Meet the nofolks
NOFO's visually vibrant, quirky, and unique. It's chockfull of enticing product and really good food. But, it's primary asset may be its wonderful mix of unique and interesting people. In 2018, the readers of the Triangle Downtowner voted NOFO the "Most Friendly and Awesome Staff" and "Best Customer Service"." We also won the honor of "Friendliest Staff" in 2017. Here's a little bit about these award-winning folks.
Our owner, Jean
Jean Poe Martin grew up in Raleigh and has lived happily in the Five Points Neighborhood for over 60 years. She is the proud mother of three daughters and has six rocking grandchildren.
Sissy Ashby, Doug Diesing, and Jean were partners in Simple Pleasures Market & Cafe in the Glenwood Village Shopping Center from the late 70's to the mid 90's. They had the sheer delight of doing business in a simpler world that managed to turn quite nicely without big box stores, really fast food, Tweets, and the internet.
Sissy and Jean remain partners at Glenwood Grill which has fed neighborhood folks for 29 years at its Glenwood Village location.
Always a loyal Piggly Wiggly customer, Jean is happy to have brought life back to the pig through NOFO. She supports all things local and gives thanks every day that she is lucky enough to live in Raleigh, North Carolina and work with the fine folks at NOFO.
NOFO's bookkeeper, building manager, former cafe manager and retail salesperson, Anne's been the glue at NOFO for fifteen years. An avid reader, she enjoys traveling with her husband, baking yeast rolls, and raising their 4 cats. When she's at NOFO, she cannot resist partaking in the filet and making a visit to the truffles in our chocolate case. She is a huge fan of the Carolina Panthers, the TV series Breaking Bad, and cycling.
Fun fact: she has twice ridden in RAGBRAI - a race across Iowa that is the longest and oldest in the world.
As NOFO's cafe manager, Ashlan manages our eclectic team of servers and hosts. She grew up not far from Raleigh - in Wendell - but eventually made her way across I-87 to the City of Oaks. Ashlan says her favorite part of working at NOFO is getting to know all the unique personalities of her coworkers. As she's in the cafe often, she is quite familiar with the range of items on our menu. However, her clear favorite is the pork chop with collard greens and mac & cheese. When she finds time to visit the store upstairs, she's can't resist indulging in some Fire Cider and perusing the jewelry selection. In her spare time, Ashlan enjoys visiting Asheville and spending time with her son Liam.
As NOFO's chef, Dan creates a menu full of Southern favorites, with an emphasis on local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. He puts his own unique spin on classic Southern dishes - and our diners absolutely love the added flair. When he's not cooking up delectable dishes in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with Ashlan and her son Liam, traveling, listening to music, and of course eating delicious food. As he is in charge of our menu, it is difficult for Dan to choose a favorite item. When pressed, however, he admits he most enjoys partaking in the fresh seafood. You will most often find Dan in the kitchen, but he does occasionally emerge to enjoy the company of his coworkers and head upstairs to expand his extensive t-shirt collection.
Although he's not on the payroll, 8 year old Liam spends a lot of time at NOFO with Ashlan and Dan. Liam's very clever at turning empty boxes into airplanes or hiding places and advising us on which toys we should purchase. He can be spotted in the cafe every Tuesday night enjoying his favorite menu item, spaghetti. Liam describes himself as a "fun kid," and we agree.
James works in the kitchen as our rock star sous chef. We call him a rock star chef not only because his culinary creations are delicious - but also because he is the lead singer and guitarist for The Young Cardinals, a local Raleigh band. As a musician and chef, James says he most appreciates the creative energy at NOFO. He also greatly appreciates the Chef's Plate and the array of candy found upstairs. James is always on the go. In his own words, he "likes to move it, move it." When he's not traveling to New York City or playing a show, we are glad to have him here at NOFO.
We have kept Lindy really busy for twelve years, which may explain her description of NOFO as "a schizophrenic scavenger hunt". Lindy is NOFO's Market Manager, heads up the toy department, is NOFO's candy expert, and is great at finding the quirky, odd, & unusual. She previously served on the board of the North Carolina Specialty Food Association and currently serves as NOFO's in-house cheerleader for Buy Local.
An avid art collector and retired art gallery owner, Lee's been at NOFO for over ten years as the curator of the Carolina Collection. She's the proud mother of two and loving grandmother of five. Lee grew up in New Jersey, but came to Raleigh for a business her husband started. She's been here ever since, and we're so glad! You'll often see Lee working on hanging the art display in the cafe or setting up displays in the store. She is big fan of Pawley's Island, CNN, and Duke.
Fun fact: Every morning, Lee feeds a family of crows. They return the favor by gifting her with a nice pile of nesting material.
Mary helped open NOFO in 2001. She left the store to open her own advertising agency, but is now back with us seventeen years later as our floor manager. Mary is an avid animal lover, and you may have spotted her walking around The City of Oaks with her dogs. Aside from her love of animals, she also is a lover of baking. You can find some of her delicious, decorative sugar cookies around the Holidays. When not baking or overseeing the store staff, Mary designs much of NOFO's graphics. She truly is a multi-talented woman and we are so happy to have her back as a NOFOLK!
