Our Town: Game Plan: Joe Kwon

 

Eamon Queeney

“So many places in Raleigh are rising to the top.
It’s fun to be in that growth.”
Joe Kwon, musician and local food enthusiast

Joe Kwon was born in Korea, raised in High Point, and has travelled near and far. It’s downtown Raleigh, however, that he returns to after months on tour with award-winning and multiple-Grammy-nominated band The Avett Brothers. And he doesn’t just live in Raleigh— he’s deeply involved in its growth and development. The cellist most recently performed at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s first annual THRIVE NC festival at City Market, for example. He says it was a no-brainer to contribute with a performance of “Joe Kwon & Friends” at the culinary event supporting statewide hunger relief. “All of my friends in the culinary world were going to be a part of it, so it made sense for me to sign on. It was an easy decision.”

Like music, food is a central theme in Kwon’s world. He’s also a part of the artistic team for the upcoming East Raleigh food hall, Transfer Co. The space will include vendors like Person Street Bar, Locals Seafood, and Saxapahaw General Store. Kwon says he’s looking forward to a spot that will heed the growth of this often underserved side of Raleigh. “Downtown and East Raleigh are two demographics that might not cross paths without something like Transfer Co. Hopefully we can create cross-communication, through food, that wouldn’t naturally occur.”

Despite steady travel and juggling multiple projects, one of Kwon’s favorite things to do, he says, is stay at home. “We’re on the road a lot, so when we’re home, we don’t want to leave. We love hosting people and gathering around the table.” He and his wife, Emily, customized their downtown Raleigh home with intentional spaces for entertaining and hosting. “It’s such a communal thing to share memories around food.” —Catherine Currin