Chapel Hill: Opinion

Veronica Kim: NOSH is all in the family

NOSH is a warm restaurant. With its brightly colored walls and white minimalist chairs, it is also just as multifarious as its slogan (“Eclectic foodstuffs”) promises it will be.

I met Stacey Poston by the soda machine. Attempting to break the ice and struggling for something clever to say, I awkwardly told her about the group Halloween costume that my friends and I had put together (we each went as different types of soda, collectively making up a soda fountain). To her credit, laughed appreciatively, while her wife, Wendy Woods, wrapped up a catering job outside. It was raining.

The restaurant was filled with chatter. A group of college-age students relaxed near the back, eating and laughing. Various couples and families scattered themselves among the wooden tables, sipping drinks. I admired the paintings on the walls, which ranged from abstracts to collages. Colored lanterns hung from the ceiling.

It was my first interview. I am not the most socially graceful individual; I was nervous, to say the least. When Wendy joined us, pulling up a chair, I was trembling.

Stacey works for the city of Durham as a special projects manager. She makes sure that people with disabilities have the right resources in public buildings, such as handicapped parking spaces or special access doors. Wendy owns NOSH, which has quickly become a Durham gathering place. They have been together for 17 years.

“We’re really lucky that we’re in a community that’s very progressive and wants to be inclusive,” Stacey says.

The essence of the Triangle – the cute corner cafés of Carrboro; the rustic hospitality of Chapel Hill; the dynamic, promising aura of Durham – NOSH manifests all of this so readily. I kind of wanted to stay forever.

(Also, the food smelled amazing.)

NOSH, at 2812 Erwin Road, is also at the heart of the LGBT community in Durham, which only adds to the closeness among those who frequent the restaurant. Wendy tells me that after the passing of Amendment One, there was actually more traffic than usual.

“People were just kinda sad, but they came here and shared with other people. … We wanted to talk about it together,” she says. I was astonished by the amount of support that she described.

As Stacey puts it, “(NOSH) is a place which we always feel like you should be doing more.”

The community knows this. NOSH is not any old brick building – it’s a living, breathing establishment, always changing and striving to change.

“The restaurant is our child,” says Wendy, laughing. She goes on to explain that Stacey doesn’t actually work there, but the joint effort they put into holding events and running the restaurant means that it holds a special place in their hearts.

The thing I admire most is the authentic care that Stacey and Wendy have for the people around them. Their objective is not just to run a successful business. It’s to reach out and connect. It’s to make people happy.

“You meet all different kinds of people … you talk about everything with them. It becomes this kind of family,” Wendy explains. “My most favorite thing is just being a part of people’s lives. If I can make them feel better by fixing them a coffee, that’s what I wanna do. We’re all the same… I love it.”

There’s a lot behind NOSH’s sleek facade. I urge you to stop by. Walk inside. Shake Wendy’s hand. Strike up a conversation with Stacey.

You might just learn something.

Veronica Kim, 16, attends Durham Academy. You can reach her at 16kim@da.org.

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