Westfield residents have a new option for restaurant dining, Big Creek Lodge at Luna's Trail Farm and Event Center.
Daniel Wilson bought the 350-acre property — part of the former Dearmin Farm — about 10 years ago and built a center for weddings and other special events.
He then decided to build a second building for more events, this time adding a kitchen so that he could offer catering services for events. Big Creek Lodge was finished in February. It has nine rooms for overnight guests on the second floor in addition to a large kitchen, dining room, bar area and private event rooms. Windows and a large patio offer stunning views of Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock.
Even at half capacity to meet COVID-19 guidelines, the lodge can accommodate over 200 people.
The property also has three three-bedroom cabins. And the kitchen at Big Creek was designed to offer breakfast and other meals for overnight guests. But Wilson has opened it up to the public, turning Big Creek into a popular restaurant destination for locals and out-of-town visitors. With a lot of space for social distancing and less than an hour from Winston-Salem, it also serves as a nice little getaway spot for people in the surrounding area.
Wilson hired chef Mark Thrower to head the kitchen at big Creek. Thrower most recently was the chef at the Millennium Center — another event venue that has been left empty by the coronavirus epidemic.
Opening Big Creek to the public was a way for Wilson to recoup some lost revenue for the many events that were canceled this spring and summer. "We've just been very fortunate to have the ability to flip an event center into a restaurant," Wilson said.
Thrower offers a classic breakfast in the mornings, and then a mix of sandwiches and entrees for lunch and dinner.
Entrees include Lexington BBQ smoked half chicken ($13), grilled ribeye steak ($19), salmon with honey citrus soy butter ($16) and braised pork shoulder with country ham and tomato gravy ($14).
"It's American food with Southern twist," Thrower said.
Other items include fish and chips ($12) and Carolina burger with chili, mustard and slaw ($12). Desserts made in-house include chocolate ganache cake with salted-caramel drizzle and pumpkin bread pudding. The restaurant also has permits to sell beer and wine.
"One of my goals here is by next season to use a lot of the resources around here," Thrower said. "We're in the middle of farm country. Minglewood (Farm and Nature Preserve) is right around the corner. There's an heirloom apple orchard up here."
When Thrower arrived in July, he added a dinner menu and hours. Now the restaurant is attracting customers who seem to appreciate having a new option in the area.
"We've starting to get a decent crowd. Sundays can be almost as busy as Saturday, with people coming before or after church," Thrower said.
Wilson said he's pleased with how things have turned out. "We had no idea there would be this much interest in the restaurant," he said. "Now I see all my neighbors on a regular basis because they're coming over here to eat."
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