination. It lasts just a moment. We just want to string authentic moments together. When that happens, we think our guests and our fellow staff members will be glad.
At that lunch, I got to get what we aim to give.
I get this sort of experience right much around our hotels and restaurants. I see authentic folk sincerely busting their cans to take great care of our guests and their fellow staff members. It is this sort of thing, or when I don’t notice it and I get to enthusiastically help out, that keeps me passionate about playing my role, even 22 years on.
I could have told dozens of other stories. This one just came to my mind. When I see Heather Severino (Don Rives’ daughter) helping our guests or team at the Green Valley Grill, I get the same feeling. And, I know this journey is for real when I wander around Leigh Hesling’s kitchen at Print Works and see folk making homemade stocks, cutting fries and cooking duck confit the only way you ought to.
Telling this story has motivated me to write up a list of extraordinary things that this team does, but we haven’t the space to put the list here. It will be at qwrh.com —click on the “Above and Beyond” tab.
When you visit one of our places, it is our intention that you get food that tastes great, that you experience guest rooms that are extraordinary, that your service is friendly and competent and that you see facilities that are
aesthetically pleasing and very well maintained. As a bonus, I hope that you get to experience some level of what I’m not doing such a good job of explaining here.
If you are still awake, I apologize about the cure promise. I tried.
Cheers! Dennis & Nancy King Quaintance
- I’ve recently learned that the Center for Principled Problem Solving at Guilford College is doing work with ideas that sound similar to the “filter/lens” thing I’ve talked about. I look forward to learning more from them.
• I am skeptical when business people talk about their principles. I hope you read this just as a story, not as a greater than thou sort of thing. This cowboy, and this outfit, have flaws out the ying-yang (er….yin-yang?) but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a tale to tell.
• Laurelyn now plays at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen on Tuesday nights while Chef Jay Pierce cooks delicious skillet fried chicken. Both are wonderful.
• Evan now often performs with Jessica Mashburn. The duo is called AM rOdeO. They just released an album called “Doot.” Jessica has been a key member of this team for a decade. They play Wednesday evenings at Print Works where we serve a great Mussels special and have extra low prices on some respectable wines.
• In the next year, we’ll bring a lot of the sustainable practices enhancements that we used at the Proximity and Print Works to the O.Henry and Green Valley Grill plus our two Lucky 32 Southern Kitchens.
• I could have told supporting stories about the diversity plank of our sustainable practices program, but there was only enough room for these examples and diversity lacks a USGBC type of certification.
“Explain that,” you ask? Well, over the past few years Jay Pierce and Leigh Hesling have been running around to farmers markets to get a lot of the vegetables and fruit they serve. Clearly any chef has a huge head start to win the flavor game when they start with the best stuff and most often the nearer the farm to the fork the better the flavor; and the farm fresh food is at the markets. We thought it would be good if they had vehicles to transport this precious cargo cool, rather than overheating in back of their pick-up trucks. The London Taxis are perfect, easy to load, the AC in the passenger compartment holds the optimal temperature plus it is great fun to toodle around town in one of these iconoclastic cars.
- Mussels-Wine-Music:Each Wednesday evening, Print Works Bistro features Chef Leigh Hesling’s Mussels (more for less, with our house-cut fries) for $15, five wines from $10 to $15 a bottle and live acoustic music from 7-10 PM by AM rOdeOwith the extraordinary talents of Evan Olson & Jessica Mashburn playing original music along with some favorites with a local twist. Check out their brand new CD, available on iTunes or at their performances.
- Skillet Fried Chicken and Live Soulful Songs:Every Tuesday night, enjoy Chef Pierce’s cooked-to-order fried chicken with great fixings (plus the full menu), the very talented Laurelyn Dossett playing mostly original music, and special pricing on some craft brews and wine. Dinner begins at 4 PM. Please check lucky32.com for times for the live music
- Wizard of Oz Tea at O.Henry Hotel:Join us in bringing the story of The Wizard of Oz to life on Sunday, November 7 at 2 PM “There’s no place like home” at our tea party as you enjoy special treats, crafts, and community seating at whimsically decorated tables surrounded by characters such as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, the Lion and munchkins. Included with each reservation is a ticket to The Community Theatre of Greensboro’s 16th annual production of The Wizard of Oz good for any of their eight November shows. Cost is $50 each for adults and children plus tax and a 20% service charge. Call Green Valley Grill for reservations at 336-854-2015.
