This economic thing (which we are calling the “Great Recalibration”) is something that grabbed ahold of all of us late last year, and it wouldn’t have been something we’d have ordered, but we are finding some pretty significant silver linings to this cloud. It has caused us to double down on many of our commitments to be of genuine service to our community of guests and our community of staff members.
Read on and you’ll hear some about that and also learn about some special things we’re doing around the holidays, plus the scoop on a really exciting art project.
Cheers! Dennis & Nancy King Quaintance
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An Art Story plus some News Briefs
Like everyone, we’ve done some belt tightening, but I challenge anyone to show how doing so has affected his or her experience as a guest. Less people are dining in restaurants and staying in hotels. But that’s just temporary, so we are using this situation as a spark plug to deliver even more for our guests.
Here is an example. It is my experience that beautiful, soulful visual art warms one’s spirit, so we’ve long wanted to have original art in each of our guest rooms at the O.Henry Hotel, just as we do at the Proximity. We turned to our great friend and extraordinary artist Chip Holton and asked him what he could see in our guest rooms. Chip, along with our design guru, Bradshaw Orrell, and our design team manager, Angie Kenny, and I commenced a collaborative powwow to figure out a doable solution. We found one that absolutely tickles me pink. Chip is painting more than 140 original watercolors for our guest rooms and suites! They are vignettes from around the O.Henry and the Green Valley Grill. Next time you stop by, wander around or ask one of our staff members where Chip is painting. What a cool thing! It is an absolute joy seeing him paint gatherings of lovely people taking tea in our social lobby or enjoying breakfast in our newly christened Don Rives Cloister Garden.
After he finishes these (which will be quite a while), we’ve asked him to do some pen-and-ink sketches of seasonal vignettes from around the Green Valley Grill that we can use to graphically distinguish the menus that change each month. We’ll frame these originals for the public spaces in the hotel. Chip’s art is for real. I am so impressed; impressed enough that we are getting high quality images made of some of the art so that we can make reproductions available for sale.
Lucky’s New Name
Lucky’s has changed—but not too much. Our culinary journey during the past few years with Chef Jay Pierce has been carrying us toward Southern foodways and locally-sourced food. So we’ve fully embraced this adjusted trajectory and, after 20+ years, we’ve even changed our name—to Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen! What’s more, we’re offering his amazing side dishes, like boiled peanut and butternut squash succotash and his incredible collard greens, as optional sides with most any menu selection. I’ll bet that makes Lucky’s the only “meat-and-three” joint that has a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. You’ll flip for our pulled pork over johnny cakes, chicken & dumplings and our delicious side dishes such as vegetarian beans & greens (black-eyed peas and kale). We even serve authentic pot liquor with corn bread for dipping. Don’t worry—legacy dishes, such as black bean cakes and chicken tomato basil soup, are still on the menu. We’ve even spruced up Lucky’s in both Greensboro and Cary, so you’ll be more comfortable than ever.
Proximity, Two Years On
I might be taking this “tickled pink” thing a little too far, but that is also how I feel about the way the Proximity has matured. We were concerned during the design process that some of our efforts to use less energy and other resources while giving our guests more natural light and extraordinary indoor air quality might somehow blow up in our face. But our neurotic fear served us well, because we now have the hard evidence (read: energy bills) and guest feedback saying that we really are using 39% less energy and 33% less water, while providing 20% more filtered dehumidified outside fresh air and loads of natural light. So it didn’t hurt our guest experience, but helped. What a great place to stay!
I’ve been playing restaurant and hotel since I was 15, so for the past 37 years (you do the math), I reckon that I’ve spent at least a part, if not a good bit, of over 10,000 days in restaurant kitchens. But I’ve never had an experience like I had with Chef Leigh Hesling and Managing Director Martin Hunt the other day. I’d asked if I could spend the day with the two of them wandering around the kitchen so I could offer feedback and discuss some possible new kitchen equipment. About two hours into this “walk-through” I realized that I’d never seen a kitchen this well put together. The cooks were focused, the place was immaculately clean, the refrigerators and pantries were organized and tidy. I felt like I was dreaming because I’m a pretty tough customer and quite often in these sorts of situations I find myself holding my tongue. But this time I was emotionally moved like one is when one’s dreams come true. And to see Chef Hesling glow with enthusiasm when I asked him about some farmstead cheeses that he’s added to his selections or about the new olive oil he’d found, I was even more deeply moved. (What is accomplished without enthusiasm? In my experience, not much . . . and this Chef has it dripping from him, not just about his food but also about his crew.) What a great morning.