Like Mary, Alice has been a part of the NOFO story since the beginning. She helped open the store before moving to Wilmington. Now, we are so lucky to have her back at NOFO as our coffee & tea curator! As an accomplished artist, you'll often see Alice's adorable illustrations on our menu. As Alice says, "every day is different" at NOFO, and that's what keeps her coming back (along with the great selection of local artists' work). When she's not learning about the best brews or completing an art project for us, she loves to clog, dance, and hike. She enjoys being in nature and traveling - particularly to Ocracoke Island. In her free time, she volunteers for the Women's Center of Wake County and Trees Across Raleigh.
Donna, the artist behind Studio 119, makes found-art jewelry and hand-bound journals that we sell at NOFO. A former nurse who grew up in upstate New York and the mother of two sons, she somehow finds the time to work in our store. When she's not working, Donna enjoys crafting, taking art classes, and taking on home improvement projects with her husband. She's a huge fan of NOFO's sweet potato fries, local art, and Duke Basketball. Though she often says she's no fun, her co-workers beg to differ!
West has worked in our store for almost sixteen years. He grew up in Rocky Mount, but made his way to Raleigh when he was a teenager to attend the NC School of Science & Math. In his spare time, West enjoys gardening, hunting, and playing practical jokes on his fellow co-workers. When he's at NOFO, West enjoys tucking into an Avocado BLT and indulging in the freshly delivered baked goods. He is a big fan of Will & Grace, the North Carolina mountains, and "not counting calories."
Matthew (AKA Teo)
Teo calls himself a military brat, but we've yet to see a bratty side during his eight years at NOFO's bar. Born in Maryland, Teo has gradually made his way south - first to Virginia and then to The Old North State. As an avid gardener, his favorite time of year at NOFO is Spring, when we plant the garden. He also loves experimenting with cooking, and we love when he brings in some of his delicious burritos and empanadas to sample!
Becky's been with NOFO since its inception, working over the years both in the cafe and store. She is a runner, organic gardener, amateur herbalist, and mother to her 15-year-old son Caden. Becky's jams, jellies, and pickles have won numerous Blue Ribbons at the NC State Fair. Come find Becky in the store on Mondays and in the cafe on the weekend!
Karen may be retired from her own corporate relocation business, but she's the busiest person we know. An avid traveler and lifelong learner, Karen travels around the country in a teardrop trailer. When she's at NOFO, she works in the store to help us clean and organize our products. She also finds time to produce Parks & Recreation programs for the over 50 crowd! Karen's many talents have been with the NOFO family for eight years, and we have been so grateful to put them to good use!
The mother of three adorable daughters, Lara has worked in NOFO's store for 15 years. This Alabama native now teaches preschool full time, but still manages to help us out on the weekends. Her guilty pleasure on the menu is the ribeye, and in the store she cannot resist taking home some Dilly beans. Lara is a huge fan of the Marvel universe, traveling to the Caribbean, and rescuing dogs and furniture from the street!
Annetta is our resident photographer and social media savant. She populates our Instagram with images of our bright, funky products. Born in Raleigh, she moved around before returning to The City of Oaks. She is a fan of hiking, art, music, and the Tar Heels. We've been lucky to have her silly, creative spirit with us at NOFO for over a year now.
Dani has worked in our cafe for five years. We like to call her a graceful "energizer bunny," as you can find her gliding around from table to table, taking orders, and chatting with customers. Her nickname is somewhat fitting, considering she once played on a Roller Derby team when she lived in Florida. She has gradually made her way northward from the Sunshine State, and now enjoys spending her vacation time in the mountains of North Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys spending time running, singing, and planning her upcoming wedding.
Hanna moved from Oxford to Raleigh for college and stayed in the City of Oaks. She says she likes NOFO because everyone is always smiling, and Hanna makes us smile (it's a codependent relationship). Hanna works as a nanny, in NOFO's cafe, hosts at another restaurant, models, and enjoys photography and ballet. She is passionate about the beach and NOFO's Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Rianne is 1/2 owner of Dre - a rescued pitbull - and has worked in our cafe for six years. She is a fan of NOFO's seafood, NC State basketball, and the beach. Having grown up on the coast, Rianne is a beach girl at heart - and says her favorite time of year at NOFO is Spring and Summer. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and tanning.
Marcus is the other 1/2 owner of Dre, 1/3 of the local band The Young Cardinals, and is 100% adorable. He plays in the band alongside our rock star sous chef James. He moved to Raleigh from Idaho to play drums for The Young Cardinals, he's been a part of our cafe for going on five years now.
Alec works in our kitchen. He grew up in Wilmington, but came to Raleigh to live amongst his friends. When he's not at NOFO, he enjoys skateboarding, painting, and rooting on the San Diego Padres. He also is a fan of the TV series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, NOFO's turkey avocado sandwich, and chocolate.
