Inspired by restaurants along the Carolina coasts, this Breeze offers seasonal “Carolina Chic,” comfort food enlivened by a modern-day culinary flair. The Fitzgeralds bring an understanding of incorporating farm-fresh ingredients into their offerings, and bring an impressive combined culinary pedigree to their newest endeavor.
“We wanted Southern Breeze to be all of our favorite restaurants, rolled into one,” says Melody Fitzgerald, who served as pastry chef at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, working directly for of James Wagner and Dean Fearing. Her husband Daniel, who honed his high-end fine dining skills working at luxury hotels in Maine, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas, agrees.
“Fine dining is vastly misunderstood these days,” observes Fitzgerald. “a restaurant doesn’t have to be fussy and expensive to present beautiful, well-sourced and nicely-prepared food.”
Fitzgerald, who was multi-unit general manager at the Brown Palace Hotel inDenver, a AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four-Star hotel, gained his knowledge of North Carolina food and service style as director of restaurants for the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club.
A native Texan, he was part of the opening team at Tillman’s Roadhouse in Fort Worth and worked as general manager of Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine in Fort Worth. He received his bachelor of business administration degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and completed his food and beverage internship with Morton’s of Chicago Steakhouse in Dallas.
Obviously, there’s no shortage of skill and experience between these two.
I stopped in for lunch yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the bright, cheery and decidedly upscale take on shabby chic, along with some rich, dark, Sherry-laced French onion soup and a beautifully composed salad of roasted chicken, crumbled goat cheese, spiced pecans and fresh blackberries drizzled with a luscious blackberry vinaigrette. The salad, artfully arranged in a tin ware bucket nearly big enough to bathe in, was a bit difficult to navigate – but I hope they don’t change the charming presentation, even though they may get some complaints about it.
But there’s nothing else to complain about here, where entrees come with a bit of lagniappe in the form of “sides” like cheese straws, sweet potato biscuits, apple slaw, fruit and cheese skewers with a delicious dipping sauce (I drizzled mine on the blackberry chicken salad; the combination of flavors was divine) and the tiny kitchen yields up food that really does remind you of home – wherever home is – only better.
Relaxing in the warm hospitality of a well-planned restaurant concept where Southern charm abounds, I must admit to being one happy camper.
Speaking of camping, Southern Breeze is big on takeout, and will put up a nice picnic basket’s worth of goodies for you to take out on your boat, into the woods for a feast – or back to the office for a yummy afternoon repast.