Aug. 28, 2012. In August 2011, Chetola Resort sustained a kitchen fire in the Manor House Restaurant. One year later, the restaurant has been redesigned, rebuild and reopened as Timberlake’s. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last night at the restaurant.
“[The ceremony] went fantastic. We had about 150 people come,” said Marcia Greene, Chetola marketing director. “People were just in awe because [the restaurant] is really beautiful … We are hoping to be the finest restaurant in the area.”
Much has evolved within that time frame of August 2011 to August 2012. After many brainstorming sessions between Bob Timberlake, Chetola owner Kent Tar button and Timberlake’s manager Clarence Stroud, the design and layout of Timberlake’s is starting to take shape. The restaurant consists of several areas: a large foyer dining area; two lakefront dining rooms that existed previously; a new lakefront dining room and private recreation area opening to the lakefront patio; an intimate, semi-private wine cellar-themed dining room with cork-framed walls; and a comfortable sitting room better known as The Library. A two-level patio with a large fire pit was also added and allows for expansive views of Chetola Lake, the beautifully manicured lawns and Bob Timberlake’s vintage 1930-31 Model A Roadster. A new kitchen was built along with new food and beverage offices. Headwaters Pub, which is adjacent to the restaurant foyer, was redesigned, enlarged and completely remodeled.
Timberlake’s is “outfitted” with a mountain lodge/hunting motif. Decor includes Bob’s paintings and designs, historic angling and hunting equipment, vintage ski equipment and historical photos. Century Furniture, the office furniture line of Bob Timberlake, crafted seating exclusively for the project.
Timberlake’s Restaurant is situated in the 1846 Chetola Estate House that was built as a way station for goods moving up and down the mountain between Lenoir and Boone. The estate has had several owners, the most well known being J. Luther Snyder, otherwise known as “The Coca-Cola King of the Carolinas.” Within the past century and a half, the estate home has been enlarged, transformed and redesigned several times but, amazingly, some things remain unchanged.
During the building of Timberlake’s, construction crews actually unearthed a brick fireplace with a locust log still sitting inside the hearth. A stable once sat at this location, as did a dance hall in later years. The fireplace was left exposed and was incased in stone from floor to ceiling. The fireplace mantle, upon which the locust log now sits, was crafted by Stan Renar, who sculpted it from wood that was used for the foundation of the original estate home. It is estimated that this fireplace was built in the home sometime between 1895 and 1915. The wood floors in the lobby and front dining room of the restaurant were cut from maple trees removed from the estate in the mid-1890s when Chetola was owned by William Stringfellow from Anniston, Ala. The maple trees were transported to Lenoir, milled into wood for the floors, and brought back to Blowing Rock. Tarbutton has made a concerted effort to preserve the integrity and history of not only this structure but others throughout the resort.
Bob Timberlake and Chef Michael Barbato provided the inspiration for the menu selections. The dinner menu includes many of Timberlake’s personal favorites such as tempura-fried oysters, mesquite shrimp and roasted quail. Some of Barbato’s innovative creations include ostrich and wild mushroom roulade, bison filet, grilled Carolina trout and an eclectic variety of nightly specials. The menu also includes salads, casual fare and many wellness-minded dishes that can be prepared without glutinous ingredients, dairy or animal products. Timberlake’s also severs a daily breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelets, waffles, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, fresh baked goods, fresh fruit, cereals and breakfast meats.
Holiday buffets and special event dinners are featured for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Blowing Rock Winterfest, The Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival, Mother’s Day and Symphony by Chetola Lake. Special promotions are ongoing and include “Steak on the Lake” on Wednesday nights (weather permitting) and “First Friday Date Night” on the first Friday of every month, offering complimentary childcare while parents dine at Timberlake’s. A complete to-go menu is also available.
Timberlake’s is open daily from 7:30 to 10 a.m. for breakfast and 4:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner.
For reservations and information, call 828-295-5505 or visit chetola.com/restaurants.html.
Photos by Ken Ketchie
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