Annie works in our cafe as a server. She grew up in the mountains of Virginia and lived on the Outer Banks before finding her way to Raleigh. She says her favorite time of year at NOFO is Fall, and her favorite item on the menu is the ever-popular pork chop. She is a huge TV fan, and always fills the rest of the staff in on the best shows to watch. Though she is an avid traveler, exploring exciting places like Thailand and Brazil, NOFO will always be a place she holds close to her heart (she met her fiancÚ Ryan here). We are so happy to have provided a forum for their first meeting, and wish them all the best in the future!
With an avid interest in writing, Andy works as our Communications Specialist. He grew up near the mountains of NC, before moving east to UNC-Chapel Hill for college. After graduating, he continued his eastbound journey to Raleigh. When he's not working, Andy enjoys spending his free time exploring the greenways and museums of the City of Oaks. Outside of Raleigh, he enjoys traveling with friends - particularly to the sunny beaches of our state's coast. He also is a staunch lover of his beloved Tar Heels, Harry Potter, and cats (in that order).
Beattie is a full-time college student, but somehow finds time to work in our store. We're so lucky to have her positive energy and bright smile behind the register. She is Raleigh born-and-bred, but is also an accomplished traveler who desires to go "everywhere." We think Beattie was always destined to join the "Pig" family, as she had a pet pig growing up! These days, however, she is more of a fan of "all things dogs." Beattie says she loves the great atmosphere at NOFO, and we're so grateful to have her here contributing to it!
Danielle has worked in our store for over a year. She came to Raleigh from New York, expecting only to stay for a year. Before she knew it, one year turned into another...and she's now called the City of Oaks home for 11 years! Danielle is a talented jeweler, and we sell many of her creations in the store. She is artistically inclined - working with metal, stone, and glass. If you're ever at a local art fair, keep an eye out for Danielle's pieces! When she's not at NOFO, Danielle works for the City of Raleigh's Arts Department, travels, and teaches art courses.
Linsey works in our cafe as a waitress. She hails from the Green Mountain State, Vermont, and moved to Raleigh four years ago. She keeps quite a busy schedule, balancing her gig at NOFO with a radiation therapy job at UNC's Rex Hospital. On the rare occasion she finds some free time for herself, Linsey enjoys playing basketball, running, reading, and traveling. Though she's lived in the South for four years, she reserves an allegiance to Northern sports teams - namely the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics. We try not to hold that against her, and are so glad she migrated down South!
Emma works in our cafe. She was born in Atlanta, but considers Raleigh to be her hometown. She is a huge fan of karate, cosmetology, playing guitar, and NOFO's unique staff. In addition to working at NOFO, she works as a nanny and as a receptionist for Karate International. When she's here, Emma enjoys browsing the t-shirt collection and partaking in our Thursday night Blue Plate special.
Fun fact: Emma is a black belt in Sanshinkai Karate. If security is ever needed at NOFO, we know who to call!
Stacy is a busy woman. This mother of two children works two jobs and is completing her culinary training at Wake Tech. She loves the beach, NOFO's club sandwich, fishing, and watching movies. If you've ever had a delicious egg at brunch here, there's a good chance it was Stacy's creation. In fact, she's earned the prestigious title of Best Brunch Egg Cooker in the kitchen.
Rodger works in our kitchen. He has lived in Colorado and Oklahoma, but moved east to Raleigh to be closer to his family. He is a huge fan of traveling, and his absolute favorite destination is Thailand. He is a fan of cats, the Oklahoma Sooners, and the the people who make up the NOFO family.
Randolph grew up in North Carolina with 5 brothers and sisters. He loves being busy and brought 35 years of experience in restaurant kitchens to NOFO. When not at work, Randolph enjoys reading, supporting NC State basketball, and watching the old black & white Gunsmoke TV series.
Erik works in our kitchen. He has lived in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Virginia, but decided to settle down in Raleigh. He's since been here for 35 years. He likes to let loose with a game of competitive darts, a beer at the Raleigh Beer Garden, or a viewing of a Milwaukee Brewers game. Having once served in the Army, Erik has seen quite a bit of the world - from Germany to Cuba to the Middle East. He is a huge fan of Family Feud, sci-fi movies, and the North Carolina beaches. He also is quite a bit of a fan of NOFO's t-shirt selection and our delicious pork chop.
Jack is our new host in the cafe. Originally from Michigan, he moved down South when his dad's job was transferred to Raleigh. In addition to being a high school student and cafe host, Jack also works as an intern at an architectural firm. Three of his favorite things are Yosemite, dogs, and the "nice folks at NOFO."
Along with Jack, Maya is the newest addition to our NOFO family. She works as a hostess and waitress in our cafe, and is also a college student. Born in Richmond, Maya moved to Wilmington for middle school and has stayed in The Old North State since. Like her roommate Rianne, she is a huge fan of both dogs and the beach. In her free time, she enjoys reading Ken Follett thrillers and rooting on her favorite bicoastal basketball teams: the Los Angeles Lakes and Duke Blue Devils.