Southern Executive Chef Ashleigh Fleming brings her talents to new restaurant concept Blue Jay Bistro in Littleton, North Carolina – the one-square-mile town – officially opening to the public Wednesday, August 25.
Under the hospitality umbrella, Blue Jay Industries, created and run by community members and entrepreneurs Deb & Ed Fitts, Blue Jay Bistro joins the two other local concepts set along Littleton’s downtown Main Street, including Daphne’s Coffee Shop (named after Ed’s artist mother) and wine shop, Main Street Wines.
A realization of Ed Fitts’ vision, helping to reinvigorate his beloved hometown through gracious hospitality and unique locally-driven culinary experiences, Blue Jay Bistro features approachable contemporary fine dining at its best. Leading the culinary charge, the menu at Blue Jay Bistro is a reflection of Chef Fleming’s past experience: honoring North Carolina through locally and regionally sourced ingredients, while pulling from bold influences across the South, such as her hometown of Houston, TX. The menu constantly rotates based on seasonality and local availability, with dishes ranging from shareables such as Hams and Jams, featuring assorted cured and smoked meats, tellicherry pepper biscuits, truffle honey, and seasonal jam, or Wild Catter Oysters – fried Carolina oysters – with marinated wagyu strip loin, a 1-41 sauce, and pepper aioli, to small plates such as Pickled Shrimp and Watermelon featuring pickled shrimp, local grilled marinated watermelon, jalapeno lime balsamic, basil, mint, summer shoots, and cotija cheese, and entrees like the Pork Chop with sweet tea brined pork, apple barbecue sauce, and warm fingerling potato salad, and Virginia Flounder served over a hash of summer green beans, corn, tomatoes, and duck bacon with carrot marmalade.
Serving as a symbol of uncompromising quality and professional, attentive service for Littleton, both the Fitts’ and Chef Fleming want to set Blue Jay Bistro apart while delivering the best hospitality experience possible to the local community. “From our perspective, we hope that the bistro will bring more variety not currently available among the current options in the area,'' says Deb Fitts. “While upscale, we are approachable and casual, extending the down-home hospitality this area is known for and are excited to share our teams’ talent with everyone who dines here - from the hand-crafted cocktails, to a menu prepared and plated with every attention to detail, and of course the genuine service.”
Set in cool neutrals, Blue Jay Bistro provides guests with both an indoor and outdoor oasis—featuring luxe banquette and couch seating, handcrafted orb light sculptures, and purposefully intricate design details throughout. Designed by Deb and Ed themselves, furnishings and decor were chosen with the help of Danielle Tipton of DT Designs, taking inspiration from some of Deb and Ed’s favorite places to dine: The Conservatory, Blue Jay Bistro’s front dining room gives one the feel of Michelin fine dining where its quiet and warm, with large windows, curtains, and cozy booths, while The Aviary provides a greater sense of intimacy and the bar area evoke colorful, vibrancy and fun. The bistro’s name is an homage to Ed’s High School mascot - the Fighting Blue Jays of Littleton High School - which closed in 1974. At full capacity, the restaurant seats 115 total with 30 spaces in the The Conservatory, 11 seats at the bar and 18 in The Roost, 24 within The Aviary (the middle dining room), and 32 outside on the patio, referred to as The Nest.
Fleming – a Culinary Institute grad – grew up surrounded by generous hospitality. From her grandmother’s kitchen to her parents, who owned and managed restaurants and hotels, Fleming spent her childhood in kitchens and restaurants, experiencing the thrill of the industry first-hand, long before she knew it would become her life’s work. Poised to share her delicious, personally inspired cooking with guests at Blue Jay Bistro, Chef Fleming’s style from kitchen to plate has found a home. In addition to overseeing the culinary operation for Blue Jay Bistro, she also consults on the food programs for Blue Jay Bistro’s sister properties, Daphne’s Coffee Shop and Main Street Wines.
Blue Jay Bistro will be opening on an abbreviated level in preparation for fall, featuring a pared down menu, with only The Roost and The Aviary available for seating by reservation only to start.
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