Skip to main content

Unpretentious Palate


Suggested content for you

share on facebook Tweet This! Email
June 27, 2024

Editor’s Dish: When the unthinkable happens

The culinary community steps up for chef and colleague Jamie Barnes

by TM Petaccia

Yesterday, the announcement went out that What The Fries was closed until further notice. The place just recently reopened inside The City Kitch, and was doing fairly well, so speculation was running rampant as to why. A few hours later, we found out.

Lane Barnes, daughter of What the Fries chef/owner Jamie Barnes, suddenly passed just a month shy of her second birthday. Jamie and his wife Alicia were open about Baby Lane’s strong fight with cerebral palsy. She was an absolutely beautiful girl whose smile and glow reflected her parents’ kindness and devotion. Her fortitude and playful energy are a loss to us all.

I’ve known Jamie for just about ten years now. I got to know him at a proof-of-concept event he held inside an office building on North Graham Street as he began to raise funds for his first food truck — and where he proved he can do a full menu based on fries and tater tots. He is as warm a soul as you’ll ever meet and, in my opinion, the most underrated chef in the city.

He is also one of the inaugural members of Piedmont Culinary Guild. To support their friend and colleague, PCG will be holding two fundraising events. This Sunday, from 5 p.m. until they are all gone, there will be a tomato sandwich drive-thru at Small City Farm, 1401 Auten Road, just off Brookshire. For a minimum donation of $20 (cash or card), you get a juicy tomato sandwich made with the fruit straight off the vine on artisanal Verdant Bread sourdough. There will also be an online raffle where local chefs, food artisans, and other businesses have donated a number of items you can win, including one of our own UP old-fashioned kits (with a bottle of Wild Turkey). All proceeds will go directly to the Barnes family.

When the unthinkable happens, sometimes you need others to think for you.

Our Editor’s Dish pieces are taken from our free newsletter, sent on Monday and Thursday each week. Get thoughtful content like this delivered directly to your inbox. Sign up here.

Posted in: Editor's Dish, Latest Updates