Heritage Food & Drink preps for Waxhaw opening
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Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013

Heritage Food & Drink preps for Waxhaw opening

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- JOHN ANDERSON
Restaurant owner Paul Verica stands on the terrace of his new restaurant, Heritage Food & Drink, with downtown Waxhaw in the background. The restaurant will open the second weekend in November.
  • Want to go? First Friday in Waxhaw will also include downtown merchant discounts and free carriage rides. For more information on the event, visit www.waxhaw.com.

On Nov. 7-8, restaurant-goers can engage in a new dining experience.

Paul Verica will open Heritage Food & Drink that weekend in the space formerly occupied by the Main Street Grill on West South Main Street.

I met with Verica in September. Construction was in full swing inside the restaurant, so we sat on the terrace that fronts main street, where we could fully appreciate the small town charm that brought him to Waxhaw.

He said he was drawn into the country surrounding Waxhaw, despite his big-city roots. Verica is a Philadelphia native, and he studied at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College there, also receiving a degree in restaurant management from Delaware County Community College. He then went to France to continue his culinary studies and build experience.

Verica came to the Charlotte area as executive chef at the Duke Mansion, and he then spent four years at the Dunhill Hotel. He began his southward migration with an eight-year stint as the executive chef at The Club at Longview, where he also was the food and beverage manager. He had been looking for a space to fulfill his goal of owning and operating a unique restaurant, and when he saw the spot on West South Main, he knew he had found the perfect place.

“Heritage,” the name he has attached to his dream, comes with a concept statement of “… paying homage to the past with an eye on the future.”

“We interpret the word ‘heritage’ by relating it to our food – how we dined and cooked in the past and lived in harmony with the seasons,” Verica said. “We raised ‘heritage’ breeds of livestock and poultry, which roamed free and ate a natural diet. We grew old varieties of fruits and vegetables, which were nurtured by the earth and our hearts. Our vision for the restaurant is to bring our concept of ‘heritage’ to life. ‘Heritage Food & Drink’ – we believe it is a name and a concept with meaning, integrity and heart.”

He then discussed his vision for the restaurant’s ambiance, which he describes as “casual fine dining in a comfortably-elegant atmosphere.”

Verica said he has been scouring local antique shops for vintage china. While the restaurant was still in the rebuilding phase, he was also beginning to look at earth tone paint samples to complement vintage and current photos of Waxhaw, some of which will be on loan from the Museum of the Waxhaws.

His vision is that Heritage will be a restaurant you can come to for date night or to catch up with old friends. Waxhaw has several family dining options, he said, but Heritage’s atmosphere will cater to more grown-up tastes.

Verica added that his family plans to be involved in the new restaurant. Kit Verica, Paul’s wife, will be on hand during the weekends, as will son, Alex, who is applying to culinary schools this fall.

First Friday

In downtown Waxhaw, November will begin with a First Friday celebration.

“Waxhaw’s second annual First Friday Art Crawl is set for Nov. 1 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Local artists will be located throughout town, demonstrating mediums such as clay, oil painting pastels and more,” said Natalie Jackson, the town’s assistant events coordinator. “In addition, there will be a Kids Arbor Extravaganza honoring Waxhaw as a Tree City USA destination … .”

There also will be geocaching for the whole family to enjoy.

“The Small Town Main Street Promotions Committee will hide items in the downtown area that can be found using free geocaching software on smartphones,” Jackson said. “We are going to time it so that folks can hunt during First Friday.

“Inside, they will find special items to keep. Information on geocaching can be obtained at the First Friday information table that night, located at the intersection of N.C. 16 and North Main Street.”

John Anderson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for John? Email him at jafortrel@aol.com.

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