Local flavor: The Asbury


October 31, 2023

The Asbury at Charlotte’s Dunhill Hotel resets with chef Tim Groody at the helm and a familiar focus on modern Southern fare. 

by Cathy Martin  |  photographs by Justin Driscoll

Since The Asbury debuted in 2014 at uptown’s historic Dunhill Hotel, the farm-to-table restaurant has been home to some of Charlotte’s most celebrated chefs, including Chris Coleman, Matthew Krenz and Mike Long. Now, a local culinary veteran has taken the reins: Tim Groody joined the Asbury team earlier this year as executive chef.

Groody, who this magazine dubbed “The Original Locavore” in 2014 — was executive chef at Sonoma Bistro for more than a decade in the early 2000s before opening Fork! in Cornelius and Ramen Soul in Mooresville. More recently, he’s worked as executive chef at Stoke at Charlotte Marriott City Center and as director of R&D for meal-prep startup The Good Kitchen.

Under Groody’s direction, the restaurant retains its focus on locally sourced ingredients and regional cuisine. “We’re staying with that southern influence,” Groody says, a familiar avenue for him. 

Some dishes are Asbury mainstays, like the savory-and-sweet Sticky Biscuits (buttermilk biscuit dough with Benton’s country ham and goat-cheese “frosting”) and the Deviled Eggs, now topped with fennel-radish kimchi and a crispy grit crumble. Others reflect what’s in season, like the Herb Gnocchi & Market Vegetables.

“We’ve reinvented the burger a bit,” says Groody, who’s joined in the kitchen by Chef de Cuisine Graham Stilwell. It’s now made with brisket, short rib and chuck and topped with pickled-tomato mayo, caramelized onions, mushrooms and artisanal American cheese. Other dishes reflect the attention to detail of a seasoned chef, from the barely-there, piquant olive-garlic romesco atop smashed fingerlings accompanying the Rosemary Roasted Flatiron Steak to the sweet-and-salty “cracker jack” topping on a seasonal Caramel Apple Cake.

Weekend brunch ranges from a classic two-egg breakfast to Banana Pudding Pancakes to the Asbury Stack, a savory dish of fried-jalapeno potato cakes served over a bed of spicy nduja and topped with eggs, goat feta and scallions. Any menu that bills itself as “modern Southern” will likely include chicken and waffles, and the Asbury’s version features pickle-brined chicken with a hot honey sauce, sorghum butter and toasted benne seeds.

Groody also oversees the wine menu and cocktail program at the adjacent lobby bar, where libations such as The Apparition and The “Dusty” are a nod to local lore suggesting the hotel is haunted. 

Left: the Asbury Stack, Right: the dining room at The Asbury

The Dunhill was opened in 1929 as The Mayfair Manor, a 100-room hotel and residences designed by architect Louis Asbury Sr. Renamed The Dunhill in 1987, the property has been owned and operated by Raleigh-based Summit Hospitality since 1991. An extensive renovation of the 60 guest rooms and lobby was completed in early 2020.

The intimate dining room — modest when compared with a crop of splashy uptown restaurants that have opened in recent years — has been refreshed with new flooring, paint and an art wall celebrating North Carolina’s diverse geography and agricultural heritage. “Most of what we do is locally sourced food and fresh vegetables, so that’s kind of the theme behind the wall,” says Craig Austin, general manager at The Dunhill.

With Groody at the helm, the Asbury is sure to stay true to its roots.  SP

The Asbury at the Dunhill Hotel is open for dinner Monday-Saturday, breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, and brunch Saturday and Sunday. theasbury.com.

Featured image: Herb Gnocchi and Market Vegetables

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