A Southern Season|
Story and Photos by Kathleen Walls -
American Roads Travel Magazine
The Ultimate Candy Bar
One place I had
to visit in Chapel Hill was A Southern Season. I had heard a little about it but I
wasnt prepared for what assaulted my senses when I walked in. I was submersed in FOOD; gourmet
food, beautiful food, raw food, cooked food, wine, chocolate, exotic spices and oils, any
gadget or cookware. I resisted the displays of Chocolates It
wasnt easy but I did it. I was going to be on the road for more than a week with no
way to refrigerate the stuff and I probably would have wolfed it all down in a day anyway.
I decided to bring back some olives and pickles. Sounds like that would be an easy choice,
right? Wrong. There were shelves of each that seemed to stretch for miles. Well maybe not
quite miles but it seemed like that. I had never seen so many different kinds of pickles.
I thought in terms of sweet, kosher, dill and maybe a few others. There were dozens of
choices here. Same with any other item I looked at. All in all, the store has 60,000 sq.
ft of delectable delights. The late Craig Claiborne labeled A Southern Season "wall
to wall and floor to ceiling, a visual and gustatory delight."
Oh, what a BLT!
I could have
browsed all day but I had a schedule. At least the schedule allowed me time to sample the
lunch menu at their restaurant, Weathervane. My
choice was Fried Green Tomato BLT on seven-grain bread with apple wood-smoked bacon, basil
aļoli and baby greens. Served with -what elses- Southern Fried Sweet Potatoes. It
was a hard choice as there were such other options as Prosciutto di Parma and Melon,
comprised of thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma on a strawberry-melon salad with a
mango coulis or a cheese plate with some of the most interesting cheeses I had ever seen.
|The oh so southern weathervane.
The Weathervane grew
along with the store, which started with a practically nonexistent budget in 1975. The
brainchild of Michael Cooper Barefoot, it began life as
Chapel Hills first fresh-roasted coffee shop. The coffee was produced on their
antique gas fired roaster. The shop was tiny, 800 sq. feet. When they moved to a slightly
larger space three years later, they had no signs so they placed a few tables in front to
mark the entrance. Patrons soon began occupying all the tables and requesting more take
out items. The simple café metamorphosed into a full service restaurant and a coffee and
wine bar. Gradually it evolved into the beautiful facility I enjoyed on my visit. One
thing you may notice about the restaurants trademark weathervane, all the arrows
point south. That is their way of saying that you will find the best of southern
A Southern Season
PO Box 2678
Chapel Hill, NC 27515
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