Novel-tea

Novel-tea


Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar owner Matteus Frankovich has made more room for you and yours to belly up to the bar.

If you tried to stop by the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar the week of April 9, you might have been stymied. An Easter weekend renovation took a few days longer than planned—what renovation doesn’t?—but the teahouse is up and running again and looks all put back together. Owner Matteus Frankovich and his crew extended the bar into the area that used to be full of couches and pillows and a pretend-opium-den vibe; now there’s more room in the kitchen and more chances to belly up to the bar. It’s a bit more open, as is the menu—now printed on a chalkboard so as to change easily with the seasons.

Stop by and have a cuppa; all the cool kids already have.

Staying late

What’s the oldest house Downtown? Why, the Inn at Court Square, built in 1785. Sitting on an appropriately stylin’ sofa in the front room, owner Candace DeLoach recently showed Restaurantarama pictures to prove how she’s poured on the fabulous since she took it over nearly a decade ago. Back then, it was a lawyer’s office with acoustic-tile ceilings; now it’s an upscale B&B whose guests can buy the antiques that grace their rooms, if they want. (DeLoach also deals antiques next door.)

It was a major upgrade, in other words. Now DeLoach is doing the same to the dining scene at the Inn. She’s long welcomed the public for lunch. About a month ago, chef Jesse Wykle joined her staff from Farmington—he’d also worked at Clifton Inn—and set to work preparing dinner and brunch menus.

The result is a luxe version of Southern cooking. Shrimp and grits get dressed up with goat cheese, chipotles and portobella mushrooms; North Carolina grouper comes with roasted okra and tomato gumbo sauce. “It’s the same ingredients they used back then,” says Wykle, referring to the era when the inn was built. He’s especially excited about a gazpacho he dreamed up with white corn and avocado: “The jalapeno oil gives a spice in the back of the throat,” he says.

Yummy. But how do you break into an already-crowded Downtown dinner scene? Well, having people already in the building—because they’re staying overnight—sure doesn’t hurt. And DeLoach says the historic ambience is something not many restaurants can offer. We concur; it’s a neat feeling to walk into a place in your own town and get the feeling you’re on a weekend getaway. If you want to escape, make a reservation; even for eating, there’s limited room at the Inn.

Dance for the cause

When a fire broke out on Lewis Mountain Road on March 18, it claimed the life of 25-year-old Brett Quarterman and severely burned Ashley Mauter, who was his girlfriend as well as an employee at Rapture. This is a bad situation, folks: Mauter has been in the hospital ever since. Her buddies at the restaurant would like to ease the financial pressure, so they’re putting on a benefit on May 3.

“I would like to raise at least $10,000 or more,” says Rob Bedford, a Rapture manager. The restaurant will match whatever money comes in the door (a $10 donation is requested). What do you get if you attend, besides knowing you’re helping out? Well, you get a Man Mountain Jr. show, dance sets by Sketchy, and a silent auction for stuff like Zocalo gift certificates and Starr Hill brewery tours. The good deeds begin at 9pm.

Gear shift

Mod, the Elliewood Avenue spot we told you about back in December, has changed focus: Rather than a café, it’s now more of a gallery. Proprietor Derek Breen says he’d like to try again to serve food beginning in the fall semester.

Got some restaurant scoop? Send tips to restaurantarama@c-ville.com or call 817-2749, Ext. 48.

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