For our first Muse of the Month, we are featuring Vivian Howard. Howard is an Emmy-award winning TV host, New York Times best-selling author, and celebrated chef. She was born in Deep Run, North Carolina to a family of tobacco and hog farmers. After successfully curating two restaurants in North Carolina and creating and hosting two PBS shows, A Chef’s Life and Somewhere South, she opened Handy & Hot adjacent to the Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel at 68 Wentworth Street in August of 2020. (Her love for the Holy City actually stemmed from a summer gig with a friend working at Sticky Fingers on King Street when they were in college!) Fast forward to Spring 2021, after years in the making, she was finally able to open her formal dining space next door: LENOIR.
LENOIR is named after Howard’s home county in eastern North Carolina. Upon walking into the restaurant, the Gwynn’s team were immediately reminded of Howard’s sweet, southern upbringing. Old family portraits, tobacco stick installations, enamel butterbean pans, and Howard’s personal cookbook collection fill the gorgeous space. The covered patio is the perfect gathering spot, and we’re still obsessing over the yellow bar chairs.
Howard’s personality exudes hospitality. While she is a chef, author, and PBS star, she is warm, kind, inviting and a blast to talk to (and her creative team was just as welcoming). Her goal is to serve and treat Lenoir patrons as if they were guests in her own home. Her taste and casual, yet sophisticated style reflect that sense of hospitality. We had a blast helping Vivian select a few new pieces for her wardrobe as she is our July 2021 Muse of the Month. You can shop her favorite looks here.
The goal of LENOIR is to “remind people that the South is a nuanced place with a storied history and desperate terrain that shapes us as well as our food traditions.” Whether you’re looking to dine on a covered patio or have a couple of cocktails at the bar, we can’t recommend LENOIR enough! They are currently accepting dinner reservations through RESY and walk-ins at the bar. A few of the menu highlights include blueberry bbq chicken wings, a K-town patty melt, and pecan chocolate chess pie. You can check out the full menu here.