You can find Lavender Bistro on the quaint main street of historic Tryon, NC, perched upon the uphill stretch of a classic winding back road so commonly associated with the picturesque Carolina Foothills. The quiet nature of the small town of Tryon, NC, is what enticed Executive Chef and Owner Ross Sturm to relocate from the coast of South Carolina back to mountains, and the Spartanburg, SC, native feels he’s finally found home.
“There’s a sense of giving back in this town that you don’t find in many other places. My parents and I have been coming up to this area since I was just a little kid. We’d come up to the apple orchards and Pierson Falls,” commented Sturm. “I just bought my first house, here in Tryon, and it’s a great feeling to know that you’re within walking distance of your own restaurant.”
“This community has been so good to me and I decided that I wanted to keep my money here in Tryon, especially being a small business owner in this town. I love the people here and I couldn’t be more thankful for the support that we’ve received from our customers and I think that’s really what’s made us special.”
Sturm was introduced to the kitchen at a young age, beginning as a dishwasher late night at Captain Tony’s in Spartanburg, SC, before working his way up to sous chef. While his career began in Spartanburg, Sturm found himself hopping to and from South Carolina’s small island chains learning from the best, and specifically influenced by the art of French cooking, before finding his “place” in Tryon, NC, just over a year and half ago.
“I was lucky. One of the chefs working at the Captain Tony’s took notice of my interest in cooking and brought me under his wing. He taught me everything, including knowing and understanding the science behind preparing food, because there is a science to cooking,” said Sturm. “I then apprenticed under several French chefs, which is how I ended up here.”
One of Sturm’s favorite dishes to prepare is Bouillabaisse, a combination of a tasty tomat sauce with three types of flat fish and garnished with an array of locally provided seafood. Sturm explained, “We only pick the freshest ingredients to include each day. We always try to use what we have access to locally and in this dish we have Carolina trout, mussels, and clams from the Carolinas, topped with a hint of saffron and orange zest.”
“My other favorite dish that is always a favorite is the braised beef short ribs. They take a long time to prepare, almost nine hours. We start off braising them and they’ll sit in a combination of spices and herbs that whole time. They just fall off the bone and melt in your mouth.”
Lavender Bistro is located at 82 N. Trade Street in Tryon, NC, and is open for lunch Monday – Friday from 11:30a.m. – 3:00p.m. and serve dinner from Monday – Saturday 5:00 p.m. until –, which Sturm noted is an important concept of business.
“I will never turn a customer away if people are in the restaurant enjoying their meals and we are still able to serve food. That’s why I always advertise our closing time as until, because I don’t want there to be a definite end to what we have to offer to our customers. We love to give back to this community and want to accommodate their generosity and support.”