- Cooking Class at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary:Chef Jay Pierce’s new cooking classes in Cary have been a big hit. The next one is Saturday, November 13, 11 AM-1 PM. It is sure to be another fun and informative cooking class, complete with a three-course lunch, matched with wine! He will demonstrate some favorite recipes from Lucky’s, as well as give helpful cooking tips accompanied by open banter with this talented, enthusiastic and well read chef. Class is $39 per guest. For reservations, please call Lucky 32 in Cary at 919-233-1632.
- Beaujolais Day at Print Works Bistro:Celebrate the first wine of the new harvest as we tip our hats and a glass to a fun French tradition. On November 18, we’ll serve Beaujolais Nouveau and a few menu specials that pair well with the wine.
- Turkey-to-Go:Enjoy Green Valley Grill’s wonderful cooking with Thanksgiving-to-Go. Place your order by 10 PM, Monday, November 22, and then stop by on Thanksgiving Day to pick up your juicy, wood-fired,
rotisserie-roasted turkey with all the trimmings, including sides, salads, bread and dessert. To learn more, make your reservation or to place your order, call Green Valley Grill at 336-854-2015 or visit greenvalleygrill.com.
Christmas Dinner-to-Go:Enjoy Christmas morning around the tree instead of in the kitchen. Let Print Works Bistro do your cooking with its Christmas Dinner-to-Go. Place your order by 10 PM, Tuesday, December 21, and then stop by Christmas Day from 10:30 AM until 3 PM to pick up your holiday feast with Honey Dijon glazed ham, roasted ducks or prime rib! To learn more, make your reservation or to place your order, call Print Works Bistro at 336-379-0699 or visit printworksbistro.com.
- EMFjazz&blues at Print Works Bistro:Enjoy live jazz music on the first Friday of each month, 10 PM until 12:30 AM. We are delighted to partner with the Eastern Music Festival to provide Greensboro with a live Jazz music series while you dine and drink late night. There will not be a cover charge for most performances.
- Holiday Dining:On both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, Print Works Bistro and Green Valley Grill will be open 12 Noon-8 PM (with several holiday specials) and the bar will be open until 10 PM. Plus, Print Works will be open for breakfast from 7:30 until 11 AM. For the first time, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary will serve Thanksgiving dinner from 4 until 9 PM. Lucky 32 in Greensboro will be closed both days
- Nutcracker Tea at O.Henry Hotel:This holiday tradition delights all ages as we combine traditions of the holiday season on Sunday, December 5, 12 and 19, at 2 PM Dreams of dancing sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers and waltzing flowers have inspired the special treats that will accompany your choice of tea, warm apple cider or hot chocolate. Afterwards, each child can decorate an ornament and help our chefs make gingerbread houses; all accompanied by music and costumed characters. Afterwards, join Clara by the tree as she reads The Nutcracker. Bring your camera! Cost is $38 per person for adults and children, plus 20% service charge. Call Green Valley Grill at 336-854-2015 for reservations.
- Gift Certificates:You can order Quaintance-Weaver gift certificates that can be used at any of our businesses by going to qwrh.comor calling our Gift Certificate Hotline at 336-370-0966. We’ll put the gift certificates in the mail to you, or to the fortunate recipient.
- Group Celebrations:Just a reminder that we offer reservations, call-ahead seating and even a pre-ordering service at all three restaurants (this allows more time with your guests and speeds up the service). At Lucky’s in Cary, we can handle up to 70 people in our semi-private dining area. In Greensboro, the private dining room seats 10, and we can host larger parties in the dining room. To enjoy the extraordinary food from Green Valley Grill or Print Works Bistro in the beautiful private event spaces of the hotels, please contact the events team at ?336-544-9615 (O.Henry) or 336-478-9111 (Proximity). They can host an intimate gathering of 15 or a bash for 150.
- Get Lucky & PARTY!No time to prepare that covered dish? Let us cook for your office gathering or weekend party. You call, we cook and we bring your order right to your car when you arrive. Pick up half-pint and pint options of collards, soup, beans and greens, whipped sweet potatoes, creamy grits, pimento cheese, artichoke dip, and don’t forget the black bean cakes. For complete Get Lucky & Go menus, visit lucky32.com.
