2014 – New Eats in Town – The Flipside Cafe

flipside logoWowzer! – With the new year at its very beginnings, it’s going to be a month marked by restaurants opening all over town in Charlotte, North Carolina; and as a food writer & restaurant critic in the Tarheel State’s Queen City, I am so excited … let the eating begin!
Funny enough, the first new place on which I will report is not actually in North Carolina, but instead in Ft. Mill South Carolina – close enough that we will claim it for sure…
Flipside owners Amy  and Jon

Flipside owners Amy and Jon

My husband Tom Billotto and I treated our 8-year-old friend, Natalie Bookout to dinner out as a part of a holiday vacation sleepover.

After an afternoon of adventures at Discovery Place, we all flipped over The Flipside Café , owned by my friends chefs Amy Kumpf and Jonathan Fortes. Of course, you’ll remember  Jon, winner of the 2013 Fire in the City Competition Dining and executive chef at Mimosa Grill. Amy is Jon’s fiancé and a former chef for the Harper’s group and Flipside is really her baby, although Jon comes in to help when he can.

 This little casual café in the Regency Park strip mall in Ft. Mill – not far from Carowinds and just 5 minutes from the downtown blocks of Pineville -  is turning out big flavors – lots of them local and all of them fresh and delicious. It’s a must try for sure! Tom and I loved.every bite… Natalie, too!
 Do check it out -3150 HIGHWAY 21 NORTH, FORT MILL SC, 29715,  803.802.1711.

Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner – great kids’ offerings with tasty rather grown-up well seasoned choices. And even though Amy’s palate may be pork-centric, there are lots of vegetarian selections on the menu too! No ABC license yet, but it’s coming soon – in the meantime, enjoy!

To whet your palate, here’s a taste of what we enjoyed at our first ( but certainly not last) Flipside Café dinner – delish – we’ll be back soon!
We started with a several selections from the “small bites’ category on the menu for the table to share. These plate are small enough to serve as a starter to your meal or large enough to combine one with the other or with a soup or salad to make a dinner of small plates.
Soft Baked Pretzels and Amy's Pimento Cheese

Soft Baked Pretzels and Amy’s Pimento Cheese

First came  the  homemade pretzels with Amy’s pimento cheese – we all agreed the pretzels were delicious but could have used a little sprinkling of salt.  Salt or no, the pimento cheese was on the chunky side and made for the perfect foil to the slightly sweet dough of the soft warm pretzel – it was a refreshing change of pace from toasts or crackers with the classically Southern cheese spread.

Next from the small bites menu two dishes Tom could and will probably order over and over again – both vegetarian offerings and each one more better than the other.
The Flipside's Crispy Ravioli with local sweet potatoes is outstanding - perhaps our table's favorite plate of the evening

The Flipside’s Crispy Ravioli with local sweet potatoes is outstanding – perhaps our table’s favorite plate of the evening

 
The Crispy Autumn Raviolis, another “small bite” plate on the menu, were of melt in your mouth magnitude. These puffs of pasta are filled with local sweet potatoes, a small dice of sweet potato also surrounded the pasta which was also garnished with local greens, Pecorino and a flavorful drizzle of aged balsamic and extra virgin olive oil .  We loved it! Our suggestion is to double the quantity and offer this as a dinner plate of  Flipside’s “not so small bite” proportion.
 
A skillet of mac and cheese laced with spicy with soy chorizo

A skillet of mac and cheese laced with spicy with soy chorizo

Our third small bite for this first evening at The Flipside Café was the Mac and Cheese, dressed with the addition of a soy chorizo – a slightly spicy combo, that serves to soothe the pork lovers among us but speaks to the vegetarian palate as well. An excellent combo of flavor and I loved that it was served in a small cast iron skillet.

