Bistro-inspired restaurant comes to Main Street
Surprisingly, the pandemic has not been as devastating to the local restaurant scene as some had predicted. While there have been a handful of closures, and while nearly everyone in the industry has felt the squeeze, many businesses have found ways to adapt, with curbside service, take-out, and delivery. Not to mention the long-called-for expansion of curbside dining and patio seating.
Some new restaurants have even chosen to establish themselves and open the doors for the first time in the midst of it all.
“I don’t think there’s ever a great time to throw your whole life savings into something, especially in the middle of a giant pandemic,” laughs Matthew Adams, who opened Still Waters Restaurant with his wife, Katie, in December. “We are either dumb, or we heard a higher calling. I had an opportunity to get out of corporate America, and we’d always wanted to have our own business and something where we could give back to the community and share God’s love.”
“We really feel like we were led to this space and the people we’ve encountered,” agrees Katie. Still Waters opened in downtown Hendersonville in the former home of the highly lauded but short-lived French Broad. “Each step has felt really guided and has been really great.”
“I was talking to someone about it and he said, ‘God doesn’t always call the qualified,’” says Matthew, acknowledging that while he and Katie do have experience in the service industry, neither of them have been chefs or have run a restaurant in the past. Until recently, Katie was a teacher and Matthew worked in corporate staffing. “But running a restaurant is a whole different thing altogether. We’ve learned a lot in the last few months.”
When one is not an expert, one must call in the experts, which is how the Adamses wound up naming Nathaniel Sargent as head chef. An Asheville native, Sargent was previously the executive chef at The Cliffs, Season’s at Highland Lake Inn, and sous chef at Stoney Knob Cafe and the Biltmore Bistro. “He was really excited to come build some roots here in Hendersonville, and to help build our vision,” says Katie.
With Sargent, the Adamses have built their menu around Southern foods and ingredients that skew toward European-bistro methods and service. Start out with a smoked-trout plate served with scratch-made potato chips, crème fraîche, fried capers, and a preserved egg yolk. Or if that’s not your speed, you could always ease into the meal with a pimento-cheese-and-grits spread topped with bacon and served with a house-made pita.
For lunch, you might try the Croque Monsieur — a take on the classic French sandwich with country ham, gruyère cheese, Mornay sauce, and local Lusty Monk mustard. Or their brisket burger, made with house-ground brisket.
Tender short ribs served atop stone-ground grits with a zesty gremolata tops the dinner menu. There’s also chicken braised in a ham-broth sauce with red bell peppers and a scratch-made biscuit. Or pan-seared trout with crispy black-eyed peas and fines herbes.
“We wanted a place where we would feel comfortable going with our kids, but where we would also feel comfortable going on a date night,” explains Matthew. “We’re in the South, and we love Southern food, so we wanted to pay homage to that. Our chef has a lot of French culinary training, and so we wanted to give him the chance to put those kind of touches on it. We wanted it to be good, approachable, affordable food that still gives you the chance to branch out.”
Still Waters Restaurant, 342 North Main St., Hendersonville, serving lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30am-8pm. For more information, call 828-595-9797 or visit “Still Waters Restaurant” on Facebook.