Stoke the Flames 21

Stoke Offers Fresh Cuisine in Fresh Ways

Locally-sourced. Seasonal. Made-from-scratch.

Chef Chris Coleman of Stoke recognizes these are buzz words in Charlotte’s ever-expanding culinary scene. And though he’s certainly embraced such adjectives, the Charlotte native is intentionally doing things differently.

“Stoke is similar to a lot of great Charlotte restaurants,” he says. “We source locally, we rely on the seasons to dictate the menu, we’re focused on scratch cooking and an eye for detail. What sets us apart is our immersive kitchen concept.”

“Immersive” is putting it lightly. This a kitchen without walls—literally. Guests are privy to all the goings on of the kitchens; they can watch every one of Chef Coleman’s rustic dishes take colorful form, bathed in the red light of flames from the wood burning oven (the heart of the restaurant and the menu).

Coleman’s latest venture comes on the tail end of inconceivable success. “I grew up cooking with my Mom and have always had an interest in food… mainly because I like to eat,” Coleman says of his beginnings. “I would spend summers on my grandparents’ farm in Mississippi, picking figs and blueberries, chasing cows in the pasture, and trading for fresh eggs with the neighbors. It was during these summers that I unknowingly gained a deep respect for where our food comes from.”

Inspired by the promise of a car, a 14-year-old Coleman grabbed a gig as a bus boy at a fish camp. “It was here, watching the busy kitchen pump out 300 covers a night, moving in a sort of synchronized chaos, that I fell in love with the restaurant life,” he remembers.

At just 21, Coleman took the helm of local fine dining restaurant McNinch House as Executive Chef. Following a successful pop-up dinner series using only locally-sourced ingredients and his own The Asbury, a 40-seat farm-to-fork restaurant at The Dunhill Hotel, Coleman was ready for his next challenge. Easily his most ambitious endeavor to date, Stoke’s menu has all those buzzwords Coleman promised, served up in American dishes with a rustic twang.

Coleman may already be a dominating force on the Carolina culinary scene, but he’s still one of us. “Charlotte is my home,” says the chef. “I was born and raised here. I’m proud to live here. And I’ve enjoyed watching the city grow as I’ve grown.”