Southern ComfortBlock Number: 105
Suzan Harris, owner of the Market Grill Restaurant, chose the name Southern Comfort for her quilt block as it brings thoughts of not only good southern prepared food and dependable service, but a warm air of friendliness and comradeship. A native of McDowell County, she lived for some time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In 1997 she moved back and opened her restaurant that same year. It was originally located at the Eastside Flea Market once located on East Court Street. A fire however, destroyed that flea market in 1999 and she was forced to close down.
Bob Frisbee, then owner of Frisbee’s Grocery, offered Suzan the use of an adjacent building he owned, and she gratefully accepted, grabbing the chance to reopen her Market Grill. The building had once housed the First Citizens Bank and interestingly still has the old bank vault inside that is now used for storage purposes. The word “market” remains a part of the Market Grill’s signature name in remembrance of once having started out as part of the old flea market. “Southern Comfort,” Block #105 on the McDowell Quilt Trail, is located at 1210 East Court Street and was positioned on a wall of the Market Grill, facing southwest on November 11, 2011.
Although not a quilter herself, Suzan took interest in the growing number of Quilt Blocks around the County and decided to become a part of the Trail and participate in the McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) program. It serves as a tribute and thank you to all her faithful patrons over the last fifteen years who have enjoyed the satisfying country food that is served, along with a good steaming cup of Java.
Mike Lucas, using a computer program, assisted Suzan in developing the pattern that is actually an interesting combination of four quilt patterns, each uniquely contributing to the restaurant trade. The center of the block represents a plate edged in a variation of the scalloped “Dresden Plate” pattern, popular in Dresden, Germany at the center of the 19th century Romanticism movement. That was a time when household items and love of decoration was evidenced by the embellishment of plates with elaborate design. The radiating “petals,” or fan-like pattern, have flat sides and appear as water glass tumblers. They are in shades of alternating blue and purple, favorite colors of Suzan’s.
The center of the plate reflects the old traditional “Corn and Bean” quilt pattern, composed of right triangles in three sizes. Popular among farm families in the late 1800’s, the warm mellow colors of lettuce greens, corn yellow, and melon apricot are reminiscent of summer’s vegetable harvest. The lovely Corn and Bean pattern, edged in autumn red, is recognized for its many triangles and points, possibly representing a plow.
The plate sits on a ”Four Square Patch” pattern of alternating light green and tan colors. In each of the four squares is the traditional “Cup and Saucer” pattern. A miniature decoration of the Corn and Bean pattern on each cup compliments the center of the plate. Be sure to take a look at this interesting 4’ X 4’ block and stop by for a “Southern Comfort” meal prepared and served by Suzan and her two employees!
Jill Lucas presented Suzan with a Certificate of Authenticity, recognizing her as a part of the effort to retain Appalachian quilting traditions and attract visitors to McDowell County. Established in June 2009, the McDowell Quilt Trail organization is a non-profit volunteer operation.