Why We Love Joe & Katy Kindred
Travel is as much a part of Joe and Katy’s story as the food they serve up. They’re consummate examples of people who’ve used seeing the world as inspiration for creativity.
“When we first met, we knew we wanted to open a restaurant, that it would be called Kindred—we just didn’t know where it was going to be.”
“We wanted to build a place that was woven into the fabric of the community.”
How did you guys end up back in Joe’s hometown of Davidson?
We met in Chicago. But I was working for a winemaker in Italy, and Joe came out to visit, and we rented this little Fiat Panda and went on this pretty epic road trip throughout Italy. We ended up spontaneously getting engaged in Alba. When we came back home, we decided to move to San Francisco to learn from some chefs and push ourselves a bit more out there. But we got married on the Carolina coast and it inspired us to start planting roots. So when we eventually got back to Davidson, bought our little fixer-upper house and started our little family here.
How does the importance of community resonate with your restaurants?
When we first moved out here, we moved to Charlotte—about 20 minutes away from Davidson. But after going back a couple of times, it was pretty clear to us this was where we wanted to live. It’s a very loyal community, fiercely loyal and protective, just a really special place. So we wanted to move here, but we also wanted to invest in the place. That would’ve gone for any place we lived. We don’t want to be the restaurateurs who are just serving food and booze and checking our P and L score, and that’s our legacy. Life’s precious and short and more important than all of that. We wanted to build a place that was woven into the fabric of the community—it’s a reflection of us, our relationship and marriage. Imperfect, messy but precious and fun and always evolving.
Are your menus constantly evolving too?
The menu isn’t just Italian or Japanese or anything like that—it’s just going to continue to grow and evolve as we do. Travel is very important to us and where we get a lot of our inspiration. When we get back from wherever we go, we’ll get inspired and a lot of that will make its way to the menu. The restaurants will never be static things, they’ll always grow. We think it gives character to the community and gives back to it.
How are you evolving or paying homage to Southern-style cooking?
The palette of ingredients for the most part are what we have available to us locally. Joe grew up here, and is a Southern boy through and through. But the modern American South is a diverse and changing place. What we hope to bring from our travels are the bridges in the food, the similarities to be made. Both in technique and in ingredients. There are so many fun opportunities to take flavors from other cultures and sort of fold them into the dynamic and changing South.
How do your strengths play off each other?
Well, the easy answer is Joe’s the back of the house and I’m the front of the house. But, our natural strengths and abilities are very different. Joe is incredibly driven and meticulous and detail-oriented, and is a terrific leader in so many ways. I’m more the flighty creative one, the vision-tester, big idea thinker. He talks matter-of-fact, I talk more poetic. The way we think and see the world is different, so I think we complement each other that way.
How do you think this relates to travel?
We actually travel very similarly. We both go with the flow. Everything’s focused on food. We wake up, we gotta get our coffee. We like to exercise. Usually everything’s focused around where are we getting breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since we have kids now, we like to hit up an aquarium or museum or something like that. We’re definitely hardcore water people—we got married at the beach, all our kids are bigtime swimmers. We love the beach.
Explore Upcoming Trips with our Tastemakers
French Alps: Photography Expedition
The French Alps are a photographer’s dream come true. Explore Europe’s premier hiking route, sleep in elegant mountain inns, make your way up, down and around, peak by peak, village by village, all the way to the Côte d’Azur. Join us on a photography adventure like no other.
Morocco with Nyesha Arrington
Experience Morocco at its most timeless and delicious with chef Nyesha Arrington. This is a Moroccan serenade for the senses, from Marrakech’s souks and Fes’ fabled bazaars to a stylish kasbah retreat in the Atlas Mountains.
Vietnam with Meg Galus
Street food is Vietnam’s star; desserts are its lesser-known delights. Join pastry chef Meg Galus as we eat our way through local markets and Vietnam's top kitchens. Get hands-on with local chefs and bakers, cacao producers and chocolate makers. Bite by bite, we'll experience Vietnam's rich culture and French-inspired flavors.