Arts center, market opens in Belhaven

Published 11:27 pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hundreds attended Friday’s grand opening celebration of Spoon River Artworks & Market. The downtown Belhaven business will open Monday morning. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)

BELHAVEN – Opening Spoon River Artworks & Market was a three-year process for Teresa and Mark VanStaalduinen after Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on the project.
The VanStaalduinens were well into renovating when the hurricane flooded the downtown building and they had to essentially start over.
Teresa said getting funding was one of the biggest issues.
“It’s a scary, scary place to be in, opening a business, then renovating, putting in a full kitchen,” she said. “It was way harder than I thought and way more expensive than I thought.”
The couple celebrated the completed project at a grand opening party Friday night. Spoon River will officially open Monday.
“They worked very hard bringing this establishment to town and hopefully we can attract some people to the surrounding area,” said Greg Satterthwaite, president of the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to selling artwork and antiques, Spoon River sells specialty foods.
Mark described Spoon River as an antique market and café specializing in local – “as local as you can get” – foods and products.
“Craft beers, cheeses, crackers and bread will all be from this state,” Teresa said. “I really love North Carolina agritourism.”
Market shelves were lined with drunken blackberry and mint preserves from Hyde County and artisan flat breads from Hillsborough.
Teresa hired two Charlotte chefs who have developed a breakfast and lunch menu using the freshest ingredients available.
Chef Marla Thurman said her food does not fall under any particular category, but she spent time in the Mediterranean and grew up in Texas. Both influences would be showcased.
“I like to play with food. [The menu] will be changing a lot. We’ll try to keep things interesting,” Thurman said.
Spoon River is the VanStaalduinens’ third business venture in Belhaven. They owned Southern Culture Antiques and Harmony Brew Coffee Shop.
This venture takes advantage of all of Teresa’s talents and interests.
“Teresa’s always done a lot of artwork and interior design. She’s really talented,” Mark said. “And she’s a foodie.”
Carol Montgomery, Linda Medlin and Carolyn Boyd were regulars at Teresa’s coffee shop and plan to frequent Spoon River just as often.
“It’s very nice. Teresa is a very creative person,” said Carol Montgomery. “Well, what else is there to do on a Friday night in Belhaven?”
Medlin and Boyd said Belhaven needed more places like Spoon River.
“We need to become more uptown in Belhaven,” said Linda Medlin.
“And this is uptown,” Boyd added.
Karen Wahab of the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce said Spoon River would be quite a draw for Belhaven.
“We think it’s going to be a place that people are going to want to drive to, a destination,” Wahab said. “And the chamber is very pleased to pat her on the back.”
Brynn Waite will be selling her granola at Spoon River. Her products are in Whole Foods and mixed-use specialty stores in North Carolina and Virginia.
Waite passed out samples at Friday’s grand opening party. She made a few sales, as well.
“Somebody said to me tonight, ‘We can’t get granola in Belhaven.’ Well, now you can,” Waite said.
Spoon River Artworks & Market is located in downtown Belhaven at 263 Pamlico Street. They open for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. Weekend hours may vary. For more information, call 252-945-3899 or find them on Facebook.