Charlotte NC’s culinary circles are all abuzz this first week in November. Dave Love, acting general manager of The Asbury and The Dunhill Hotel announced that Chef Mike Long will become Executive Chef for The Asbury restaurant and Culinary Director at The Dunhill Hotel, beginning Nov. 10, 2018. The Asbury is a favorite lunch and dinner destination, located on Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte.
The Asbury opened as the restaurant at the Dunhill Hotel in Uptown Charlotte with a rebrand in 2013. The Asbury’s executive chef then was the talented Chef Chris Coleman, who helped to set the tone and develop relationships with farmers. The mantra of this 40-seat farm to fork restaurant has always been to celebrate the best of what the South has to offer in terms of ingredients, technique, creativity and hospitality. Out of the gate, the menu and concept at The Asbury have been a culinary tribute to Charlotte’s history and its Southern roots, and a celebration of the cultural diversity of the New South.
The Asbury: Where Local Chefs + Local Farmers Share the Spotlight
From the beginning, collaborative dinners at The Asbury have showcased and celebrated the work of chefs, farmers and producers from across the Carolinas. Chefs that take the torch and add their own stamp, building on what came before, is what great transition in a restaurant is all about and that has been the beauty of the culinary team at The Asbury.
Charlotte is a city where chefs come together and the team at The Asbury has been no exception to that. On the food scene in Charlotte since the late 1990s, I have had the pleasure of knowing all of the chefs I mention in this article for years and am proud to include them – and their families – among my friends. I am always delighted to share news and write about the powerful impact each of them has had on the Queen City’s culinary community.
I remember when Chris Coleman started at the McNinch House, just after his graduation from CPCC. From the McNinch House to The Asbury and now at Stoke and the Marriott City Center, Coleman has made his mark, celebrating a love for eating local all along the way.
The Asbury Torch is Passed
Chef Matthew Krenz came to The Asbury in 2014 from the well-known Passion 8, owned by husband and wife team Luca and Jessica Annunziata , where he was a part of a veritable dream team. At the Asbury, Coleman and Krenz played off of each other like local peas and carrots. When Coleman left The Asbury to join Charlotte Marriott City Center in 2016 as the director of culinary experience, Krenz stepped up and took the lead as Executive Chef at The Asbury.
Krenz, named NCRLA Chef of the Year in 2016, is known for his dual role as chef and rancher. His family’s boutique beef ranch supplied beef to the restaurant. Chef Long will continue to serve Krenz Ranch beef at the restaurant.
Under Krenz’s leadership at The Asbury, with Mike Long as Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef Miranda Brown keeping check on the sweeter side of things, the restaurant and its “Modern + Southern” cuisine have been featured at local and regional festivals and by national publications such as USA Today, Food + Wine, and Vogue.
The Asbury’s Newest Member of the Family
Since early this fall, Krenz has added the role of proud papa to his list of accomplishments and along with his wife Rachel are celebrating the joys of parenthood. On November 10, 2018 Krenz moves out of his restaurant kitchen to be a stay-home dad with his sweet daughter Annie.
Chef Matthew Krenz, The Asbury
It has been 4 and a half beautiful years here at The Asbury and one of the most incredible new challenges just fell into my lap – my daughter, who is now a month old! I will always remember this space and the people that have made it what it is today, and look forward to chef Mike Long making his mark. For me, this restaurant has been a vessel to learn, from some of the industries best, and an exciting medium to explore southern food, its limits and its roots.
The Asbury’s Next Exciting Chapter
For Long, like Coleman and Krenz before him, a meal is about the local ingredients on the plate. The menu at The Asbury as been an homage to local farmers since the very beginning.
“Southern food speaks to me with its ingredients. We’re going to be focusing on the beautiful ingredients and letting them sing. That’s what my food is about. I don’t want to put anything in the way of celebrating these ingredients.”Chef Mike Long, Executive Chef The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel, Charlotte NC
A Quick Look Back Before We Move Forward
Growing up in Frederick, Maryland, Mike Long’s grandfather ran a dairy farm now managed by his uncle. As a child, days at the dairy gave Long an appreciation for farming and the land. In high school, he began washing dishes. When a cook didn’t show up one day, he stepped to the stove. Johnson & Wales lured him to Charlotte. He graduated with an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts in 2009.
The longtime Charlotteans among you, will remember a wonderful Spanish concept restaurant, Las Ramblas, perhaps ahead of its time, in Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood. The restaurant was owned by John “JD” Duncan of Bonterra Dining & Wine Room. Well-known Chef Blake Hartwick shaped the menu and the concept. Mike Long was on the line as a part of the culinary team. Later, Long distinguished himself at Bonterra Dining & Wine Room on Chef Blake’s team where he began as a line cook and worked his way up over six years to sous chef. Long joined The Asbury in 2016 as Chef de Cuisine.
On The Menu at The Asbury
Currently the fall menu at The Asbury is in place and diners are coming back for more. There is a lot to love on the one page list of nearly two dozen menu items. I love that you can get any entree or side in a large or small portion. Small enough to create your own tapas style dining experience; or large enough to share.
I heartily recommend the Rice Grits and Fall Vegetables with roasted mushrooms, miso, corn broth, whipped ricotta and Asian greens. A plate that features all locally sourced items – as are the better part of the offerings on The Asbury menu – it’s one of my favorites!
I can’t wait to see what Chef Mike comes up with this holiday season, but until then we’ll continue to enjoy the fabulous fall menu as well as the regular Saturday and Sunday brunch – a popular way to start any weekend in Charlotte.
Eat There Now & Tell Them Heidi Sent You
Located at 235 North Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte, The Asbury is open seven days a week; 11 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 10 PM, Saturday + Sunday. Brunch is served on Saturdays + Sundays. Bar service at The Dunhill Hotel is available during restaurant hours.
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