Long after The Frog and Nightgown and way before the glam of Glenwood Ave. Soho District, there was Cappers. An unassuming little restaurant nestled between store fronts in North Hills Shopping Center. Co-owners Keith Folgerman and Karl Ritz, also executive chef, took this 110-seating capacity room and turned it into the Triangle’s premiere restaurant and jazz venue. From the rich mahogany bar to the baby grand piano, Cappers provided an intimate setting where you could routinely find local celebrities such as Kitty Kinnin sipping on a brandy and a frequent hang between shows at the Longbranch, Greg Allman. Seven nights a week, you could hear world-class, local jazz players performing to a standing room only crowd.
In 1990, the conception of the Icons of Jazz Series was created. The thought was to provide Triangle Jazz aficionados with a 4 star - 3 course meal, bring in top international jazz players that one could almost touch as they played, and try not to lose one’s shirt while doing it. Keith & Karl took a huge step from being restaurantpreneurs to concert presenters in one meeting. Over the course of a year, TEA booked jazz icons featured on the pages that follow. The series was a huge success! Each Jazz Icon sold out for two shows on the same day. Imagine red carpet, stretch limos, flashing bulbs of the media and a line out the front door of anticipating fans looking to see their favorite artist and enjoy a wonderful meal.
With Karl & Keith’s dedication to great food, world charm ambiance, and live jazz music, the owners and TEA transformed Cappers into the most sought after venue between Atlanta and New York City. Cappers was voted Best Jazz Venue for 10 consecutive years by the News & Observer while TEA coordinated the music.
Keith Folgerman has long since moved on but Karl Ritz, graduate of NC State and member of the world renowned Confrérie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs remains a consummate icon himself. He remains in the Triangle, busy with his successful catering & consulting company, Marlin Events Catering, where his culinary masterpieces have been featured in local and international food magazines. Karl is a culinary wizard, a successful businessman, and a visionary.