Hutch and Harris is a restaurant located at 424 West Fourth Street in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The menu and restaurant are excellent and the pictures provided were taken from an actual recent dining experience. The story itself is fictional (I like to take some experiences at these local paragons and weave them into this new fabricated story about Lucy).
Food: <3 <3 <3 <3 Local color: <3 <3 <3 <3
Downtown Winston Salem still slept, recovering from ushering in the New Year. Lucy St. James climbed out of her twelve year old silver Ford Focus, the echo of the door reverberating down Fourth Street. Glancing down at her watch, the daisies ticked toward seven—she was a few minutes early.
“You’re supposed to kiss him!” the photographer’s flash illuminated the night air. She steadied it on her shoulder as she called out to the couple in the middle of the crosswalk. Lucy laughed, and the photographer exchanged glances with her. “I guess they didn’t get the memo.”
“Guess not. Cute shot though,” Lucy said. The couple hurried to the other side of the street as the light turned and traffic started moving again.
“Yes, as long as they don’t get hit,” the photographer laughed and waved as Lucy crossed the street. The couple was coming back to the middle of the other crosswalk when Lucy passed them. The girl’s foot popped up behind her as she kissed her fiancé, diamond ring sparkling in the white twinkle lights still strung over Hutch and Harris’ awning.
The patio, deserted in January, spread open and welcome as Lucy sidestepped the metal anchors and entered the downtown restaurant.
“Welcome to Hutch and Harris.” The host stood behind the podium, showing his straightened teeth.
“Good evening,” Lucy smiled and tossed one of her black braids over her shoulder. “I have a reservation for seven—under St. James.”
“Ah, yes. We have you all set up, Ms. St. James, right this way.”
“Thank you.” Lucy followed the host back to the booth on the left side of the restaurant. Normally Hutch and Harris was a buzz of activity—but it was still early.
“The specials for this evening,” he handed her a printed page. “Your server will be right with you.”
Lucy smiled, glancing down at the dancing daisies again. Katie, Phoebe and Tia would be here soon. Her favorite part of the holidays was getting together with her friends—they didn’t get to see each other often enough now that they lived in different cities and—
“Lucy!” Tia tumbled into the other side of the booth. “I can’t believe how great you look. What a great restaurant, great choice.”
“Hey, Tia,” Lucy barely got the greeting out before Katie’s infectious laugh filled the restaurant. Lucy could feel the smile spreading from one side of her face to the other. “Well, that makes three of four. Where’s Phoebe?”
She’s not going to make it,” Katie tossed her phone on the table and shrugged out of her coat. “Stephen isn’t feeling well. She said to make sure to order the crabcake sandwich in honor of her.”
“Oh crabcakes,” Tia grabbed the menu and began reading out loud. “That sounds divine. With mac and cheese. Y-to the um.”
“I’ll pass,” Lucy took the menu from Tia and perused it herself. She didn’t particularly care for seafood. “But El Kentucky looks pretty good—fried chicken, pico de gallo—can’t really go wrong with that.”
“And I bet they come with pickles.”
“I love pickles.”
Katie laughed. “I know.”
“Good evening, ladies. My name is Saul and I’ll be your cruise director this evening—to start off our slate of activities can I get you some wine? It’s Thirsty Thursday—1/2 price on our bottles.”
“Oh that sounds great—“ Katie grabbed the wine menu. “What about the Gugenheim?”
“Great choice.” He winked, then said, “Waters all around.”
The girls nodded and he bounded off.
“He’s pretty nice looking,” Katie said. She lifted an aristocratic brow and elbowed Lucy.
“Katie!” Lucy rolled her eyes. Tapping her fingers on the table, she couldn’t help but compare her left hand to that of her friends—a noticeably bare hand. “I’m not looking for a date here.”
“I’m just saying,” she shrugged her shoulders. “How’s work?”
“Nice segue,” Tia laughed, taking the wine now proffered to her.
