Monday, June 2, 2008

a great addition to uptown charlotte

i stumbled across the following article this morning
& think it's amazing addtion to our city!
click here to read it online

Uptown to get nonprofit restaurant
Staff may come from streets; proceeds will help the poor

07:32 AM EDT on Monday, June 2, 2008
By JEFF ELDER / The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A renowned Charlotte chef and restaurateur plans to open a new place backed by top names. The venture is in good faith, but its never going to make money. And that's the point.

Jim Noble, the minister and chef behind the upscale Noble's and trendy Rooster's -- both in SouthPark -- plans to open a not-for-profit restaurant this winter in uptown Charlotte.

The King's Kitchen will employ, train and minister to troubled youth, graduates of rehabilitation programs and the unemployed. Noble also runs a nonprofit evangelical Christian organization and for years has fed the poor and held fundraisers at his restaurants.

Now, instead of giving a man a fish, he wants to teach him to fish. Or at least to serve it with a glass of sweet tea.

"My business and spiritual life go hand in hand," Noble says. "And one of the things I know is how to run a restaurant."

Noble plans to serve "local, healthy, comfort food at a medium price" at a to-be-determined location uptown beginning in the winter. "We'll have four or five meats and 10 or 15 vegetables," he says. Professional chefs will prepare the meals.

The King's Kitchen will serve "the best pan-fried chicken in the Southeast," says Noble, whose chicken dishes are a hallmark of Rooster's.

Noble foresees the place being open for lunch and dinner six or seven days a week.

You might not see much difference between the King's Kitchen and other down-home places. But the staff will include bus boys and waiters who might have recently been on the street, and the profits go to help the poor.

He says he needs $500,000- $600,000 to start the King's Kitchen. There is a similar restaurant in New Orleans called Café Reconcile, which Noble says helped serve as a model.

Charlotte's biggies are coming out to support the unusual venture: Honorary chairs include schools chief Peter Gorman and his wife, Sue. Panthers players and Coach John Fox are also helping out.

Cammie and Dee-Dee Harris, who have supported Charlotte charities with the fortune they made in Bojangles' and other fast-food franchises, are squarely behind Noble's effort.

"It's just the right thing to do," says Cammie Harris. "Jim is not your normal restaurateur. He's trying to help the people least fortunate in our city, and we want to help him."

Noble says giving the less fortunate a place to work will give them hope.

"Sometimes these folks have reached a place where God is all they've got," he says. There will be one key difference from many restaurants he says. "We won't serve alcohol."

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