By Timothy G. Beeman II
On February 28, popular downtown Winston-Salem restaurant, Hutch & Harris, will celebrate their ninth anniversary. Why that date? Because it is Fat Tuesday. It doesn’t matter on which date Fat Tuesday falls on each year, that’s the anniversary of Hutch & Harris. Nine years later, they have become a staple for downtown dining and nightlife.
In August, 2015, owner Greg Richardson opened the Side Bar a large extension to the restaurant that doubles the size, adds extra dining seating, a raw bar and an impressive libations bar. The Side Bar offers fresh-shucked oysters, steamed mussels, craft cocktails, an extensive wine list and a unique craft beer menu. The Side Bar is open during the day for lunch, as well. It is not unusual to see lunching folks in suits and ties sitting a table, or even a few bar stools, away from diners in hardhats and hard-toed boots.
About the atmosphere and mission of Hutch & Harris, Richardson said, “we’re here to provide Winston-Salem with a ‘confident’ restaurant. They want a place they will know what they’ll get; that they’re familiar with.” He also said that it is an establishment that younger patrons can enjoy and the older ones, as well.
The Side Bar is well lit, with ample space and comfortable seating. There is a small lounge area that separates the casual, intimate dining room from the festive and wide-open bar area. In that lounge, there are a few video games/pinball machine to entertain those so inclined. And, speaking of fun and games, Hutch & Harris has trivia every Monday, 7:30-9:30pm. They also pipe in music to the Side Bar area. They do not offer live music, as there are plenty of other places in town for that. They want to concentrate on creating a communicative atmosphere and the piped music allows for better conversation and it does not take up extra space that could be used for patrons.
They have a nice outdoor seating area right on the bustling sidewalks of Fourth Street. There’s plenty of people watching and you can enjoy the food and beverages that Hutch & Harris offer. They have a new pergola that they’ve installed to add some ambience to the patio and even have a sun screen to block the sun during the few hours that the sun beams down onto those seats. It’s a well maintained area.
Richardson said that chef Lucas McGill and his staff have recently changed the menu mixing a bit of the old with the new. Classics such as their Moravian Chicken Pie and the El Kentucky sandwich are definitely still on the menu. It would probably create a public outcry of foul (or is it fowl?) to remove those items. New items include a nice hummus, crab-stuffed shrimp, a ribeye steak, a tuna steak, new Greek items and new prime beef burgers. Richardson said that customers were responding well to the new menu.
Manager Kirsten Olson says that the great advantage that Hutch & Harris has is how approachable they are. “Burgers, entrees, seafood and so on… We try to be everything our customers want us to be [in a restaurant],” she said. And, the menu is extensive but it is not confusing; it is pretty straight forward. That approachability doesn’t stop with the food, either. Olson explained, “We are very much like a family. We are lucky to have the staff that we do, who are equally committed to the success of this place as we are.” That, she said, contributes to the friendly atmosphere of the bar.
Olson recapped a few charities and causes that Hutch & Harris has supported and continues to support today: the Winston-Salem Symphony, WS Chamber, Piedmont Craftsmen, Summit School, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity and several animal rights groups.
Olson also wanted to make sure the customers were thanked properly. “We want our loyal customers to know how much we appreciate them. We were one of the first places in this (current) era of downtown and since then, plenty of others have opened. But, our customers keep coming back. We want them to know how much they mean to Greg and his staff.”
On February 28, Hutch & Harris is having specials all day. It will be a New Orleans-themed party with NOLA-inspired food. You are all invited. You can try their new menu, have a beverage and enjoy the nightlife at Hutch & Harris by visiting them at 420 W Fourth Street. It’s not just their anniversary, it’s a celebration of them and their customers. You can also find them and their menu at www.hutchandharris.com.
By Timothy G. Beeman II