“Work’s—work,” Lucy shrugged. “And this wine is phenomenal.”
“Has a nice peppery taste,” Katie smacked her lips together before sitting her wine glass back on the table. Tia swirled her wine around in the glass.
“Have we decided what we want ladies?” Saul asked. He came to the table—no pad, but with a professional smile that told the ladies he knew what he was doing.
Tia ordered the crabcake, mac and cheese combo, Lucy had El Kentucky with sweet potato fries while Katie went with the special—a duck with a spicy glaze and wasabi sauce.
“Your mouth is going to be on fire,” Lucy shook her head as Saul walked away.
“I like it hot, what can I say,” Katie shrugged.
“Oh, what would Jaime say to that?” Tia arched a brow.
“I imagine he knows all about it,” Lucy commented.
“Luce!” Katie looked at her appalled.
“What? My filter starts shutting down after four,” Lucy laughed. “Besides, I’m turning thirty this year. I have some kind of right to unfliter now, right?”
“We’re all turning thirty,” Tia commented. “We should do something.”
“Nothing we can do,” Katie shrugged.
“What, I’m not interested in a murder murder suicide thing, so we have to kind of accept it.”
“I meant,” Tia threw her napkin across the table at Katie. “That we should celebrate. Take a trip. Be somewhere tropical with little umbrellas in our drinks or something.”
Lucy sat up straighter, her almond eyes widening a little. “I’m down.”
“What do you think, Katie?” Tia asked. “Could you get away from Jaime and—“
“Baby Boo?” Katie’s laugh rang through the restaurant. “Yeah, I can probably swing it. Jamie can watch Billy.”
“Awesome, we should totally start planning this.”
The food arrived, displayed on white ceramic plates and begging in all its beautiful glory to be eaten.
Lucy’s phone rang.
“Ugh!” Katie groaned swatting at Lucy as she reached for the offending object. “Don’t answer it. We’re eating.”
Lucy looked down at the number. “It’s my sister,” her brow wrinkled. “She doesn’t usually call me.”
“I guess we’ll let it slide this time,” Tia waved her fork, laden with mac and cheese at her. Lucy answered the phone.
“Hello?” Lucy moved the fries around with her fork. Suddenly she stopped playing with the fries. “What? Oh my. Yeah. I can be there in like half an hour.”
“What’s going on?” Katie and Tia looked at Lucy, who was already starting to gather her coat.
“My sister’s water just broke,” Lucy laughed.
“How is everything?” Saul returned to the table, a white cloth napkin now over his shoulder. “That bad? You’re running out on it?”
“Oh no,” Lucy laughed as she pulled on her gloves, “But I do need my check—my sister’s on the way to the hospital and I have to get to her house—the neighbors are watching her son until I get there.”
“Ah,” Saul nodded. “I certainly know the joys of nieces and nephews. I’ll be right back.”
“I thought your sister wasn’t due until February.”
“She wasn’t,” Lucy laughed again and tossed her purse strap over her head. “Guess baby girl was ready to meet the world now.”
“And here is your box,” Saul passed the Styrofoam box to her. “With a little added artistic flair, because otherwise, it’s just a to-go box. And congratulations to your sister.”
“Thanks,” Lucy took the box as Saul walked away. “Katie, can you?” she passed the box over to her, while she pulled out her cash.
“What?” Lucy put her cash in with the check and started to scoot out, but Katie wouldn’t move. “Katie, what is up with you?”
“Looks like you got more than a cartoon on your to-go box,” she opened up the inside further for Lucy to see. Inside was Saul’s name, and his digits.
Katie couldn’t smile any wider.
Lucy slammed the lid to the to-go box down, her face flaming.
“What are you going to do?” Tia asked, kicking Lucy under the table.
“Right now? I’m going to my sister’s,” She pushed Katie out of the booth and headed for the front door, “Call me when you figure out where we’re going.” She said over her shoulder, leaving the restaurant with a flourish—to-go box firmly under her arm.