I went home that night and opened a bottle of champagne with my bride and made a toast to Leigh and Martin. And, guess what? That was a few weeks ago. I know, as sure as I know I love my family and friends, that it takes this kind of effort every day to keep a kitchen operating at this level. We know we are only as good as the last meal we served!
I know that I’m not objective, but I have loved Print Works from day one. We realize that we left our too small, too limited “opening menu” in place for too long. Sorry! We’ve heard that a lot. Now we’ve fixed it, and the menu has a boatload of offerings, plus each week we have a different Prix Fixe menu that even further broadens the selection and offers a great value. The food here is really good. Honestly, I dine in one of our three restaurants here in Greensboro at least seven times a week, and sometimes I have to flip a coin because I love dining in all three—but for different reasons.
It’s a little late in the year to be bragging about this but the gardens have matured so well and so fast that you’d think we had these plants on growth hormones. That’s not it. They are happy because we planted them in worm castings (that’s what comes out of the south end of a northbound worm), and the plants must really like that. For instance, the Horn Beam trees in front of the bistro doors were less than 6 feet tall when we opened and now they are over 10 feet tall! So, when temperate weather is ours, do not pass go, drop in and dine outside at Print Works. And, when that temperate weather strikes, we can now open the doors between the dining rooms and the gardens so you can dine “inside out.” Or is it “outside in?”
1. Turkey-to-Go: Enjoy Green Valley Grill’s wonderful cooking with Thanksgiving-to-Go. Place your order by 10 p.m., Monday, November 23, 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 make your reservation or to place your order, call Green Valley Grill at 336-854-2015 or visit greenvalleygrill.com.
2. Christmas Dinner-to-Go: Enjoy Christmas morning around the tree instead of in the kitchen. Let Print Works Bistro do your cooking with its inaugural Christmas Dinner-to-Go. Place your order by 10 p.m., Monday, December 21, and then stop by on Christmas morning to pick up your holiday feast. To make your reservation or to place your order, call Print Works Bistro at 336-379-0699 or visit printworksbistro.com.
3. Thanksgiving & Christmas Dining: While Lucky 32 won’t be open, you can bring your clan to Green Valley Grill or Print Works Bistro. Their dining rooms will be open 12 noon–8 p.m. (with several holiday specials) and the bar will be open until 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving with the late night menu. To make your reservation, please contact Green Valley Grill at 336-854-2015 or greenvalleygrill.com and Print Works at 336-379-0699 or printworksbistro.com.
4. Holiday Tea at O.Henry Hotel: The story of The
5. Gift Certificates: You can order Quaintance-Weaver gift certificates that can be used at any of our businesses by going to qwrh.com or 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.
6. Group Celebrations: Bring your bunch to our restaurants or hotels for a festive celebration. We offer reservations, call-ahead seating and even a pre-ordering service that expedites service for larger parties. At Lucky 32, order from our full menu in our private and semi-private dining areas. At Lucky’s in Cary, we can handle up to 70 people in our semi-private dining area! In Greensboro, their private dining room seats 10, and they 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). We can host an intimate gathering of 15 or a bash for 150.
7. 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.
8. Give yourself or someone else the perfect gift this holiday season and stay with a Holiday Package at O.Henry Hotel.
9. You don’t have to travel far to feel as if you are miles away from home with Proximity’s Holiday Packages.
10. New Year’s Day Menus: Make sure that 2010 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. Print Works will also have a special New Year’s menu.
Believe it or not, Triad Stage will be celebrating their 8th birthday in January! Rich and Preston are doing such a great job. We still get blown away with the performances and the amazing sets! No wonder it was named “one of the best regional theatres in America.” At O.Henry Hotel, our That’s the Ticket Package includes one night’s gracious accommodations, two tickets to Triad Stage, transportation to and from the theatre, a full, hot buffet breakfast, and a late check-out. Go to triadstage.com for show details:
Our friends at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art in downtown Greensboro will have their 30th anniversary of the wonderful Winter Show on December 6–January 15. This show will spotlight the talents of 150 artists from across North Carolina, from Penland to Pamlico. More than 500 art pieces will be for sale, starting at just $50. This is the largest collection of North Carolina artists featured in one show. Now that’s something to see! We are partnering with them this year by offering a “Winter Show Package” for $199 at both the O.Henry and Proximity Hotels, including an overnight stay and a $50 certificate to spend at Green Hill. Also, if you attend their opening gala on December 5, we’ll provide transportation to and from the big event.
Go to printworksbistro.com for this yummy holiday recipe..
Visit printworksbistro.com, greenvalleygrill.com and lucky32.com for the current seasonal menus, the latest wine list and online reservations via OpenTable.com (featuring a nifty rewards program). With larger parties we offer pre-ordering to expedite service so you have more time to enjoy your visit.