Knife and Fork getting new home
SPRUCE PINE — Knife and Fork is getting a new home in downtown Spruce Pine.
The eclectic restaurant on Locust Street will be moving next door to a building owned by the restaurant’s chef and owner, Nate Allen.
Construction and renovation is ongoing, and Allen said he’s gunning for the new space to be ready for the summer season, but that no hard dates have been set.
Knife and Fork has been in its current location — a building owned by Mabel Benjamin — at the west end of Locust Street since it opening in 2009. Allen has owned the building next to Benjamin’s for about three years. It also houses Allen’s cocktail bar, Spoon, which faces Oak Avenue.
“We’ll have the restaurant and bar become one entity,” Allen said this past Friday morning while talking about the move as he busily prepared a meal in Knife and Fork’s kitchen. “I was able to do this about four or five years earlier than I thought. Owning two businesses with different addresses causes a lot of ‘nitpicky’ work.”
Both businesses will retain their current names.
In its new space, Knife and Fork will be on the first floor and face Locust Street with the continued use of the patio seating. The second floor, currently used for office space, will become an employee lounge. Spoon is on the top floor.
Allen said the building’s two balconies will be retrofitted to allow for seating. A concrete pad will be installed in front of the restaurant under the first-floor balcony to allow for more outdoor seating.
Allen anticipates the restaurant’s seating capacity will increase from 40-45 to 55-60 after the move. A walkway will lead from the sidewalk to the restaurant’s entrance and there will be an L-shaped bar inside. Windows will allow a view of the patio.
Patrons will probably be able to order all the menu or drink items whether they’re at the bar or restaurant, Allen said.
“Can’t wait to see it happen,” he said about the finished product.
This year is already shaping up to be his busiest.
“I feel like this is a strike-while-the-iron-is-hot situation,” he said.
Allen credited his success, in part, to support from the community. He said people often ask if he’s going to leave Spruce Pine because of all the recognition he’s received, having been recently nominated for a top culinary award.
“The truth is that the narrative of my success is 50 percent Spruce Pine,” he said. “It’s like what makes me unique is that I’m doing this in Spruce Pine. I really could do this anywhere, but I’m holding hands with Spruce Pine, and I’m investing myself dearly into this town. I’m not going anywhere for a long, long time.”