Last week, an article that former Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis did for Charlotte Magazine appeared online. It digs into Chef Jim Noble and his complicated stature in Charlotte’s restaurant landscape. On one hand, he is a well-respected and successful chef and restaurateur whose philanthropic pursuits include his King’s Kitchen restaurant that employs people who are under normal circumstances considered unemployable due to poverty, homelessness, or addiction. He is also a reverend who leads bible study at that same restaurant. On the other hand, he has a religiously conservative view on gay rights and was one of only two restaurateurs who officially supported House Bill 2 (or HB2) passed by the NC Legislature in 2015 that required transgender people to use the bathroom that conformed with the gender on their birth certificates, essentially wiping out a nondiscrimination ordinance enacted shortly before by the Charlotte City Council.
From there, Purvis zooms out to explore some of the history of discrimination in the south in both the past and the present. I won’t recap it here, but it’s definitely worth a read.
It should be noted that while Noble declined to be interviewed for Purvis’s story there is no record of Noble’s restaurants discriminating against anyone in the LGBTQ+ community. But that doesn’t mean that potential patrons of his restaurants (which, in addition to Noble Smoke includes two Rooster’s Kitchen locations and Bossy Beulah’s) won’t take his views into account in deciding whether or not to spend money there, regardless of whether they are part of the LGBTQ+ community or not.
I haven’t made a decision either way, but it certainly has been and will continue to be on my mind going forward.
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