The Perfect Cut: Kayne Fisher at Revolution Mill

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On a golden, autumn afternoon in Greensboro’s Mill District, Kayne Fisher posts up at the bar and takes meetings conveyer-belt style, one after the other: A liquor rep. A food purveyor. The GM. The butcher.

He’s preparing for something big.

Outside, the grounds of Revolution Mill glow from an October sunlight that touches on the vast lawn, the brick stacks, the patinaed water tower and the barest suggestion of Printworks Mill across Yanceyville Street peeking above the treeline. A Wisconsin company recently purchased that aging husk with plans to turn it into 217 apartments, along with some retail space.

Kitchen + Market $$-$$$

2003 Yanceyville St. GSO 336.656.2410

The neighborhood is making a strong pivot towards something bigger, something more.

The same goes for Fisher.

Everybody knows the story of Natty Greene’s: how two frat brothers from UNCG — Kayne Fisher and Chris Lester — joined forces to open Old Town at the edge of campus in 1996. From there came the First Street Draught House in Winston-Salem, and then the Tap Room on Lawndale. And then they sold everything to start Natty Greene’s in 2004, the first brewpub in downtown Greensboro and, eventually, a brewery with regional distribution and a tasting room on Gate City Boulevard.

Their enormously successful partnership came to a close just a few months ago, a mutual parting of the ways not unlike an amicable divorce, when people realize that they simply want different things. Lester kept the downtown brewpub, the beermaking facilities and the Natty Greene’s brand.

Fisher had his eye set on something more: the big space at Revolution Mill and the grounds that surround it, a neighborhood on the rise and the realization of a lifelong dream.

“My passion has always been the food,” he says now at the bar. “I built the menus at Old Town and the First Street Draught House. And this…,” he gestures to the renovated space around him, “this is where I get to really unleash that passion through the food.

“It’s full circle,” he continues. “It’s like when we started Old Town. We’re a small business in a big old building.

He’s almost ready to make the announcement, one that brings together all the elements he’s built in the Mill District.

There’s the long bar, of course, stretching down the south side of the building, or the smaller bar up in the loft, or the more casual Deck, with outdoor seating in the shadow of the Revolution Mill stacks.

The Market,with everything you need for the evening meal, serves a neighborhood that is coming to life once more.

“We’ve got a butcher back there cutting meat every day,” Fisher says, cutting Black Angus prime cattle into steaks and chops, along with chicken, pork, house-made sausages and whatever else came in that day.

That idea, Fisher says, goes back to his childhood and summers in Detroit spent with his Italian grandparents. He’d go to the market every morning with his grandfather, picking up bread from the baker, fruit from the farmer and whatever was fresh from the butcher.

The neighborhood is making a strong pivot towards something bigger, something more.

The same goes for Fisher.

Then he’d spend the afternoon in the kitchen with his grandmother, transforming those ingredients into the evening meal.

“Everything was all in the same neighborhood,” he remembers. “Everyone knew my grandfather’s name.”

In this massive space, this burgeoning neighborhood, Fisher is bringing it back home.

“Think about the time when these mills were rolling,” he says excitedly. “We’ve got this big, comfortable space, come as you are. We’re doing a meat and two, and cold charcuterie. I don’t see anything wrong with someone eating a plate of wings next to someone digging into a Black Angus prime ribeye.”

It’s familiar territory.

Everything Fisher has ever done in this state has been new: a new bar at UNCG, a new draught house in what was once a drive-by strip in Winston-Salem, a brewpub that was at the heart of downtown Greensboro’s resurgence.

Before the brewpub at the corner of South Elm and McGee, downtown Greensboro was a blank slate, too.

“It’s all of it, man,” Fisher says. “It’s everything I’ve ever done; it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed about, everything I’ve ever worked towards. It all comes together here.”

Now his rounds of barroom meetings include web designers, graphic artists and marketing associates. The new logo is coming, along with a new brand that better represents what they’ve built at the Mill. There will be a party, too, with hundreds of people out on the lawn, milling around the stacks and spilling through the grounds.

Soon.

For now there are more meetings, taken one at a time at the bar.

He likes it out here on his own, with just a single facility to manage and a longtime staff to help make it happen.

“I was ready for the next chapter,” he says. And it’s already being written in the Mill District.

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