OSCAR AWARD WINNING GREEN BOOK SINGER AND WORLD TRAVELING PIANIST
RENOVATE A HISTORIC BUILDING TURNED JAZZ CLUB
One of North Carolina’s most notable buildings is getting a makeover,
and along with it will come the sweet sounds of music and a delectable menu.
Baxter’s 1892, located at 323 Pollock St. in historic downtown New Bern, has been under construction for years but will open in 2022.
Those who sign up at www.baxters1892.com will be the first to learn the official opening date.
Baxter’s 1892 will be an after-dinner, music entertainment venue serving high-end cocktails and artfully-crafted tapas,
as well as exclusive event spaces for private events. The owners plan to have weekly entertainment, featuring everything from
jazz to blues to easy listening.
Co-owners Tyler Griffin and Von Lewis, who first met while studying at East Carolina University,
were always drawn to downtown New Bern but wanted more options for extending the evening.
Griffin is a North Carolina native and has traveled the world the past 12 years as an entertainment and hospitality consultant – boasting clients such as Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Carowinds Amusement Park, and opening for Jimmy Buffett and Maroon 5 – before deciding to settle in New Bern.
Lewis, who grew up around the Outer Banks, is part of the North Carolina-based singing duo Lewis n Clark with his wife Abbey. He has also acted for TV and films, most famously playing Bobby Rydell in the Oscar award-winning film Green Book.
The two talked about opening a business for over a decade when they happened to stumble upon the perfect opportunity.
“We were looking in the area for a while,” Lewis said. “We were walking around and saw that the Baxter building was available. It was too good to be true. This location is the perfect spot for our dream.”
The building was purchased in October of 2019, and has since seen a million-dollar renovation.
The two are meticulously working to keep as much of the original character as possible while updating the building, bringing everything up to code, sparing no expense.
Musical acts will perform on a new stage constructed above the front doorway, giving almost everyone in the building a priceless view.
“We have numerous opportunities to ‘wow’ our audience” Lewis said. “We are making a concerted effort to bring a different and exciting experience to New Bern.” They’ve hired a professional lighting designer, ECU School of Theatre and Dance’s Michael Shoaf to design a specific look for the venue.
“Our menu is also being engineered to how you want to feel,” Griffin said. “It’s designed to cater to whatever your mood is or whatever you want it to be that evening.”
Leading the kitchen will be Executive Chef, Jordan Minshew. Minshew’s varied background includes serving as sous chef to Bravo’s channel Top Chef, Tom Colicchio, at his flagship restaurant, Craft NYC. He has also served as chef and kitchen manager at Chef and the Farmer and Boiler Room, under chef Vivian Howard. Minshew has worked tirelessly to craft a tapas menu that will be unique to downtown New Bern.
Additionally, the bar program at Baxter’s 1892 will be led by Alex Norris. Alex, also a North Carolina native, currently serves as chief mixologist alongside Ashley Christensen, winner of Best Chef Southeast 2014 and 2017 Eater’s Best Chef in the Nation awards.
Griffin also said they hired one of his contacts he met on his career path to design the sound for the space, two-time Emmy Award winning sound engineer Chuck Davis. Davis previously designed sound for the Grand Ole Opry and Walt Disney World, as well as several television programs.
“We have designed the space with music in mind because of its unique architecture and layout,” Griffin said.
Griffin also went on to say that Baxter’s 1892 is going to be very different from anything New Bernians have seen before in downtown. The culmination of three years of hard work and planning has been arduous, but they wouldn’t have done it any other way.
“We’ve taken our time doing it because we wanted to do it right,” Griffin said.