Young Cardinal Cafe: Rolling with the Punches in Style
By Kristen Margo Daukas
When Winston-Salem restauranteur Adam Andrews developed the concept of his solo venture, Young Cardinal Cafe, it was to give the city a new and different breakfast joint. Located in the space formerly occupied by Hutch and Harris, Young Cardinal Cafe offers patrons breakfast and lunch options between 8:00 – 3:00 and then came a twist… the restaurant would close at 3:00 and then REOPEN at 9:30 pm so they could offer a smaller menu that would cater to the late-night bar crowd until 2:30 am – something that no one else was doing in the downtown area.
Working with Chef David Swing, the two devised a menu as unique as the concept. Diners could get a classic all American breakfast and then give it a twist and add things like pulled pork, fried chicken, or pimento cheese. Fan of eggs benedict? They had four variations. Bloody Mary your go-to brunch cocktail? Young Cardinal Cafe has five different versions to choose from as well as boozy coffees to get – or keep – you going.
Young Cardinal Cafe opened its doors on February 28, 2020, and quickly became a favorite downtown spot. That is until COVID-19 showed up and ruined everyone’s party. Like many other restaurant owners, Andrews and Swing had to quickly adjust in order to stay afloat until things could start to reopen. In addition to take-out and curbside service, they also offered grocery service to offer residents the opportunity to purchase items that were becoming difficult to find in grocery stores such as vegetables, meats, dairy, and the coveted symbol of COVID-19: toilet paper and paper towels. This service was also helpful for those who didn’t want to risk going to the grocery stores initially. Each week, they created family dinners for customers to order that included the main entree, sides, and dessert – everything you needed to have a Young Cardinal Cafe experience at home!
Now that we’re into phase 2 of opening the state back up, Andrews and Swing are once again shifting their business model (and menu) to accommodate diners who want to eat in. Their breakfast and lunch hours remain the same: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm but instead of the 2nd shift being for late-night, it’s now for regular dinner hours of 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. For the short term, you won’t see their regular menu. Instead, diners will have a daily selection of small plates to choose from. A sampling of what those could look like are Trio of Dips, Shrimp Ceviche Lettuce Wraps, Spicy Goat Cheese Meatballs, Beef Tenderloin Flatbread, etc. Like other restaurants, you will see new safety precautions in place such as disposable menus and limited seating.
In addition to Young Cardinal Cafe, Andrews is a partner in three other establishments: Dogwood Hops & Crops, The Trophy Room, and Jeffrey Adams. Of those, only Jeffrey Adams will be allowed to open during phase 2, and plans were underway at print time to reopen that. Dogwood has continued to offer delivery and pick up at the storefront and due to customers not being able to come in, currently is offering their to-go beers at an impressive 30% off. With more than 250 different kinds of beer from NC and beyond, if you’re a beer lover show them some support and save yourself some money at the same time! As mentioned earlier, it will be phase 3 before either Dogwood or The Trophy Room will be able to open their doors to guests.
It’s hard on all of us to see our favorite places struggling right now to stay in business. It seems every day we’re getting news of another place having to shut down due to COVID-19. The only way we, as consumers, can have a hand in this NOT happening is to continue to support these places with our business. If you’re not ready to sit in a restaurant then order take out. Buy a gift card. Send them a donation. Anything will help right now. Our community is full of amazing places owned by creative and amazing people. Let’s show them how much they mean to us.