The Chef and her Restaurant
North Carolina is home to plentiful pastures, lots of southern hospitality, and bountiful spots awaiting discovery. When the economy declined a few years ago, many turned to comfort and cooking. And eating. Family, friends, and food all became significant to better health and entertainment. Farm-to-table eateries, farmers’ markets, finding out where our food comes from…it all became important.
For some, the farm-to-table philosophy has been lifelong while others, just awakened to the concept, have learned to embrace it. Fresh fruit, seafood, vegetables, meat, and knowing the food was grown from within the region. Angelina Kay (Angelina Koulizakis) is one of the fierce farm-to-fork chefs and the namesake of her eatery, Angelina’s Kitchen.
The colorful, offbeat art and her location in Pittsboro, North Carolina, off Rectory Street alongside a barbershop and pet care office give a hint to the character of her casual style. Walking into Angelina’s Kitchen really does feel as if you’ve walked into someone’s kitchen. I love to go inside after walking up the ramp, seeing how the cactus plant is doing, and enjoying the warmth once I’m in the door.
The chaos, everyone talking to one another in the kitchen, and an up close view of the cooking make the trip a genuine foodie experience. Over all the talk and sounds from cooking, one voice is the loudest, and this I love. It’s Angelina—she might be in the corner tweeting her specials, she may be in the pantry/storage area grabbing an ingredient, or she might be cooking, both hands-on. Regardless, no matter how busy or stressed, she greets everyone, and keeps the conversation going. It might be to ask how someone’s son is doing at college or how someone’s grandma is doing and did she like the Avgolemono (Greek chicken soup)?
Greek and New Mexican inspired dishes are straight from her own childhood and the latter where she lived for some time with her husband who works right alongside her in their restaurant. Angelina doesn’t just talk farm food, she really lives it and creates it. The strong relationships she has formed with farmers have propelled her into a special niche that has elevated her eatery and those of her fellow restaurateurs in the region to make her food uber local and the locale a foodie destination. She works with her competitors at festivals, she embraces the farmers beyond just buying their meat and produce. Angelina offers a mini winter farmers’ market once the seasonal farmers’ market ends in November (Pittsboro is home to four farmers’ markets from April through November and Chatham County is home to six total).
Perfection on a plate, seasons on a plate, farm-to-fork…Angelina embraces it all. She’ll serve green chile enchiladas, pastichio (Greek lasagna), slow roasted beef shoulder, moussaka, braised collards, falafel, and more. Kids who visit with their parents learn local food early. The kid’s meals include falafel, chicken, spanakopita, tyropita(cheese pie), breaded chicken breast or chicken gyro with a choice of tzatziki, hummous, tater tots, or frozen local berries (when available). The added cool factor: a local toy.
If you’re not big on local food, it’s okay. No judging, just sharing at Angelina’s Kitchen. Sampling is pretty much part of the experience. Try this…what do you think of this…doesn’t this taste better with a little feta? You’re almost an impromptu Top Chef judge when you stick around to eat your meal. Angelina’s goal is to share her food and her love of the farmers’ bounty. Yes, many local eateries have these same goals. Angelina’s place is about a combination of features—the food, the farmers, and the fun she has getting the ingredients on the plate. She is the ultimate cooking mama.