by Nicole Crews
Welcome to Jeansboro. It’s official — call it a code blue — but Greensboro has definitely immersed itself in high cotton… of the denim variety.
VF’s Wrangler brand celebrated Jeansboro Day on Tuesday in honor of the town’s textile tradition. The event took place at the company’s downtown headquarters and featured music from McKenzie’s Mill, food, drink and giveaways in partnership with the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of North Carolina. But that’s not the only thing happening in the jean pool.
Case in point is downtown Elm Street’s newly opened Blue Denim Restaurant. The love child of chef and noted Greensboro restaurateur Jody Morphis and his wife Anne Marsh, Blue Denim’s moniker pays homage to the town’s cotton mills and sets the stage for food ingrained in Southern culture.
“We thought it was emblematic of the South and we wanted the name, like the food, to be local, authentic and comfortable,” says Morphis.
The menu will be familiar to those acquainted with the pair’s pop-up Mardi Gras menus and Morphis’ homage to his native Mississippi and Louisiana during his tenure as a partner in Fincastle’s Diner a few years back.
True to Morphis’s description, the restaurant, located in the building that previously housed Thai Pan, is homey, with an exposed brick wall, silver trays on tables splayed with brown paper for lunch and white tablecloths for dinner, and adorned with blue and white mixed china. The waitstaff is awash in chambray and denim. The menu veers from fried green tomatoes stacked with Morphis’ mother Linda’s pimiento cheese to gumbos, po-boys and all the way to pan-fried North Carolina trout, ribs and a stately ribeye. Look for yours truly to be working the front of the house as the place gets off the ground.
Down the road a ways at the recently renovated Revolution Mill, more denim history is in the works. Prodigal son Billy Cone returns to Jeansboro, to the very cotton mill his great uncles Moses and Caesar Cone opened in 1895. The author of four books of photography on travel and art will be hosting an evening of portraiture, paintings, drawings, photography and collected works on Friday 5-9 p.m. The event will be catered by Revolution Mill and Maria’s Gourmet and the exhibit will open at noon to Saturday and Sunday and by appointment through Dec. 31. Cone’s work is comprised largely of portraiture of women, photography of statuary from around the world and engraving and etching inspired figurative pieces. He refers to his work as “faceture” and pulls from the realm of abstract realism.
What’s the dress for the event? Did you even have to ask?