Paul Verica is a native of Philadelphia, Pa.; he received his associates degrees in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts from Delaware County Community College and The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. He then staged in France for two Michelin Three-Star chefs: Alain Passard of L’Arpege (in Paris) and the late Bernard Louisseau of La Cote D’Or (in Saulieu). Both experiences still bear heavy influences on Paul’s cooking today.
In 1998, Chef Verica moved with his family to Charlotte, N.C., to open The Duke Mansion, located in the city’s Myers Park neighborhood. He then took the helm as Executive Chef of Providence Bistro Restaurants’ three locations; following that, he became Executive Chef & Food & Beverage Director of The Historic Dunhill Hotel in uptown Charlotte.
Chef Verica then moved into the private-club culinary realm by accepting the position of Executive Chef at The Club at Longview, near Waxhaw, N.C. During his time there, he was interviewed for a “Chef to Chef” feature in Club + Resort Business (“A Garden Adds Variety,” November 2007, https://clubandresortbusiness.com/a-garden-adds-variety/), and was also a presenter at the inaugural Chef to Chef Conference in 2009 in Las Vegas, on the topic of “Takeout, The Next F&B Frontier.”
Chef Verica left The Club at Longview (after earning the additional title of Director of Food and Beverage) in 2012. In 2013, he opened his first restaurant, Heritage Food & Drink, in Waxhaw, N.C. Paul’s close relationships with many local farms and farmers that had been cultivated during his years at Longview (where he had his own kitchen garden) became a driving force behind his meticulously sourced menus for the restaurant, and Heritage garnered many awards under Paul’s ownership, including:
- Best New Restaurant 2014 (Creative Loafing, Staff Pick)
- Best Farm to Fork Restaurant 2014 (Creative Loafing, Staff Pick)
- Best Restaurant 2016 (Charlotte magazine)
- Best Chef 2016 (Charlotte magazine)
- The South’s Best Desserts 2018 (Southern Living magazine)
In 2016, Chef Verica was a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef–Southeast.
The decision to close Heritage Food & Drink in the fall of 2017 was a difficult one, but the restaurant’s small size and distance from many Charlotte neighborhoods necessitated a change. Construction then began on The Stanley (housed in a 1937 building in the heart of Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood, formerly known as “Stanleyville”) in early 2018. With custom millwork and original pressed-tin ceilings, along with the etched glass featured in the restored storefront, the restaurant’s décor reflects the modern, sophisticated, yet approachable cuisine that is Chef Verica’s signature.
In 2018, The Stanley was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.
Chef Verica is an avid golfer and a Carolina Panthers fan (as long as they aren’t playing his beloved Philadelphia Eagles!). He enjoys eating at colleagues’ restaurants as often as his schedule permits, and enjoys collaborating with fellow chefs on fundraisers that benefit charities such as:
- The Levine Children’s Hospital
- The Piedmont Culinary Guild
- The Matthews Farmers Market
- Feed The Children
- Girls On The Run
Chef Verica has three children: Alex, 22, Paige, 17, and Andrew, 15, and lives in south Charlotte.