Food & Drink

Help Eastern North Carolina with Fish Stew

Chef Vivian Howard teams up with an impressive roster of chefs for a fundraiser benefitting the United Way

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, cities like Jacksonville and Charleston were fortunate—the storm wasn’t as bad as feared, and most people were able to sweep up and go about their business. Eastern North Carolina is still reeling, though. After days of historic flooding, homeowners and small businesspeople are facing millions of dollars in damage.


Photo: Stacey Van Berkel

Chef Vivian Howard with her family at their Kinston, North Carolina home.

“It’s been devastating for this community,” says Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer in Kinston and the PBS show A Chef’s Life. Deflated by the collapse of the local tobacco and textile industries, the region had just begun to find its footing again. “We’re already so challenged economically. Then something like this happens.” She has a recovery plan, though, and it starts with fish stew—a simmering pot of fish, potatoes, onions, and eggs that’s a go-to fundraiser food for local churches and fire departments.

Last week Howard e-mailed food-world friends like Sam Jones of Skylight Inn in Ayden, Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, and John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi, to ask if they’d join her in serving fish stew at their restaurants from October 30 to November 5—and donating the proceeds to the United Way in hard-hit Lenoir and Greene Counties. They’re working on their recipes now. “I want to raise money and awareness,” Howard says. “Fish stew tells a story of our place in the world, and our resourcefulness, and our hospitality.”

To help, you can make a donation directly or sit down and order a bowl at any of the restaurants listed below next week. The list keeps growing, too. For the most current version, go to


North Carolina: Eastern

Catch, Wilmington

Chef and the Farmer, Kinston

La Perla Restaurant & Bar, Morehead City

Manna, Wilmington

On the Square, Tarboro

Pine Valley Market, Wilmington

PinPoint Restaurant, Wilmington

Sam Jones BBQ, Greenville

Southern Smoke BBQ, Garland

The Boiler Room, Kinston


North Carolina: Triangle 

Crook’s Corner, Chapel Hill

Herons, Cary

Lantern Restaurant, Chapel Hill

M Sushi, Durham

Panciuto, Hillsborough

Picnic, Durham

Piedmont Restaurant, Durham

Players’ Retreat, Raleigh

Poole’s Diner, Raleigh

Saltbox Seafood Joint, Durham

Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub, Durham

Watts Grocery, Durham


North Carolina: Piedmont

Dogwood Southern Table & Bar, Charlotte

Harper’s Restaurant, Charlotte and Greensboro

Mimosa Grill, Charlotte

Upstream Restaurant, Charlotte


North Carolina: Asheville


Blue Dream Curry House

Buffalo Nickel

Buxton Hall Barbecue

Chai Pani

Chupacabra Lati Café


The Lobster Trap

Local Provisions



The Cantina

The Rhu

Ultimate Ice Cream

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian

White Duck Taco Shop




City Grocery, Oxford

Snackbar, Oxford


South Carolina

The Glass Onion, Charleston



City House, Nashville

Margot Cafe, Nashville



Terrapin Restaurant, Virginia Beach

Commune, Virginia Beach


New York

Butterfield at Hasbrouck House, Stone Ridge

Houseman Restaurant, New York

Txikito, New York