(The Triangle Trend) — Wayne and Kristyna Alcaide know a thing or two about hard work and commitment.
The success of their destination bistro, The Provincial, now in its fifth year of culinary existence, can be traced to exactly that. In the rough and tumble restaurant business, success is rarely achieved without unyielding commitment, roll-up-your-sleeves hard work, and, of course, outstanding food.
Wayne Alcaide, a native of New Jersey and a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, is a twenty-five-year veteran of the hospitality industry. His career started in Los Angeles and featured gigs in Las Vegas and on the Gulf Coast of Florida ahead of the move to North Carolina, prompted by a long-held desire to be a restaurateur.
Kristyna, a native of the Czech Republic, made her way to America to learn English. She met Wayne in North Carolina and the rest is history. They married and started a family with Kristyna staying home to raise the kids during their early years.
As the kids (two boys and a girl) grew older and their desire to own a restaurant grew stronger, they started their search in earnest and ultimately landed in Apex when they discovered a storefront was available on Salem Street.
While Wayne handled the kitchen, Kristyna became a veritable jack-of-all-trades, handling anything and everything that didn’t include being chef. She ran the front of the house, kept the books, hired and trained new staff, and still found time to establish herself as a pastry chef extraordinaire (her desserts are the bomb).
During the first year or two, The Provincial struggled (like so many small restaurants do). As Kristyna tells it, the number one problem then and now, was finding qualified, knowledgeable, and committed staff. Waiters, bartenders, kitchen staff, and so forth moved through the proverbial revolving door of restaurant personnel.
But they knew what to expect and they weathered that storm, making smart business decisions that were measured and informed by experience. To say they ran a tight ship would be an understatement. Sometimes, Kristyna did it all. It kept the payroll down and the doors open.
Eventually, The Provincial found its sea legs (pun intended). Cash flow improved. Their reputation for fresh, simple, and inspired dishes translated into customer loyalty, infectious word-of-mouth marketing, and, perhaps most importantly, the need for Kristyna to start taking reservations.
The Provincial’s motto is simple and fresh, something they adhere to with fervor. They source meat and vegetables from many local farmers, including Fox Farm & Forage and Blue Sky Farms. Fresh-caught seafood—a Provincial staple and specialty—is delivered daily from the North Carolina coast with suppliers in Beaufort and the Outer Banks prominently involved. Wayne, a skilled fishmonger, filets and preps all seafood, saving the restaurant money, and perhaps more critically, ensuring his signature remains indelibly placed on these small and large plate delicacies.
Earlier this year, when The Provincial crossed the threshold of its fourth anniversary, Wayne and Kristyna could not have known what was in store for them as the pandemic loomed, first shutting them down completely and pushing cash flow to 2016 levels. As the governor eased restrictions and the restaurant resumed business, first with curbside only and then with limited seating, business started to come back, but not at previously established levels. That was going to take some time.
Ever grateful to the support and affection of the local community, Kristyna noted that while many of the early curbside orders came from established customers, what surprised her the most were the new and unexpected customers who made it known that they didn’t want to see The Provincial go out of business and felt compelled to place an order. For them, The Provincial wasn’t just a restaurant on Salem Street—it was an essential member of the community.
One of the silver linings of the shutdown has been appreciation. Appreciation for the little things, like the simple, delicious food of a local bistro. Appreciation for having a wonderful gathering space, with good wine, great food, and the comfort found in seeing familiar faces. Appreciation that sustains you during a pandemic.
For Wayne and Kristyna, their journey with The Provincial is hardly complete. Hard work, unwavering commitment, and simple and fresh food are a given. But, in our current reality where the things we take for granted have been turned on their head, it is comforting to know that Kristyna is taking reservations again.
119 Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502