Greensboro as a whole, and Spring Garden Street in particular, are home to some of the greatest restaurants North Carolina has to offer. As a young foodie myself, non native to this half of the I-85, I have made it my mission over my four years at UNCG to explore all that Greensboro has to offer the culinary world. Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to food. I put melted butter on a pop tart and called it tasty. And it is. Given this, I’d like to think that maybe I know when something is pleasing to those taste buds we all have, and maybe that is enough to give a recommendation.
Recently a new restaurant by the name of “Not Your Ordinary” Gate City Provisions has joined the ranks of Spring Garden restaurants. Insert joke here about it being out of the ordinary in goodness. This restaurant boasts an assortment of dishes from Bahn Mi, to Mediterranean, soy and tuna. And they do them all unpretentiously and well. The kicker of this restaurant is their house-roasted meats. That’s right, all of their meat is roasted in-house.
The joint’s open sign beckoned to me on a few occasions. Yet, feeling rather unadventurous, I kept on condemning myself to the known safe options (a rather pathetic move for a self-proclaimed foodie). And what a condemnation it was. Instantly upon my arrival I was greeted with the sweet sounds of Willie Nelson and the Highwaymen. (In fact, I heard several covers in there that I have since added to my personal playlists). Up to the counter I strolled. Having absolutely no idea what to order, I was grateful for the indecision of the customers in front of me. The menu was extremely varied, with food at almost anybody’s price point. Ranging from chicken salad, to soy and citrus chicken breast, to Mediterranean pita, to New Orleans style gumbo and Vietnamese Banh Mi, I was taken aback by the amount this restaurant was trying to do. I went with the Banh Mi, settled up, got my number, fixed myself a glass of water and plopped down with a beautiful view of Spring Garden, the sweet sounds mentioned before still playing.
Within 10 minutes, my food was in front of me, piping hot: Delicious crunchy french fries, fried just the right way, and a Bahn Mi like I have never had before. The homemade sauce emulsified the inner layer of bread and combined perfectly with the pork, all for an absolute melt-in-your-mouth flavor. This paired nicely with the crispiness of the french fries and the acidity of the house-made pickle. All in all, it was a fantastic dish. It must’ve taken me less than five minutes to scarf it down: I simply could not stop the ravenous hunger that was spurred on by that first bite.
The only thing that did get me to stop was the owner, who was coming around to all the tables, checking to make sure that his food was up to the customers’ tastes. This is something that I don’t believe I have ever seen in another restaurant before or since. Of course, a waiter or waitress will always come and ask how the food is (I do this myself in my job), but to have the owner of the restaurant—presumably a man so intimately familiar with the recipes and preparation of the food—to take the time out of his hectic kitchen life (and life in the kitchen is hectic), was very respectable. To come and visit with his tables was an unexpected and ever-appreciated gesture of goodwill in fine dining that one cannot forget.