- The Gift of the Magi Package:Give yourself or someone else the wonderful gift of a holiday getaway to O.Henry Hotel. This package includes relaxation in a graciously-appointed guestroom and a $30 voucher, which can be applied towards dinner at Green Valley Grill, afternoon tea in the social lobby or in-room dining. Remember your stay with a complimentary copy of The Gift of the Magi and other short stories by O.Henry. Also includes a full, hot breakfast buffet, early check-in. and a late check-out of 2 PM the next day for only $199 plus tax. Available on Friday or Saturday nights from November 27 until December 12, or any night from December 13 until January 10, 2011 (excluding New Year’s Eve). For reservations for these, please call 336-854-2000. And find more packages at ohenryhotel.com.
- Neighborhood Rate:We would like for YOU, our good neighbors and friends to experience the enchantment of our hotels for yourselves, or give the gift of luxury to someone you love. Take advantage of our Neighborhood Rate of $159 at the Proximity and $169 at the O.Henry per night plus tax – valid from November 21 through 28 and December 15 through January 10, 2011 (excluding New Year’s Eve). The perfect opportunity for you to see for yourself what makes the O.Henry and the Proximity Hotels so special!
- Chef Leigh’s 2011 Cooking Classes:Mark that hard-to-find holiday gift off your list! Join Chef Leigh Hesling for next year’s series of six cooking classes, three at Print Works Bistro (March 12, June 11 & September 17) and three at Green Valley Grill (February 12, July 16 & October 29). Classes will be $68 per guest or mix and match a three class package for $185 and a six class package for $350. For cooking class gift tickets, contact Lee Healy at 336-478-9126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sustainable Cheer Package:Stay on a Friday or Saturday night at Proximity Hotel from November 27 till December 12, or any night from December 13 until January 10, 2011 (except New Year’s Eve) and receive a special rate of $199 plus tax, which includes a $30 amenity voucher that can be used towards Print Works Bistro and other amenities in the hotel. Celebrate the Holiday Season by checking in at 2PM and going to the Friendly Center for holiday shopping. When you return, enjoy a very special lunch or dinner at the Print Works Bistro. The following day relax and take advantage of a late check-out of 2 PM Please call 336-379-8200 for package reservations.
- New Year’s Hotel “$211 in 2011” Packages:Celebrate the arrival of the New Year at the O.Henry or Proximity Hotels with priority reservations at one of our great restaurants and a champagne toast for two so you can celebrate New Year’s with your loved one in one of our beautiful guestrooms to “Ring in the New Year”, all for $211 plus tax. Stay for two nights for only $311 plus tax, which also includes breakfast in bed for two during both of the mornings of your stay. Please call O.Henry Hotel at 336-854-2000 or Proximity Hotel at 336-379-8200 for reservations.
- New Year’s Day Menus:Make sure that 2011 is your luckiest year ever by joining us at Lucky 32 on New Year’s Day. We’ll feature our full menu plus some “good luck” special selections like collard greens, country ham with red-eye gravy, and hoppin’ john.
- Enjoy the Arts!Bring your sweetie for a romantic getaway with special O.Henry packages for Triad Stage (see the Christmas Carol on November 26 through December 24), Winter Show at Green Hill Center for NC Art featuring 150 artists featured December 4 – January 15 (package includes limited edition print) and the New Year’s Eve at the Greensboro Symphony Package (December 31). Please go to ohenryhotel.comfor the full scoop.
- Gracious amenities, attentive staff and extraordinary accommodations that all of our guests enjoy
• Special service for reservations and event planning
• Informative specialized web page with immediate links to our hotels, restaurants and special events
• Customized online reservation access with pre-loaded rate codes designed for your company
• Extraordinary pricing on guest rooms, event space and livery services
• Rewards from our restaurants and hotels; Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, Print Works Bistro, Green Valley Grill, and Proximity and O.Henry Hotel
For more information, contact Ruth Darling Heyd at email@example.com or 336.544.9609.
Menus & Reservations
Go to lucky32.com for this yummy holiday recipe..
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