Charlotte Happenings

DEC 2017

Charlotte Happenings is your monthly guide to events and things to do in and around Charlotte, NC.

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Page 15 of 59

How would you describe Customshop's food to someone who has never dined there before? I don't want to use the word farm-to-table, but we do grow our own vegetables. We also use a lot of local vendors. We make everything in-house—our own bread, all of our pastas and desserts. We don't advertise. We built this business around regulars and the community that surrounds us and supports us. That's refreshing. People come in, and they all know each other. We're a neighborhood trattoria. Why do you hesitate to use the word farm- to-table? I think a lot people use that word, and they don't really execute it. It's been abused. In reality though, Customshop is a farm-to- table restaurant. When you opened back in 2007, that concept was relatively new to Charlotte. Why was it important to the city? It's the way I live my life. I have a garden at least as big as this restaurant. I had a mushroom farm. I use a local fisherman. It's the way I think, and I don't want to get outside of that box. The servers will actually get in my garden and help me. It's fun for us all. I think that started somewhat of a trend here in Charlotte. It wasn't because of me, but I was one of the first ones to jump in. Your approach to everything is local, even down to the artisans who helped you design Customshop's interior. Why take on that extra expense? I feel that if you live in an area, you have to support your community—the same people who know and support you. My designer, he lives in the area, and we became friends. He understands who I am, and it's not such a struggle for us to come together to get what I want. Our ironwork, that's my neighbor Caesar. All the pottery and dishes are made from another friend and vendor. Q & A MY CHARLOTTE by Bryan Richards 16 WINTER 2018

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