Famed NASCAR driver Richard Childress broke ground on the main building on his namesake vineyard in Lexington, North Carolina 10 years ago, in the summer of 2004. Just a few short months later, the facility began welcoming guests who were eager to sample his wines, and Childress knew he needed to feed these wine-thirsty masses as well.
The onsite bistro opened in November of the same year, moved to its current location in the building in the enclosed terrace in 2009, and serves a variety of dishes that are indicative of the local fare but have been given an elevated twist. There’s a beautiful fried green tomato appetizer with crispy prosciutto di Parma, spinach chiffonade, and mustard seed ranch. Although I enjoyed nearly everything I ate during my visit to Lexington, after eating almost nothing but barbeque for the two days before my visit to the bistro, I couldn’t have been happier to be eating food that was green. One of my companions ordered the Pimento cheese appetizer with lump crab, house-cured pancetta, herb salad, and grilled flatbread. A local delicacy, this rendition was decadent and delicious, with the crab adding a succulent aspect that played nicely with the appropriately salty pancetta.
The bistro presents a selection of salads, and at least half the people in my 12-person party ordered the honey walnut chicken salad, and all agreed it was light but filling, especially with the seasonal garnish of ripe strawberries. I’ve never met a lobster dish I didn’t like, so I ordered the lobster BLT, which should really be named the lobster BST as it’s served with spinach instead of lettuce. This was a wise decision on the kitchen’s part, as the heartier-than-lettuce spinach gave the sandwich a crisp backbone that held its own against the house-cured bacon and luscious pieces of lobster.
The bistro is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with an optional wine pairing course available after noon. Childress and his hospitable team have made sure that in both his selection of wines and on his vineyard’s bistro menu, there’s sure to be at least one choice for every wine and food lover alike.