“Big changes ahead for NC’s beloved – and iconic – restaurant, Crook’s Corner” READ ARTICLE
“Meet the new chef of Crook’s Corner, the third in the storied restaurant’s history” READ ARTICLE
Crook’s Corner was opened in 1982 by Gene Hamer and the late Bill Neal. Chef Neal’s unique approach to Southern dishes and his first cookbook, Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking, attracted national attention. A rave review by Craig Claiborne in the New York Times put the restaurant on the culinary map.
Bill Smith became chef of Crook’s Corner in 1992. He has continued to serve Bill Neal’s signature dishes, as well as to make his own mark in contemporary Southern cuisine. His cookbook, Seasoned in the South, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Food and Wine Best Book. Smith has twice been a finalist for the James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast Award. In 2011 the James Beard Foundation honored Crook’s Corner with the coveted America’s Classic Award.
After 37 years, Gene Hamer will retire in 2019. Bill Smith will become chef emeritus, with time to continue his career as a cookbook author. A new team headed by veteran bartender-restauranteurs Shannon Healy and Gary Crunkleton will carry on the tradition. In the kitchen will be Asheville chef Justin Burdett, whose extensive résumé includes Hugh Acheson’s 5 & 10 in Athens, Georgia. Healy, the owner of Alley Twenty Six, an upscale cocktail bar and restaurant in Durham, NC, was formerly the general manager of Crook’s and knows it well. Crunkleton is the owner of The Crunkleton cocktail bar in Chapel Hill, and is expanding his domain to Charlotte. A new era dawns!
For more information on Crook’s Corner, please visit www.crookscorner.com.