Dining Out: White Wine & Butter – New Cajun trattoria concept to open in Greer
For Chef Michael Sibert, opening his own restaurant has always been a lifelong dream. Two years ago, when the pandemic hit, that dream became a reality when Val King, owner of the new Cartwright Food Hall in downtown Greer, approached Sibert about opening a restaurant as part of his venture.
“While so many in the restaurant business were facing unknowns, we were presented with an exciting new opportunity,” says Sibert. “We’re fortunate and still can’t believe how all of this is coming together.”
Located in an 1864 carriage house, Sibert’s new dining concept will feature a menu of fresh house-made pasta and Cajun and Creole dishes inspired by time-honored recipes.
Sibert says his culinary journey began at home in Greenwood, S.C., where he learned to prepare meals for his working mom by watching the Food Network.
“I was surrounded by family members who were incredible cooks,” says Sibert. “Their passion deeply influenced me and helped me understand the traditions behind food and recipes – the kind of experiences I would have never gotten from culinary school.”
While his classmates were playing football, Sibert was hands-on in the kitchen with his aunt, grandmother, or his McCormick, S.C. grandfather, known as “Black Cat” Richard.
“My grandmother was a very talented baker and was known for her cakes, especially cheesecakes,” he says. “My grandfather, he was a master smoker of all types of meats and was widely known for his hash.”
After culinary school, Sibert would spend more than a decade as a chef in hotels, country clubs, and fine dining restaurants. Recently, he completed a stint working with world-renowned chefs in New Orleans.
“Each experience was unique and provided valuable lessons, all of which have prepared me for this next step,” he says.
Sibert credits his wife, Samantha Aupied, for fueling his passion to explore the foods and flavors of Louisiana. A native of New Orleans, Aupied has a number of chefs in her family, including her stepfather, who worked at Clancy’s Restaurant, a New Orleans treasure famous for its Creole cuisine. As a wedding present, Aupied gave Sibert her great-grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe book – a gift that would serve as inspiration for the menu at White Wine & Butter. Your stories live here. Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.
Three years ago, Sibert began testing his new Cajun trattoria-style concept through his catering business which focuses on high-end culinary events. Last year during Euphoria, he introduced a pasta dish with squid ink campanelle smothered with traditional etouffee. It was a hit.
“I’m just doing what I love,” says Sibert. “While I’m injecting inspiration from family recipes, my years of training and experience serve as the foundation of the cuisine. I’ll always stay true to myself by adding my signature and a little flair to every dish.”
Head Chef Savalas Barnes and Pasta Chef Troy Arnold round out the culinary team. Aupied will continue in her role as chief branding officer for the restaurant and catering business.
While the restaurant menu is still evolving, expect signature dishes like Pastalaya, a take on Jambalaya featuring duck, andouille sausage, shrimp, and mawmaw pasta.
“In this dish, there’s a deep Louisiana flavor profile with a little kick to it,” he says.
A delicious vegetarian twist on the classic Cajun dish, the maque choux features ricotta and mushroom stuffed agnolotti, white wine butter sauce, fire-roasted corn, tomatoes, and black truffle oil.
For Louisiana barbecue shrimp, Sibert elevates this family recipe with a rich brown butter sauce.
The menu also includes a selection of small plates such as traditional fried boudin with remoulade bourbon mustard, fried shrimp po’boys, popular Voodoo fries, and pasta salads like charcuterie and New Orleans muffuletta.
Inside, Old World and Frenchman Street vibe together. A small retail area will feature items like dried and fresh pasta, sauces, and desserts classics like macarons, tarts, and petit fours.
“I think any dining experience is about having trust in the chef,” Sibert says. “I want you to come here with an unbiased palette and experience new flavors. I hope the years of culinary training, as well as my passion, come through in this menu and in every bite.”
Sibert says that if renovation plans go as scheduled, the new restaurant will open by the end of March with daily lunch and dinner service and brunch on the weekends.