Kindred spirits Joe and Katy Kindred’s love story is turning the stigma of heading home again upside down.
Joe and Katy Kindred’s culinary journey is one that undoubtedly could inspire a new generation of recruits for the restaurant industry. It’s a tale that has it all—romance, travel, acclaim, the creation of a thriving and enviable restaurant business eponymously named Kindred, and ultimately, the American Dream in a small Southern town.
The duo were wedded to the restaurant industry before they met in 2002 at Chicago’s historic Pump Room, where they worked and fell in love. Joe Kindred, a graduate of Johnson & Wales, is a celebrated chef, and Katy is a certified sommelier who has worked every job in a restaurant, both here and abroad.
Joe won a national cooking contest in high school, which sealed his future. “I ended up with almost a full scholarship to cooking school,” Joe says. “I was very fortunate to graduate without debt.”
For her part, Katy learned the industry from hands-on experience around the globe. “All through my 20s I would work at a place for a year or two, quit, and go to South America or overseas, and eat and learn and study,” she says.
After becoming engaged in Alba, Italy, the couple moved to San Francisco, where Katy worked at Quince and Joe at Delfina. Once married, the couple returned to Joe’s hometown of Davidson, North Carolina, population 11,000, to put down roots and raise a family.
“We were deciding between here and Chicago,” Katy says. “The cost of living and the climate were factors, and Davidson is not a saturated market, but quite frankly, I just fell in love with this place. It is very special.”
Fast-forward five years to February 19, 2015, and the Kindreds were opening their widely acclaimed restaurant in a historic building that once served as the town’s pharmacy.
“The building was constructed in 1914, but I wanted it to feel clean and welcoming,” Katy explains. “We aimed to create something timeless in terms of lighting and materials. We wanted it to feel vintage and modern at the same time.”
During renovations, the Kindreds were very careful about preserving the building’s character.
“We were able to salvage some furniture from the pharmacy, restore it, and build it into the bar,” Katy says. “We wanted to stay true to the original design but at the same time not make it too formal or over the top.”