 
While Tom’s taste’s went for the pastas on the menu, I couldn’t resist ordering two combinations of mixed local seasonal greens, one listed as a salad the other as a side – both excellent choices and together practically a meal!
Warm Greens Salad with homemade ricotta and a delicious radish crema

Warm Greens Salad with homemade ricotta and a delicious radish crema

First the warm greens salad. I was intrigued here not only with the use of local greens, but with the house made ricotta and an interesting condiment on the side – a radish crema. The ricotta was rich and creamy while the crema weighed in smooth and soft but with the sharp bite of radish. Together with the crisp sweet apples and the toasted pistachios which finished the salad it was a winning combo of taste and texture.

 
warm asparagus salad topped with a local perfectly fried egg

warm asparagus salad topped with a local perfectly fried egg

The second side I ordered was the asparagus salad with roasted marinated mushrooms, greens, Parmesan and a perfectly fried local egg on top. I was grateful that our well-informed waitress mentioned that this side come finished with a sprinkling of truffle oil –  I opted to have it without. While truffle oil has its place, I really believe that most of the time it is too much of a good thing; and here would have drowned out the taste of the delicious local with the large golden yolk egg, the fine roasted veggies and the vibrant local greens. Tom agreed; and Natalie, one normally not so big on eggs, loved this one au natural as well - declaring it to be a thumbs up  as she asked for more …high praise from this 8-year-old to be sure!

from the kids menu at The Flipside Café - a cheeseburger and perfect house fries!
from the kids menu at The Flipside Café – a cheeseburger and perfect house fries!

While Natalie enjoyed the egg and other bites of the assortment of small plates we ordered, she had her heart set on a cheeseburger from the get go and The Flipside café did not disappoint. The children’s menu has a nice variety of offerings  that don’t play down to kids. Instead Amy and her culinary team take flavors and foods kids like and offer them up in a sophisticated but still kid friendly manner.

Natalie loved the cheeseburger – another big thumbs up –  saying that it was well seasoned and cooked just right. The handmade patty was delicious indeed; and the potatoes on the side, first blanched then fried and seasoned, were the perfect companion to the plate.

Not to slight adults who are also craving a burger,  a slightly more ornate version of this delicious hand made patty is offered daily as the  Flipside’s 5 Buck Chuck – a chuck burger with Amy’s pimento cheese, shredded lettuce and bacon jam, oh my!

Chef Amy Kumpf's take on classic Shepard's Pie

Chef Amy Kumpf’s take on classic Shepard’s Pie

While Tom and I were happily full at this point, I felt it my culinary duty to try at least one of The Flipside’s “not so small bites” aka dinner plates. I told the waitress to ask Amy to send out her favorite item and her own take on Shepard’s Pie with braised short rib, local greens and buttery potatoes and additional gravy on the side is what came to the table. Even as a dinner portion, quantities in Amy’s creative take on this classic Irish peasant dish were just the right amount  to satisfy but not stuff, and the presentation in a hot cast iron skillet made it look as charming as it tasted.

And then there were desserts…

Cookies and Cream

Cookies and Cream

cookies and cream deliciously transformed into a oversized ice cream sandwich

cookies and cream deliciously transformed into a oversized ice cream sandwich

A cookie and cream for Natalie - 2 large crispy warm chocolate chip cookies with a side of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup begged to be recreated into a make your own ice cream sandwich  – a task that Natalie carried out, and enjoyed, like a pro

Soon to be renamed the Elvis, this combo of chocolate cake, roasted bananas and peanut butter mousse hit the after dinner sweet spot - yum!

Soon to be renamed the Elvis, this combo of chocolate cake, roasted bananas and peanut butter mousse hit the after dinner sweet spot – yum!

For Tom the chocolate cake, roasted bananas and peanut butter mousse, served up in a ball jar… delicious!

espresso pots de creme
espresso pots de creme

And for me the slightly lighter espresso pot de crème served in a coffee cup topped with a bit of whipped cream – all three the perfect end to a meal we will most certainly return to enjoy again.

Plan a visit to The Flipside Café soon… and check out their website at Flipsidecafesc.com for menu details and directions… or call if you have any questions – 803.802.1711
Monday – Thursday: 7am -9pm Friday: 7am -10pm; Saturday: 10am -10pm; Sunday: 10am – 2pm
The Filpside Cafe on Urbanspoon

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