~ love letter ~
The Spring House existed in spirit long before we opened its doors...
When the initial idea for Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar came to me, I had just completed Leadership Winston-Salem which was all about setting goals and seeing how and where you could contribute your talents. I'd been producing events for Winston-Salem's downtown partnership, which I dearly loved. Our baby, Vance, was headed off to college. I began to think about the next stage in my life.
As an avid runner, I'd run and think, ponder and percolate. A vision began to emerge of a beautiful gathering place that connected people in our community. A year went by and I hadn't put a thing on paper. At that point it was still all in my head. Then one day I asked my husband Lynn to go for a walk. Instead of going through our neighborhood, where we always walked, we turned down Fourth Street. I began telling him my idea to create a destination that would honor our city's history and how I wanted to open this place in Downtown Winston-Salem to continue the revitalization.
Lynn had an office building on the corner of Fourth and Spring Streets that would eventually become Chef Tim's award-winning Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar. However at that time, I considered it for the original location of Spring House. We turned the corner and walked north on Spring Street. In all of our walks, we had never walked that way. And there it was, this majestic Southern mansion with a "For Sale" sign out front. Lynn said, "That's it. That's your place. I really believe you can make this happen."
I was overwhelmed by the size of the building, half a block long and that it went unnoticed, tucked away just enough to feel intimate but centrally located in the heart of downtown.
You get to a point in your life when you just know things. You can just feel when something clicks into place. I had no business going down this road, yet it just felt so comfortable right from the start. I had faith that I could find the resources and surround myself with people who knew a lot more than I did. Most of all, I knew I could find that one partner who would understand and share my vision.
I'd known Chef Tim for a while, since he was our Celebrity Chef at Winston's annual Salute Wine Festival, and I knew he was well-respected as Regional Executive Chef running the Twin City Quarter. We would gather frequently with our fabulous event planning committee to discuss the wine festival at a local watering hole called 6th & Vine. His stories of his culinary adventures captivated me and his passion for his craft inspired me. Next thing I knew, Chef Tim was tapped for an incredible new position in Missouri, and we lost touch for a about a year and a half. On Christmas morning, 2010, when my wonderful husband presented me with the deed to the dilapidated A.H. Bahnson House, I knew my dream could become reality. But to make it happen, I needed my strong partner -- and I immediately thought of Chef Tim. A few days later, I emailed Chef Tim and in the subject line, I simply wrote:
"Do you miss Winston-Salem?"
He called right away. The timing was eerie. To come back to Winston full-time, he would have to leave this mega-job where he had a really great position. But he was ready to take this leap of faith with me. For eight months he commuted back and forth from his St. Louis gig during the grueling renovation. The house we spent at Camino Bakery, Chelsea's Coffee Shop, and the Old Winston Social Club, planning our joint vision for Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar will always be some of my most special memories.
Most of all, in this upscale, comfortable environment, we wanted to honor the house itself. I steeped myself in Winston-Salem history, including the Bahnson's who built Spring House as their home and the Reynolds, the family who shaped the city for generations to come.
I'll never forget the day I realized our project had officially become Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar and we were ready to open. I was running. When I ran past it, I burst into tears from the sheer joy and culimation of hard work we had all infused into this special place.
In our early discussions about how to frame the house and the menu, I knew Chef Tim was really good. I don't think I fully realized the extent of his skills and passion until I saw it firsthand in the faces of our guests. I remember the first menu like it was yesterday, in cadence with Mother Nature, with a sense of the Grandinetti humor and whimsy I'd come to know and love. As we roll out a new meny with each season, we continue to challenge ourselves, all the while mindful of that original concept.
I am so proud of this place and it has really become a life's dream for me. Even after all this time, I touch every table and every chair, every day at Spring House. We love to see guests captivated, alive with anticipation that something special is about to happen.
I am excited for YOU to discover a glimpse of Chef's beautiful mind that gives Spring House its indelible spirit. For those of you who are meeting Spring House for the first time, please consider this note an invitation to come on in, relax and linger for a while.