Trey and Kristen Cummings began calling Clinton home just a decade ago, and at the same time, began providing residents of Clinton and Sampson County with the option of elegant dining through their restaurant, Ribeyes.
Opening the restaurant Feb. 9, 2006, it was Trey and Kristen who ran the kitchen and served the food with the help a handful of others. In the last ten years, that has changed quite a bit, as the Cummings now entrust the food to chefs Ben Baker and Jorge Soza and the service to more than 30 employees.
The Cummings are planning to give back to the community that has so freely given to them over the last decade in a week-long celebration Feb. 8-13. Eat, Drink and Support the Schools will donate a portion of the week’s sales to Sampson County and Clinton City schools.
“We wanted to give back to the community that has supported us,” Kristen said during a interview at the restaurant last week.
Throughout the week’s celebration, Trey and Kristen have invited guest chefs to come in and do nightly specials, but the best has been set aside for Feb. 9, as the restaurant will close the doors to the public, and are selling tickets to the one-night event for a five course meal, to be prepared by Baker and Soza.
All proceeds from that night will go towards the Cummings goal of raising $10,000 to be given equally to the local school systems.
Tuesday night’s meal will be a seated event, and feature a salad, squash bisque, pork belly and sweet potato pancake, steak Oscar and dessert. Beer and wine will be served during the event. All produce being used has been grown locally. The Cummings are selling 100 tickets to this event, which has sold more than half already.
“We hope everyone will come out to this event and support our local schools,” Kristen shared. “The schools are a passion of mine and I want to be able to give to those teachers who are teaching our future.”
Other nights will feature family-friendly events, like face painting and balloon animals. Saturday night has been designated as “Team Day” and members of the Cape Fear Heroes from Fayetteville will be present.
“We hope the families come out to these family-friendly events and enjoy being a part of something great for the schools,” Kristen said.
A percentage of sales from Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be added to the total from Tuesday night’s event.
Matthew Register, Richard Kugleman and Debbie Valenti are just three of the guest chefs who will be preparing food during the week-long celebration.
A great deal of the food has been donated towards the fundraiser. Double Barley Brewing of Smithfield has donated the beer and Mutual Distributing has donated the wine. Smithfield Foods and US Foods have also donated food for Tuesday night and the Atrium Florist will provide decor.
According to Kristen, Ribeyes has grown since its opening in 2006. When it first opened, the restaurant operated six days a week for dinner only. Now, the restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, never closing before 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on the weekends.
Ribeyes’ menu has grown in the last 10 years as well. What started as a meat and potatoes endeavor has evolved into a smorgasbord of homegrown delicacies. Along with the jalapenos on the roof, lettuce, Cajun spicy peppers, Brussels sprouts, basil, rosemary and mint are all growing in a garden alongside the restaurant, located at 100 Westover Road, and there are plentiful other future ingredients growing in fields across Sampson.
“When we first started, all we served was steak, chicken and shrimp, baked potato and sweet potato,” Trey recalled. “I was the main cook and she was the main server. We had maybe five or six other people. At times we didn’t have more than 10 people on payroll.”
The Cummings made a bold move towards a positive future last summer — closing the restaurant for five days for a massive renovation project. Now, the main dining area can seat more people and the Angus Room has approximately 20 more spaces, making it the perfect location for meetings and parties.
For more information about next month’s event or to purchase a ticket for Feb. 9, contact Kristen or Trey at the restaurant.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.