Singletree Heritage Kitchen opens in Waynesville | Life

Singletree Heritage Kitchen recently opened in Waynesville and offers locally sourced artisan cuisine.

Josh Weeks is the founder and chef of Waynesville’s newest restaurant. He is originally from North Carolina and has lived in the western part of the state since the mid-1990s, moving to the Asheville area since 2002.

Weeks explained that her love for food dates back to her childhood. Weeks grew up in eastern North Carolina with a family that valued community through food and cooking. He would visit his maternal grandparents’ farm to pick vegetables with his grandfather while spending time in his grandmother’s kitchen learning how to cook traditional southern cuisine.

His paternal grandmother had a taste for adventure and loved international gourmet cuisine, a love Weeks also acquired. His parents often threw parties, entertained their guests with good food, and sometimes roast pork. Weeks said their kitchen was open to the neighborhood, and his parents taught him the importance of making people feel welcome.

At age 15, Weeks started his first job at a pizzeria owned by a friend’s family. The happy chaos of the bustling restaurant drew him in and it was then that Weeks discovered his love for the restaurant industry.

Weeks attended Appalachian State University, focusing on tourism with an eye on outdoor recreation and leadership. During this time, he stayed true to his passion by continuing his work in various types of restaurants. Weeks has over 25 years of successful culinary experience.

For the past 12 years, Weeks has focused on building Corner Kitchen in Asheville as Executive Chef and General Manager as well as co-owner of a successful restaurant business under the same umbrella. After spending time at various independent restaurants and upscale clubs, Weeks knew the time was right for him to pursue his goal of starting his own restaurant.

Bringing a vision to life

Weeks’ vision for his restaurant was clear – a place forged from community, authenticity and simplicity that offered exceptional nutritious food and a welcoming environment. Guided by his values, his experience, and the possibilities of his dream, Weeks blazed a path to realization.

McRae Davis, Weeks’ longtime partner and business partner, has been a dedicated and integral part of Weeks’ restaurant business from the start. Davis is a horticulturist by trade; she currently works as the main gardener at The Swag and helps with the development of Singletree’s frontage in the evenings.

“It’s something Josh has always dreamed of and wanted to do. We just kept putting one foot in front of the other and staying really positive,” she said. calm and cool approach. He is very balanced and determined. »

Weeks and Davis spotted Walker’s historic gas station property while spending a day in Waynesville on an outdoor adventure. They were immediately captivated by the potential of the property, so they contacted previous owner Grace Cathey for further details, secured the property and got to work.

Singletree was truly a labor of love for Weeks and Davis. With the help of Bill and Katie Bolton’s family, they worked tirelessly to remodel the property and install the appropriate infrastructure. Weeks and Davis built the restaurant’s bar, tables, trim, and custom kitchen themselves with locally sourced worm-eaten chestnut and walnut trees sourced from Week’s property. They repurposed and refurbished matching chairs and doors, and painted and ultimately created an inviting space.

The name of the restaurant was found by Weeks one day when he was looking for agricultural words to draw inspiration from the farm-to-table concept. The word “single tree” jumped out at him, the name of an ancient agricultural implement dating back to the days of horse-drawn plows.

Weeks liked that the purpose of the tool was to maintain balance, a virtue he valued in restaurants and in everyday life. His mother also worked with horses all her life, and his father’s friend was part of a group with that exact name.

To top it off, the lot’s previous owner, Cathey, a sculptor and metalworker, had left a single tree sculpture in one of the garden beds outside the building for weeks. He had come up with a name that represented the heritage of the region and was full of personal symbols – Weeks was sold.

He incorporated the antique farming implement into the restaurant’s logo and his vision was fully conceptualized.

Just at the peak of Singletree’s opening, the COVID pandemic hit Week’s plans long behind schedule. He and Davis made the most of that time by doing additional custom work for the restaurant and building perennial and herb beds with repurposed railroad ties.

The unforeseen delay also gave business partners an opportunity to build deeper relationships with WNC locals for future resource contacts.

After a long journey, Singletree officially opened its doors on July 1, and the restaurant is now open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for lunch, a hybrid bar menu, and dinner.

“It was really exciting,” Davis said. “I love the camaraderie between the staff and can’t wait to get into a better rhythm with the restaurant.”

