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Local 27101 brings a burger spot to Downtown WS

by Kristi Maier

| @triadfoodies

Burgers are finally flying at Local 27101 after many months of anticipation. When Millennium Center owner, Greg Carlyle, unexpectedly closed his fine dining establishment, Artisan Restaurant, last September, there were plans to reopen “very soon” with a new concept and new culinary team. The Artisan culinary team and management staff all went their separate ways, mostly, and the rest of us anxiously awaited what was to become of one of the Camel City’s premiere locations at the corner of 4th and Cherry streets downtown.

Then word started getting around that Carlyle was probably going to do a gastropub, followed by his own announcement that it would be “fast casual.” And then we heard what the name of the restaurant would be. And still we waited.

But the wait is over and Local 27101 has been quite busy the first couple of weeks of being open, working out the kinks and getting comfortable and”¦ explaining a bit about that mouthful of a name too. In what appears to be a bit of a mission statement on the wall at “the Local,” (for short) it reads that they decided on the name to reflect their target market: the folks who live, work and frequent downtown Winston-Salem. Plus the use of the word local is meant to generally reflect all things local, from the designers of the space to the farmers and purveyors and even the herb garden growing on the shelves lining the Local’s windows. I kind of liked it when I could people watch and see the goings on of the city in the previous space. But the shelves do offer a bit more privacy from the outside world for your dining experience.

What you’ll find on the menu is a small selection of 1/3 pound burgers for around $5-6 dollars and you can “double it” for $2 more. Choose from a traditional burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese, dubbed “The Local” or Carolina Burger, Espanol (which has a Latin twist), a veggie burger, hotdogs, a couple of chicken sandwiches, po-boys and a few salads that you can add your choice of protein to for $4. Sides include fries, sweet potato fries (both come with a dusting of rosemary salt) and onion rings. A simple and easy to read menu that, I dare say, is easier to follow than the busy menus at any fast food chain out there. Executive Chef Pat Rafferty, says he’s already dispensed with the “create your own” option since most folks didn’t use it. But he says, “really anyone can still do it. If I have the item you want on your burger, I’ll put it on for you, no problem.” ($1/per add-on) We placed our order at the first counter, were given the pager to let us know when our food was ready and in about five minutes, we had our food. It seemed most folks were getting their orders between five and eight minutes.

I really enjoyed my Española burger with its slice of pepper jack cheese, sliced jalapeños and avocado. The burgers are served open-faced with lettuce and tomato and when you put the top on, you’ll see the bun has been branded with their logo. The kitchen also brought out a Cobb Salad with grilled chicken, chunky pieces of bacon, boiled egg, avocado, and bleu cheese with a light vinaigrette. It was tasty and fresh. Customer Julia Denton says, “You can’t beat the prices here. I like that the Cobb Salad actually comes with chicken without charging you extra.” Of course if you do want extra protein, it’s available for a few bucks more, which is pretty typical. Cool twist: Your meal is served on lined pans for a rustic touch.

Chef Rafferty also brought out the fried chicken sandwich which consisted of a sizable chicken breast with a light drizzle of chimi-churri sauce and he brought out some sweet potato fries and the onion rings. I can’t decide which I like more. The onion rings were really light and crispy and from what I can tell in previous reviews, they’ve really improved since the opening days. There’s something about sweet potato fries dusted with rosemary, though. It’s a must try.

Carlyle was bustling around, talking with customers and even doing table bussing. “I’m here all the time. I really am trying to help as much as I can and do any job required of me.” Both Carlyle and Rafferty are dividing their time between the Millennium Center and Local 27101. Rafferty still manages all food services for Millennium Center.

Right now, Local 27101 is open for lunch only, but will expand to dinner hours in the near future.

Carlyle says, “It’s been really busy and fun actually. We get executives, administrative assistants, artists, really a diverse crowd. We’re having a really good time. I think we’ll be able to keep it up. It’s wonderful to be able to offer this price point and offer folks a great lunch that’s affordable with local ingredients.”

As for Carlyle’s favorite burger? “My favorite is the Carolina Burger. I grew up on that and I always seem to go back to it.” !

WANNA go?

Local-27101 is located at 310-A West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-2pm; thelocalws.com.

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