Essays on People's Platelist Finalists

Local friend and radio voice, Bob Bowls, coined Greg as "Tabasco Jack." This nickname fits Greg as he is a spicy character who is friendly to anyone willing to stop for a good story. Greg lives the great American dream to be a cowboy. He just told me he was bucked off his horse yesterday, but headed to Oklahoma for a barbeque contest tomorrow. Greg may not have a restaurant or fancy title, but he's a real person with a Platelist for the cowboy in us all.

RODNEY EINHORN, Terrapin Restaurant, Virginia Beach, Va.

Chef Rodney is the story of a local boy who had his struggles and has persevered to become the chef/owner of the number one restaurant in Virginia Beach and our Hampton Roads community.

We have followed this guy for many years. He was not the valedictorian, salutatorian or in the top 10%, but he did find his passion in the kitchen of a local Italian Restaurant and worked his tail off, while honing his craft, then went on to the CIA, and worked in some high profile restaurants in NYC and Aspen before coming back to his roots in Virginia Beach.

Rodney is the chef/owner of the White Tablecloth, Terrapin's restaurant in Virginia Beach. He is part of the slow food movement which supports the local farmers and utilizes local ingredients as much as possible. He has gained the esteem of his patrons and competitors alike. Rodney is active in the Southern Foodways Alliance and local charities. His grandfather owned a diner back in the 1970's and he finds comfort in his Southern roots, which is very evident in his current offering of fried chicken, and sweet potatoes.

Rodney is also known for his dishes with ramps, soft-shell crabs, scallops, flounder, duck, and the MAC and CHEESE. Terrapin's is also represented in our Buy Fresh/ Buy Local farmers market where he and his staff man a tent every Saturday morning in the summertime with Great Dane, Sage. He will sell out of his homemade mozzarella, fresh breads, and gelato.

GLENN GILLESPIE, Edgars, Akron, OH

Chef Glenn is co-owner of Edgars, an out of the way Akron restaurant – but our favorite in town. In a town like ours, any restaurant that brings together a diverse crowd (black, white, gay, straight, etc.) stands out. But what really stands out is Glenn's amazing food, with an emphasis on smoked meats and an unexpected combination of soul, Creole, mama's southern cooking, and Glenn's inventions.

One of my favorites is his wild mushroom soup with fried oyster crouton, or his three way smoked brochette (brisket, duck, pork), or the very best buttermilk soaked pecan fried chicken on the planet.

We've never had a time when Glenn didn't stop by our table, usually wearing a silly Scottish style golf cap (which looks especially silly on a 6 foot 3 inch stylish black guy). His smile doesn't quit. His passion for food is boundless. And his menus consistently come through. He's a gem.

EDDIE KWONG, E Noodles & Co, N. Myrtle Beach, SC

We live in a tourist area near Myrtle Beach with an abundance of restaurants, good and bad. You could go out to eat every night of the week for a year and never repeat. We found E NOODLES &CO by word of mouth, always the best way.

From our first visit there we found the owner/chef Eddie a delight. He greets everyone with a smile and an evening menu suggestion. The ambience is cozy, comfortable and pleasant, like returning to your favorite relative's kitchen.

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