The Roanoker - November/December 2017 - 78
DINING | NOTCH-UP BAR FOOD
DON'T WAIT TO EXPERIENCE CRAFT
What's it like being a classically trained chef in an "everyday
joint?" Wall Street Tavern Chef Cara Lowe offers some insights:
How do you approach cooking?
I like to cook old school. The way our mothers and
grandmothers did. There is something therapeutic in taking the extra steps in preparing food. You can smell it and
taste it. It touches your soul, not just your taste buds...I like
experimenting with new things, but try to never make it
scary or unapproachable.
What do you love about Wall Street Tavern?
I love everything about working at Wall Street Tavern. I
was able to get into every part of this place and it quickly
became a part of me. Our regulars are like family. The staff
is close, and I think everyone sees that. Seeing how [the
owners love it] and how they entrust it to me makes me
love it all the more.
Talk about Wall Street's menu.
When I first saw the menu, I thought it was really cool...
different. But it was difficult to execute in a fast-paced environment. We changed the menu, but my insane chef brain
was still stuck on fine dining. We changed it three times
until we got where we are now. The difference is, I listened
to customers. Now I save the things I enjoy for the Butcher
Block Special, tapas and private events.
How does Wall Street add to Roanoke's food scene?
We are an everyday joint. The food is great and the atmosphere is comfortable. You can come have a nice threecourse dinner or a quick lunch. We have something for everyone from our wraps all the way up to our nicest scotch...
[Roanoke] has incredibly talented bartenders, cooks, chefs
and owners.... [People] shouldn't wait for a special occasion
to treat themselves to someone's craft. -SD
Owner Daniel Mock
and Chef Cara Lowe
are creating high
standards for Roanoke's
bar food scene.
ily working the nightclub side of the business. At the
age of 28, with a decade of experience behind him and
a serious new goal of owning his own restaurant by 35,
Mock came home.
"Charlotte is a great place to live, learn, be young," says
Mock of his decision to move back to Roanoke. "But it
isn't home...Roanoke is home."
After working a couple different bar venues in town,
Mock connected with Jason Martin, owner of Martin's
Downtown. Martin hired Mock as a front-of-house manager. The two became fast friends. Mock credits Martin
with much of his own success as a restaurant owner.
"It's the experience you can only get by watching others," explains Mock. "All that's behind the curtain of Oz,
that's what I learned from Jason."
Mock loved working at Martin's, but with the clock
ticking on his own restaurant dream, Mock knew he
78 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
couldn't stay. In 2011, with Martin's blessing and his parents' support, Mock opened his first restaurant: Queso
Southwest Grill in the Market Building.
"Queso was like the great album that got five stars that
couldn't sell enough," explains Mock.
With limited seating, a limited drink menu, and-
most pressing-limited bathroom access (a problem
Mock praises Michelle Dykstra for helping him solve
with Wall Street's design), Mock found himself struggling after three years.
"This is where my sister came in," says Mock, openly
humbled by his sister's love.
Mock's sister, Catherine Justice, holds a degree in elementary education, has never worked in her degree field,
owns the women's clothing boutique, Punch, and is 10
years Mock's junior. She says when she saw her brother
struggling, she had to help.