Veteran Triad chef Sean Reaves and his wife, Tara Reaves, have become first-time restaurant owners with the Oct. 15 opening of Cille and Scoe at 312 S. Elm St. in Greensboro.
The restaurant is in the former 1618 Downtown location, next to Jerusalem Market and across the street from Cheesecakes by Alex. The name pays tribute to Sean Reaves’ grandparents and the love of cooking fresh, seasonal food that they instilled in him.
The Reaves describe Cille and Scoe as a modern Southern eatery that takes its cue from North Carolina’s produce and other local foods.
“Sean got started early with his love and passion from his grandparents,” Tara Reaves said. “They shared an acre plot in their backyard with a neighbor and his grandma kept a garden. He remembers picking things in the backyard, and watching the whole process as his grandma prepared them — that’s where he fell in love with cooking.”
Cille and Scoe is aiming to offer a fresh take on Southern cuisine, and they have an ambitious plan to serve food that is sourced almost exclusively from North Carolina.
“We like to use the phrase ‘Southern redefined,’” Tara Reaves said. “And we’re aiming for 90% local. So that means everything except some liquor and wine and a few things like lemons, limes and oranges.”
Tara Reaves, 27, is a former teacher at Fairview Elementary School in High Point, who has waited tables or helped manage at many restaurants over the years.
Sean Reaves, 42, grew up in Greensboro and left only long enough to attend culinary school in Florida. For the past few years, he was head chef at Southern Roots in High Point, but he also has worked at Greensboro’s 1618 Midtown, Liberty Oak, Green Valley Grill and other restaurants.
“My father fancies himself a grill master, and my mother bakes. And my grandparents always had fresh food — that had me shucking corn and things like that,” Sean Reaves said. “So food and cooking was ingrained in our household. My first job was at Applebee’s. I didn’t stay there long, but later when I found Green Valley Grill, I knew cooking was for me.”
That upbringing still informs a lot of his cooking. “My process is that the ingredients drive the menu. They speak to me. North Carolina has so much more to offer than barbecue. We can grow so much fresh food here.”
Cille and Scoe is using beef from Bolick Farms in Boone and cheese from Looking Glass Creamery near Asheville. Closer to home, the restaurant is using Guilford Mills grits and Neese’s sausage.
For produce, the couple is working with Tara Reaves’ parents, Robin and Carroll Moseley, who recently bought the 60-acre Rolling Meadow Farm in Browns Summit.
“My dad grew up working on farms. His dream was always to own a farm. When Sean sand I were talking to them about our plans, my parents said, ‘Well, we can invest in the restaurant, or we can buy a farm to provide produce for your restaurant.’”
Sean Reaves said that farm is just getting started, but he is counting on sweet potatoes, lettuces and beets from Rolling Meadow this fall. Eventually, he hopes that the farm will supply the majority of the restaurant’s produce needs.
Although Reaves considers his approach to cooking Southern, he said that he often uses a lighter touch than traditional Southern cooks.
“Southern dishes don’t have be extremely heavy. You don’t have to cook all the vegetables in a lot of fat,” he said.
His beef and beet entrée ($17) at dinner combines sauteed red cabbage and beef rib-eye pieces that are tossed with homemade linguine and served with a light beet consommé.
He said he also likes to play around with traditional recipes. “Something may have the same flavor, but I’ll present it differently,” he said. “Like the country pho ($13) we’re doing, it’s really chicken noodle soup, but we’re presenting it Vietnamese-style.”
The dinner menu also includes fire-roasted oysters with a Texas Pete remolade ($13/$25), four-day marinated and braised chicken with kale and pomegranate gastrique ($18), and collard-wrapped grouper ($19).
Appetizers include shrimp and grits cakes ($15) and popcorn cauliflower with pecorino and anchovy cream ($12).
For lunch, there’s Reaves’ take on a Reuben with pickled red cabbage and house corned beef ($13) as well as the ‘Scoe bowl ($13, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, pickled red cabbage, quinoa and crushed almonds) and chicken flatbread ($12, with arugula, fried prosciutto, fig jam and honey goat cheese).
The restaurant will serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Brunch items will include omelets; duck confit hash; biscuits and gravy; and a sweet “turtle toast” with candied pecans, homemade caramel and chocolate ganache.
Of course, much of the menu will change with the seasons.
“A lot of chefs decide what they want to cook and then go find the ingredients,” Tara Reaves said. “Sean does the opposite. He takes the ingredients and let them drive his creativity.”
Contact Michael Hastings at 336-727-7394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.