Excerpt from “Carolina Corn: A Photo Essay”
Our State Magazine | October 2020
Photography by Stacey Van Berkel
Growing up on a farm in Guilford County, Nancy King Quaintance ate a lot of grits. But when she and her husband, Dennis, opened Lucky 32 more than 30 years ago, Southern cuisine was not as widely known and celebrated as it is today. Instead, the Quaintances put together a New American menu inspired by their travels. But the perception of what Southern food is — and can be — was beginning to evolve, and the couple soon pivoted to a regional approach. “We know the South,” Nancy says. “That’s what we grew up with, what we’re good at cooking.” Her mother had always stocked the pantry with grits from the Old Mill of Guilford, so that’s where Lucky 32 sourced its grits, and still does. Nancy’s flavorful takes on local staples soon converted folks who thought there was no such thing as Piedmont cuisine. “There is,” she says. “You just need to look in your mama’s cookbook.”
When you go to the trouble of getting really good ingredients, Nancy King Quaintance says, it doesn’t make sense to prepare them just one way. So the Old Mill of Guilford’s grits appear often on Lucky 32’s ever-evolving menu: in shrimp and grits, grit cakes, and more.