DAVIDSON – When Jen Jentz and her then-boyfriend, Travis, were looking for a place to move from Michigan, they zeroed in on North Carolina.
“We originally thought Asheville or the surrounding area,” Jen Jentz said. “We wanted a long, varied growing season as we thought we might start a farm. And if not that, we certainly were going to do something with food.”
A friend mentioned Davidson.
So in 2010, Jen Jentz visited the area, fell in love and they moved to the charming, eclectic college town.
Jen and Travis Jentz worked in Davidson while deciding on their venture, eventually marrying and having two boys. Jentz has a master’s degree in hospitality and her husband had been working in the restaurant business since he was 14 years old.
“But really the best education I ever received was washing dishes at a restaurant,” Jen Jentz said. “What an amazing experience.”
Both agreed that if they were to start a restaurant, it would have to be with local food items – stressing quality ingredients. They realized there were already many excellent farms in the area and when the space on South Main Street came available, they knew they had found their calling.
The Pickled Peach takes the farm-to-fork concept one step further; the owners make it extremely accessible as food is ordered at a counter. The inside of the restaurant manages to be compact, serviceable and charming all at the same time; no small feat.
Customers order at the counter and then can have a seat at the lunch bar inside or walk out to the new, covered, expansive patio area to dine.
But before they sit, they can grab soup from the bar, a naturally flavored ice tea or other specialty drink from a cooler case. Then a server will bring the food to the customer when it’s ready.
Every item on the menu is locally sourced and the majority are made from scratch.
Take the soup bar, which will always include three kinds, usually a vegetarian and vegan option.
Or the warm, spiced braised beef, which is wrapped in a fresh collard green lending an earthy flavor to the innards of the wrap.
Within the cold case at the front of the restaurant is a fern-green colored pasta salad consisting of shaved radish, spinach, queso fresco and radish leaf pesto. It is perfection on a balmy day with its medley of flavors.
And patrons who have special dietary needs, do not have to worry about special orders.
“Because we make everything as the customer orders it, we have no problem with any sort of allergy or intolerance,” Jen Jentz said.
There are three different types of cookies and other baked goods made in-house.
“Travis makes most of the homemade baked goods,” Jen Jentz said. “But we also bring in some excellent gluten free items from another bakery.”
Plus they are making their own flavored syrups such as honey lavender; ginger; vanilla and caramel. The local Homeland Creamery supplies all the milk products.
“Food is important to us,” said Jen Jentz. “So we serve authentic items that have a story.”
And this translates into an amazing experience for the customer.
Want to go? Pickled Peach, 202 S. Main St., Davidson 704-765-2190.