Sit down with Taylor Hedges and Payton Beaty for five minutes, and you will know that you are in the presence of two women brimming with exceptional dedication, passion, and creativity! They are the force behind The Board Babe, Charcuterie Café and Lounge in downtown Winston-Salem.
Just in case you have somehow missed the arrival of charcuterie as a delightful social experience in the last couple of years, let me explain. The word charcuterie is a 15th-century French term that translates to “the products of a fancy pork butcher.” Luckily that meaning has evolved to describe an assortment of curated meats and artisan breads or crackers that may also include fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and/or baked goods, all artfully arranged on a serving board. Offerings from The Board Babe are intentionally designed with a major focus on flavor, pairings, and visual appeal.
So how did these two close friends, Taylor, originally from California, and Payton from Charlotte, come together to create this dynamic and growing business? Like so many entrepreneurial stories of late, one word: pandemic. Taylor, a former broker, found herself with less work and more time on her hands while quarantined, so she started making charcuterie boards for fun. A few friends were invited over and their supportive reaction inspired Taylor to create an Instagram page for her boards and try to sell them. How did that go? “It just blew up on Instagram!” Taylor says. The stars continued to align when Taylor reconnected with Payton, who had been managing an event venue that was also unable to operate due to Covid. Payton was enthusiastic about the potential and the two struck up a business partnership. Payton also owns The Intent Weddings & Events.
November of 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of The Board Babe, and it is clear that this endeavor is just getting started for these two dynamos and their staff of eight! In addition to growing their catering, “pop-up” and wholesale product business, there is also an expansion into the Greensboro market in the works. “We don’t have a space selected in Greensboro yet… we are looking for something unique, maybe with more of an industrial feel to it because we intend to cater more to men at that location. Guys should have a cool, ‘metro’ space where they can go for a beer after work, catch some sports but also feel like they’ve had a unique experience,” says Taylor.
The first year of The Board Babe has been a busy, challenging, but ultimately successful one, so I asked Taylor and Payton to give me some insight into how they think that happened. “You can do cool things with a product, but at the end of the day, you need to be grateful and happy with what you do,” Payton said. “Having a business partnership built on trust and respect is key.”
Taylor adds, “We are not afraid to show our true selves… both our strengths and weaknesses. We are learning so much while also being very intentional about our craft and about building our brand.”
Ready to experience The Board Babe for yourself? The café is located in one of Winston-Salem’s historical gems, The Rosenbacher House, one of the grandest (and possibly haunted!) Neo-Classical Revival dwellings in Winston-Salem and one of only several examples of the style in the West End. The house simply drips with character and charm and there is also ample outdoor seating and a fire pit. Currently open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., visitors will enjoy a variety of baked goods, tapas, and flatbreads along with local craft beer and specialty bottles of wine that you won’t find anywhere else in town. Along with fabulous essays about intentional living, sample menus for the café, brunch, and the wine list can be perused on The Board Babe website. Follow The Board Babe on Instagram and Facebook so that you won’t miss their event and workshop announcements.
I am grateful for the time I spent talking with Taylor and Payton and look forward to relaxing at The Board Babe Café very soon. Maybe I will see you there…. enjoying a glass of wine, an artful charcuterie board and soaking up the positive energy that abounds in this intentional and passionate space.