This entry could appear on a food blog, or the travel section, or the faith pages of any paper. I just returned from having a fabulous meal at the King’s Kitchen in Charlotte, NC and agree with the other customer I overheard, “I can’t wait to come back here.”
The King’s Kitchen is “a feast for the soul” in more ways than initially meet the eye. Located in the heart of downtown Charlotte, this upscale restaurant is the vision of Chef Jim Noble, one of North Carolina’s celebrity chefs and restaurateurs (from the French for restorer, not just owner of a restaurant). Chef Noble is also a pastor and founder of Restoration Word Ministries, along with his wife Karen. As they say on their site,
“The King’s Kitchen is a new recipe to help fight hunger around Charlotte and the world. It is an outreach of Restoration Word Ministries. Through the years the ministry has grown and expanded with a partnership with Jim Noble Restaurants to feed the hungry in several counties of NC each Thanksgiving. With the addition of The King’s Kitchen the dream of feeding God’s sheep daily is becoming a reality.”
The pan-fried chicken was fabulous, the fried catfish over grits and stewed tomatoes were mouth-watering and the butter bean cake was a terrific upcoming addition to the menu. Their New Southern Local Cuisine takes a step toward healthier (there’s no fatback in the collard greens) and does a great job in tapping into the local produce and foods of Carolina farmers (something encouraged by USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative). Great food and exceptional service will keep people coming back. But its mission will ensure that people are served more than just a good meal.
All of the profits from the restaurant’s patrons and sponsors are used to feed the hungry in the Queen City, surrounding communities and other parts of the world. More than that, the employees are often testaments to a helping hand and share Chef Noble’s passion for feeding hungry people. The Executive Chef who was once homeless and unemployed, who went out of his way to make sure a dishwasher got into a rehabilitation program when he needed it.
I’ll be working with Chef Noble to connect him with USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, to perhaps serve as a vendor for summer programs that need a way of providing meals for kids when school isn’t in session.
If your travels take you to Charlotte, you might look at the King’s Kitchen. And if your passion is for feeding hungry people, take a look at this unique model of a profitable restaurant that serves a great meal while serving those in more ways than you can say the food was delicious.
Please send comments or questions about this blog to collaborate (at) usda.gov
Max Finberg serves as the Director of the USDA Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships