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Chef brings unique background to new Square Root

Adam Wilson will bring creative cuisine to South Main Street. Adam Wilson will bring creative cuisine to South Main Street.

You can't blame the Wilson family for thinking that opening a second Square Root was meant to be.


The Wilsons, owners of the popular and highly regarded restaurant by that name in Brevard, plan to open a second Square Root at 111 S. Main St. in downtown Hendersonville, the space that had been home to the Square One Bistro. The new owners only need to change one word in the new home. Plus it's on the town square, next to the Historic Courthouse.
"That was quite a coincidence, to be honest," said Adam Wilson, the executive chef of the Square Root.
Crews are working nights and weekends to get the space ready for the new Square Root, which has a wide-ranging menu of both traditional and innovative dishes that Wilson says cross styles and cultures.
"There will be exciting new dishes on our menu," he said, and taking out a copy of the not-yet-released offerings and reading some examples. "Soft shell crab sautéed and served over a truffle jalapeno cheddar polenta. Grilled wild-caught swordfish with Mediterranean couscous and fennel salad tossed in citrus vinaigrette. Grilled flat iron steak with blue cheese roasted tomatoes and garlic Parmesan creamed spinach and red wine demi-glace."
SUBHED: From the Ritz to the yacht
Wilson brings broad experience serving diverse tastes to the local table.
After he graduated with honors from culinary school at the Art Institute of Atlanta, he took a job at the Ritz Carlton in that city. He soon earned a promotion to the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach, Fla., and later worked as sous chef at three different country clubs in South Florida.
"Then my wife and I took a job as private chef (and manager) for a billionaire family on board their 153-foot yacht that sailed between Palm Beach and New England. After doing that for almost two years we got another job for another billionaire family on their private estate in Connecticut," he said.
Was it hard to leave a job serving a wealthy family, when he could buy any ingredient he wanted and let his creativity flourish? Not really, he said. There's nothing like being your own boss, and making food you want to make, rather than cooking at someone's direction.
"I always had a passion to own and operate my own restaurant," he said. "We wanted to move to a beautiful town in the mountains and we wanted to bring the experience we learned and loved and knew to North Carolina."

SUBHED: Family owned, family operated
The team that runs the Square Root includes Adam's father, Rick, and his mom, Linda; and his wife, Cindy. The couple has a 13-month-old son, Devan.
Cindy, an Indian who also has lived in South Africa, says she would probably work as a pastry chef and fill in at "expo," the expediter who makes sure orders get from the cook to the server in an accurate and timely way.
Rick, a retired air traffic controller, manages the front of the house and keeps the books, with help from Linda, a retired X-ray technician.
The Wilsons bought the Square Root in May 2010 and changed everything about it except the interior. An old newspaper office dating from 1930, the Brevard space at 33 Times Arcade is historic. The new Square Root is no newbie either. "That wall was built in 1847," Rick said, pounding on the common wall shared by the historic Thomas Produce Co. building at First and Main.
The restaurant, which uses the tagline "relaxed American cuisine with a world view," has draw positive reviews from diners.
"At the Square Root, bring the same expectations you'd have when going to the trendiest places in South Beach, and prepare to have them met by the inventiveness, quality, and complexity of the food," a diner wrote on the restaurant website Urban Spoon. "Every element of my wife's cheeseburger was artfully prepared, and my Square Root salad was among the best I've ever had. ... Our table split three different desserts, and though we're veterans of the best of Miami, Manhattan, Atlanta, and Aspen...we couldn't think of a single time when we've had better."
A Mountain Xpress survey named Square Root the best restaurant in Brevard for three years. The Wilsons vow to bring the same quality to Hendersonville.
"It's going to be the same concept," Rick said. "The décor will be different. The same great service and food — that's what we've made our name on — great service and great food."
Wilson says he looks forward to serving loyal customers from Hendersonville who have driving to Brevard to dine at Square Root and hopes to attract new ones.
"What makes them come back? The creativity, the fresh ingredients. We touch on a lot of different cultures and ethnicities within our food," he said. "We've got mountain trout for people that want that because they're here but you see we have the Asian noodle fish bowl and we have curry chicken."
Square Root changes its menu three or four times a year and runs daily specials for lunch and dinner. It serves Sunday brunch, too.
"We do beignets in a brown bag with a cherries jubilee dipping sauce," Wilson said. "We do a Monte Christo with a blueberry compote. We'll do omelets made to order."

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (bar open later). To see the Brevard menu go to sqroot.com.