Singletree’s mission is to bring the heritage and tradition of the Carolinas to customers through artisan food and welcoming service. Weeks created a local menu by supporting the local WNC economy through partnerships and encouraging community stewardship.

Food is all about nutrition and quality, so every additional ingredient is made from scratch. Dishes are also prepared with presentation in mind in a way that pleases the eye and the palate. At its core, the Singletree environment focuses on hospitality, inclusivity and the importance of customer experience.

“We try to be the type of place that everyone can enjoy – an everyday restaurant that is nice but very comfortable. I wanted Singletree to be based in the town of Waynesville so that everyone could make it their own in a sense, a place of camaraderie where people can come after work to hang out and have a beer, enjoy great meals at all moment or to celebrate an occasion,” Weeks said.

Sustainability is also important to Weeks, and he takes steps to make his restaurant as environmentally friendly as possible. The staff are also happy to oblige gluten-free guests and accommodate any type of food allergies. the menus also offer vegetarian and vegan options.

Isaac Seidel can be found in Singletree’s kitchen as Chef Weeks’ right-hand man and helps lead the restaurant’s culinary team under Weeks. Seidel has worked in kitchens for 16 years and is a graduate of Pennsylvania Culinary School.

He has known Weeks for eight years now; the two worked together at Corner Kitchen in the past and developed a trusting relationship. Seidel works closely with Weeks to cultivate Singletree’s menus and food offerings. Seidel appreciates the creative freedom that his job offers.

Seidel explained that setting up Singletree over the past two weeks has been a difficult but rewarding experience.

“It feels like a holy crusade of the kitchen gods, a test to see if myself and those involved here are up to it… We are flying by the seat of our pants, but all is well. Weeks and I are very confident that it’s really going to turn into a monolith in this city, a culinary monolith if you will,” he said.

The Singletree lunch menu consists of a soup of the day, creative salads, sandwiches and sides. Weeks hopes to incorporate a few breakfast items into the lunch menu soon, such as a quiche, a breakfast sandwich and a hearty bowl of cereal. His favorite lunch menu item is currently “The Brasstown Melt” with grilled New York strip loin, caramelized onions, homemade steak sauce, horseradish and smoked provolone.

The dinner menu also includes a soup of the day, as well as appetizers and appetizers, and mains, which include mouth-watering options such as Sunburst Farms Trout, Heritage Breed Pork Chop, Coastal Grouper, grilled New York steak, summer squash and more. Weeks also plans to include a dessert menu soon, featuring delicious offerings from old family recipes.

As a chef, Seidel prefers dinner because of the interesting and adventurous options it offers. Her current favorite menu item is “pan-seared Kitty Mitchell grouper,” with cooked okra, stone-ground cheddar oatmeal and hot pepper chow-chow.

“Weeks and I have a lot of mantras and one of them is that simplicity done to perfection is elegance,” Seidel said. “And I think the grouper dish really emulates that.”

The Singletree Bar offers carefully curated beer, cocktail and wine lists. Both old and new world wine options are represented, and cocktails are cuisine-focused and handcrafted, with fresh herbs included from the restaurant’s garden as garnishes.

The bar has eight taps and the menu consists of local microbrews and some of the staff’s favorites from across the country. Local lagers, pilsners, foreign beers and ciders are also available.

Ana Van Hook, head bartender and bar manager, works with Weeks to provide the bar program and craft cocktail menus. She has worked in the restaurant business for approximately 30 years, has lived in the Waynesville area for three years now, and enjoys the culture and environment of the community Weeks is building in Singletree.

“So far guests and customers have been very open and enthusiastic and complimented all the work we’ve done. The community seemed to really embrace this development and it’s rewarding to be at the center of this,” said said Van Hook. .

His favorite cocktails at Singletree are the Maiden and the Blushing Botanist, both gin-based.

Weeks hopes to soon expand Singletree and rotate its menus as well as gain more staff and repeat customers. Weeks feels fortunate to be part of the Waynesville community and hopes Singletree will continue to broaden the horizons of the local culinary scene and be well received.

“The culinary experience is more than just taste, it’s a question of communion… [and] it is a place of inclusion, everyone is welcome here. All people from all walks of life, that’s my biggest thing,” Weeks said.

Singletree is located on the corner of Branner Avenue and Depot Street. For more information about Singletree or to make reservations, call 828-246-9760. The website, singletreekitchen.com, will be up and running soon.

Leave a Reply