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SOUTHERN COMFORT

by Daniel Schere

Winston meets Kingston at Irie Rhythms

daniel@yesweekly.com | @Daniel_Schere

It might be difficult to guess which region of the world Irie Rhythms serves food from, just by looking at the building. Located in Silas Creek Crossing in Winston-Salem, the restaurant looks just like your typical strip mall cafe with a few tables and booths, a register for ordering, brightly colored walls and a TV.

But biting into a piece of curried chicken served over a bed of rice and beans will give it away. The combination of the spices and the meat along with the soothing flavor of coconut milk is a departure from the barbecue and fried food of the southern United States, to the tangy and healthier cuisine of the Caribbean.

Irie Rhythms serves up both Jamaican dishes like oxtail and jerk chicken as well as traditional southern foods like barbecue chicken and macaroni and cheese. The restaurant has been open just one month, but co-owner Warren Moore said the brand is already starting to rub off on customers. He said the idea behind the kind of food they serve was a joint effort between him and his wife, Gorjean.

“Our concept is Winston meets Kingston,” he said.

“So I’m the Winston, born and raised here. My wife’s the Kingston. She was born in the United States, her parents are native to Jamaica and her grandmother, who taught her everything she knows about how to cook, is also from Jamaica.”

This is Moore’s second act, having received degrees in music education from Winston-Salem State University and UNC-Greensboro before becoming band director at Carver High School, where he taught from 1997 to 2001.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Lots of wonderful students, lots of wonderful experiences. My last year there we actually went down to Florida and won a five foot trophy at the National Martin Luther King day parade down in St. Petersburg, Florida so we won the best band in the nation award.”

The Moores went into the restaurant business after Gorjean, a dance teacher, went back to school at Johnson & Wales University to hone her cooking skills. Their first venture together was cooking for veterans, VA work ers, federal judges and other officials in the Hiram Ward Federal building in downtown Winston-Salem. After three years, they embarked on their current project.

Moore said they aim to provide their customers with three things: great food, customer service and a warm environment.

“We created (it) ourselves,” he said. “And she’s more back of the house. She loves the kitchen, she loves the food, loves to see people enjoying the food. Me, I’m more front of the house. I like people. People are interesting to me. So I’ll come out, interact with the customers, make sure everyone is enjoying their meal and having a wonderful experience.”

Irie Rhythms does not seem to be having any trouble promoting itself. There was a steady stream of customers even at 2:30 pm on a Thursday afternoon. Moore said he hopes to expand soon and possibly look to franchise.

“We designed this location with the intent of duplicating it,” he said.

In addition to its permanent location, Irie Rhythms also caters both large and small events. !

WANNA go?

Irie Rhythms is located in the Silas Creek Crossing shopping center at 3252 Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem. It is open from 11am to 9pm Monday-Thursday and 11am to 10pm Friday and Saturday. Call 336-768-0894 or visit www.irierhythms.com

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