Eat Crow lands in Foscoe
Birds of a feather flock together.
If that's the case, Meryle and Dominic Geraghty are soaring.
The culinary couple has a history sweeter than confectioner's sugar, and they've brought it to the High Country with Eat Crow, a bakery and delicatessen nestled comfortably in Foscoe.
Specializing in all things delectable, including gourmet sandwiches, cakes and a plethora of pies, the Geraghtys are determined to put the "goods" in "baked goods."
"Being a trained chef, Dominic always had a love for baking," Meryle Geraghty said.
And having worked as executive chef at such places as the Inn at Crestwood and Hound Ears, he's developed quite the following.
"I'd known Dominic from Hound Ears," said first-time customer and Hound Ears resident Patty Mason. "I've had his food before, so I thought it'd be nice to come by."
She wasn't the first. The store's been frequented by many a fan wanting a piece of the pie. For Mason, it was Dominic's famous bumble berry and peach pies.
"These are all original recipes - everything," Meryle said.
That includes varieties like apple, blueberry, strawberry-rhubarb, pecan, pumpkin, key lime, banana cream, lemon meringue and French silk, to name just a few. Heartier selections include chicken pot pie, beef and ale pie (Dominic's personal favorite, prepared with a half-pint of Guinness) and quiche.
Cakes range from carrot and cheesecake to Chocolate Decadence and Guinness chocolate, but a freezer section designed for takeout features entrees like eggplant and chicken Parmesan, lasagna, veal meatballs with penne pasta, shrimp and grits, bread pudding and a variety of soups.
Sandwiches run the gamut from Italian and roast beef to Meryle's egg salad (her grandmother's recipe) and curry chicken salad.
As Meryle attested, they're recipes that work, and they've had time to develop them.
Dominic's been cooking since 1966, even then realizing that cross-confectionary skills were a key ingredient.
"If you're worth your salt as an executive chef, you need to know pastries," he said.
A native Englishman, Dominic was raised in Halifax, Yorkshire, and, after graduating high school, was faced with a dilemma - labor or find a specialty.
"I had to do something when I left school," he said, having even toyed with the notion of joining the Royal Navy.
Finally, he enrolled in a domestic science class. "I just thought I'd get something to eat," he said.
That led to an apprenticeship at a restaurant, then a full-time enrollment at culinary school. "And one thing led to another," Dominic said.
His first executive chef position brought him to Anchorage, Alaska. Years later, he accepted such a position at the El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, N.M., where he met a certain gift shop manager named Meryle, who had moved from the Boone area in 1990.
Like his cooking career, one thing led to another, and the couple opened a bakery called Four & Twenty Blackbirds, a line from the old English nursery rhyme, "Sing a Song of Sixpence."
Meryle's experience in the restaurant business (she managed both the Speckled Trout and Best Cellar) was a perfect complement to Dominic's culinary abilities.
"We wanted to do something in pies and sandwiches," Meryle said. "It was back when everyone was into comfort food."
They sold the shop four years later and returned to the Boone area. Now in 2011, Eat Crow is a nod to their original bakery, though their mascot - a crow wearing a red bib - and concept remain the same.
"It was wonderful, great, but here we have a proper kitchen," Dominic said of the new store.
And some things just don't change.
"We really just like to see the pleasure in people's eyes," Meryle said. "It sounds corny, but I really get a thrill out of selling people pie ... and they just come back for more. Basically, that's why we love to sell pies."
The High Country can share in the love by visiting Eat Crow, located at 9872 N.C. 105 South, No. 11, in Grandfather View Village in Foscoe. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (828) 963-8228.
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