Restoring the body and the soul
Chef Jimmy Noble has always considered himself more a restorer than restaurateur. After all, the word, restaurant, comes from the word to restore. And over the past four decades, the chef has made it his mission to do just that. Noble has just launched a rebranding strategy for his restaurants in Charlotte and here in Winston-Salem that he hopes will tie everything together as well as fully integrate his mission of service. Locally, Winston-Salem’s own Noble’s Grille will now adopt the name of two of his Charlotte restaurants, Rooster’s””A Noble Grille and customers will begin seeing changes on the menu as well as signage in the coming weeks.
“When I first considered Winston-Salem, years ago, I already had a high-end, fine dining restaurant in High Point, Noble’s,” the chef said. “I wanted Noble’s Grille to be more casual, but people wanted fine dining, so that’s what I did.” Noble says he really considers Noble’s Grille the original Rooster’s. “Everyone comments that Rooster’s smells like Noble’s because of the wood-fired cooking. For two to three generations, Noble’s has been considered a special occasion place, and Rooster’s was meant to be a two to three times a week kind of place and that’s our intention in Winston-Salem.”
Rooster’s allows you to pick a protein and sides a la carte with an ever changing menu. The Winston-Salem location, led by Chef John Bobby, will have a similar chef-inspired menu but will still keep the composed plate options that are so popular and familiar. Noble says, “We think that the new concept will appeal to a broader group, bringing in younger customers as well.” Noble also says that expansion beyond the Triad and Queen City isn’t out of the realm of possibility. “We’ve looked at Charleston and Atlanta. I think this is an approachable concept that would work in more locations.”
Folks who have enjoyed Noble’s Grille, and before that the former Noble’s in downtown High Point as well as Lo Spiedo de Noble in Greensboro, know that Noble was a farm to table chef from the beginning. “We use farmers as much as we can, local to North Carolina and South Carolina. I did it because that’s how I grew up, using local farms for ingredients that were in season. You know, 15-20 years ago it used to be cool to get your ingredients from all over the world,” he laughs. “Now it’s all about local. But we’ve always done it.”
The changes taking place at the new, but original, Rooster’s in Winston-Salem go far deeper than the name. Also taking more prominence is Noble’s entire business mission, Noble Food & Pursuits.
The food being the restaurant side of course, but Pursuits being to take care of people beyond the table. In addition to Rooster’s, Noble also owns The King’s Kitchen and The King’s Bakery””mission focused restaurants that help raise money through profit to feed the poor and offer discipleship and equipping men and women most consider unemployable. Anyone who spends even a short time with Chef Noble knows that this is what fuels his fire. The King’s Kitchen opened in 2010 to serve Uptown Charlotte oldschool Southern dishes but also to serve the homeless and hungry and provide job training to those in need. Noble brought the Dream Center Network to Charlotte which partners with businesses and nonprofit organizations and churches in an effort to transform lives by meeting their physical needs, like housing and medical care and clothing, as well as job-related rehabilitation and spiritual nurturing.
Noble, who’s a pastor, says “It’s been a ministry of mine for 42 years. To feed the body but nourish the soul. It’s nice to have food, but we want them to have hope. We want to give hope to the hopeless. To be a restorer.” !
Wanna go? Rooster’s-A Noble Grille is located at 380 Knollwood Street, Winston-Salem, and is open for lunch Monday-Friday and Supper Monday-Saturday. Get information on all three locations (WS, Uptown Charlotte & South Park) at roosterskitchen.com or noblefoodandpursuits. com.