If soul food needed a restaurant it would go for Hops Burger Bar in Greensboro. Or if it's not soul you needed but just simply good food, go to Hops. Or if you needed good food simply done right, eat and drink at Hops.
And that's the thing. It’s good. It’s simple. And it's done right. How did they do it? I wouldn't be able to tell you. It hit me hard when we found ourselves there the other day. Yet again. Of all people our middle daughter asked for it. She is about as picky an eater as they come and here she is diving into the fried cauliflower appetizer. Sweet and sour sauce. There was even a 45 minute wait and nobody cared. We shared a table with another group. We didn't even know what we paid. Why would we?
And that's the thing. It's burgers and beer. How many of those joints have YOU been in? And yet. They do it just right. Consistently. In two entirely different locations. Across a smorgasboard of appetites it hits the spot. Their is no pretentiousness. There is no precision (I think). It's all ease. If you would do burgers. If you'd drink beer. That's how you would do it. Just right. How does one do it?
In the case of Hops, it feels like someone cooking, serving, and pouring burgers and beer from 11 to 11 and going fishing from 11:05 to 10:55. Ain't no thing.
How do they do it? No Fuss. No matter. Just good food and good drink.
Check it out. Here is the first part of their menu:
The North Carolinian has a fried egg on top. Oh my!!
The whole thing. The spaces. The presentation, the quality of food and brew, it is all is done just so. It is dripping of confidence and nonchalance.
Naturally I was wondering about my own work. What if? What if I could bring this same kind of “right” to the table? How does it work?
Do you have to eat your own food? Do you keep it simple? Do you make sure that each of the few pieces are adressed well with room for error? Do you make sure the ingredients are well picked? Do you make sure all members of the crew have space to perform well and within their means? Do you stick to the basics, but consider them just so? Do you keep from getting side-tracted? Do you trust your instincts? Do you trust knowing that what’s good for you is good for others? Do you allow yourself to enjoy the adventure?
YES. The answer has to be and emphatic “yes” to all of that. And more.
It all has to come together with an expert hand and near perfect taste buds. And plenty of ideas of how to bring it all together. Does there have to be that special extra ounce? The talent. Or skill? Who knows. But you know it when you found it. And when you do find it take note.