“I told my buddy Wallace back there I’m not cutting my hair until we open, so you can see how long that’s been.” JD Wier
Weir is finally getting that cut. His new restaurant, Noble Jones, opens Tuesday. “It’s kind of sticking out back there. Shows you how long its been.”
The renovation has been going on since last year.
Pouring your heart and soul into a new venture is an exciting time, and sometimes that excitement can carry over into the blogosphere, resulting in confusing messaging.
“I am NOT opening a barbecue restaurant”
Weir wants you to know something. “I am NOT opening a barbecue restaurant. But it’s out there…I don’t know where that came from. We DO have barbecue on the menu, but we’re a southern restaurant.”
Wier has worked in some heady kitchens around Augusta, as well as San Antonio. “After Rooster’s Beak I worked at Abel Brown for a little bit, and then I went to the Augusta National. After Augusta National I opened Finch and Fifth in Surrey Center, then in 2016 I moved to Texas for a couple of years and worked at the Argyle Club.”
The Argyle, a stately Southern mansion and unique private club, is devoted exclusively to the support of the life-saving efforts of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
The food – the dishes- the fare- reflect his journey:
Oysters Bourgogne, Deviled Crab, Clarks Hill Catfish, Roasted Peaches and Fennel Salad, Strawberry-Watermelon Gazpacho, and Barbeque Shrimp.
The menu is printed simply, beckoning you with table shares, seafood, and the little wonders that make your stomach growl in the middle of the night, like Smoked Pimento Mac + Cheese.
The location was once the Cotton Patch, one of the original downtown restaurants which was open for decades.
Noble Jones is inviting customers into more of the rambling space, with a former storage room now a beautiful private dining room.
The menu is four pages. Three of those are drinks.
“This blue pops” Wier says, glancing at the logo wall on the far end of the dining room.
“We removed the acoustic tile and that beautiful ceiling was up there. Courtney and I were just talking about how this brick has some blue in it. Kind of. You can look at it and see some grayish blueish.”
So with sis-in-law and brother helping out, mom shows up as if on cue, arms overflowing with fresh cut flowers for the table arrangements.
She heads across the courtyard to water plants, and a visitor mentioned the space brings to mind a bar tucked away in Charleston, the Battery tourists seemingly a million miles away.
There are well manicured box hedges, brick, wrought iron and weathered copper.
“JD likes finding antiques like that mirror there” says Sarah Cro, the new sous chef, gesturing towards a beveled glass mirror on the wall.
Wier quickly walks through the room, “I love that mantle!” he says as he passes through on his way to a second kitchen in the building adjacent to the dining room.
The restaurant faces the levee, with the back actually facing Reynolds Street. On the Reynolds Street side, Cro says they plan on building a patio soon. “We’re talking about getting this paved but the mulch is real nice right now. We’re going to have some tables out here. It’ll be real nice.”
Once the weather cools down, Noble Jones will be a hot ticket for the late night crowd. “We plan on having a late night bar menu in a month or so” Cro says. With its off Broad Street location and ample parking, the new restaurant is an exciting addition to downtown. The new 2nd City Distillery is located on the other side of the parking lot.
Cro says lunch service will begin soon. “We just want to get everyone acclimated to the POS training, make sure the front of the house and back of house are in cahoots together.”
As Sarah tries to find the source of a leak beneath the dishwasher in the kitchen, JD smiles. “Welcome to restaurant ownership” he says.