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April 2018 Restaurant Roundup: Springtime Hidden Gems

heidi with flower on a forkAs is the case each and every Spring in Charlotte, there are lots of culinary events on the calendar and this year, more than ever it seems, lots of new chef-driven restaurants just opened and several with openings on the horizon.

Before we take a look at all that is new in the Queen City, I thought it would be fun to visit some hidden gems, restaurants you may not know about, but should be on your radar…

Fare warning… not all of these places are in the Charlotte city limits – a few cross state lines, a few are a short drive away in or just south of Charlotte; all are hidden gems in one regard or another, and all are places you simply must put on your “time-to-try-it-out” list.

So Join me for a taste of Spring, if you will, vis-à-vis this set of six hidden gems you’ll want to check out soon!

Of course, there are hidden gems in and around North Charlotte, too, and so expect a follow up soon! (If you have a favorite gem you think folks need to know about, do let me know with a comment here and I’ll check it out I promise!)

IMG_6155Today April 17,  I’ll also be appearing on WCNC’s Charlotte Today to share the same list with additional photos, and some samples of all the good eats. If you are reading this the morning of Tuesday April 17, then plan to tune in to Charlotte Today between 11am and noon – you can follow my social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a more exact time frame and some behind the scenes photos as I get each of the plates set for their big moment on the screen.

Check back later today or tomorrow for a repost of this info complete with photos from the studio and the video from the segment.

For now, here is my short list with a few pictures to whet your palate.

nanas entranceIn Charlotte,  Nana’s Soul Food Kitchen, 2908 Oaklake Blvd; 704-357-3700 – tucked away in a strip mall just off of Yorkmont Road – Open 7 days a week, 11 am -9 pm -all your southern soul food faves – it a gem because its all made from scratch and the fish on the menu is fried to order!

Veggies are all cooked in chicken broth but don’t include any extra meat or fat.   Its a buffet to eat in or take to go. with tons of delicious veggies and sides with a host of homemade desserts. Order small or large plates ( 1 or 2 meats, each with 2 or 3 veggies of your choice… different entree special each day. The Meatloaf special makes a Wednesday visit a must! They always have several kinds of chicken and fish that is fried to order. Save room for dessert for sure – homemade red velvet cheesecake – just sayin’.

Carolina steakhouse restaurant sign

In Chesterfeild SC – Carolina Restaurant  & Steakhouse, 843-623-2601 –  offering steak, chicken and seafood entrees, plus a baked potato and a salad bar since the early 1970s. – Its gem because its located right on SC Hwy 9, in what seems like the middle of nowhere between Monroe NC and Pageland SC and still looks and operates the same way it has since it first opened the doors in 1972.

Still family run, it’s step back in time and that makes it kitchy and fun, red vinyl booths and all. Open Wednesday – Friday and Sunday for lunch with a buffet and Thursday – Saturday nights for dinner. Steaks are the specialty for sure and lookout as the topping on your baked potato come super-sized!

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In Rock Hill, SC – Five & Dine – 135 East Main Street, Rock Hill, 803-328-3463.  On Main Street in the historic district of downtown Rock Hill.  This is the second location, opened in 1937,  of the original and now Historic McCrory’s Five & Dime.  

In 1961 it was the sight of the first Civil Rights era sit in where a group of young protestors, standing up for what they knew was right – nine of them from Friendship College –  sat at McCrory’s Rock Hill lunch counter and were arrested, and then quickly tried and each sentenced to a $100 fine and 30 days of hard labor.  The Friendship Nine, as they are now known, were the first of Civil Rights protestors in the country to refuse bail to drive home their point; they made history and the Five & Dine is a gem as it now pays tribute to those brave members of the Rock Hill community who stood  for what they believed.  Today that original counter is still there and has been refurbished and each bar stool has a plaque honoring one of the original protestors.

The food is regional farm to fork with fun Southern faves like fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles,  doughnut sliders and a chocolate peanut butter pie you’re gonna love!

McAden Table & market 1.jpg

In McAdenville, NC – Table & Market Restaurant, 129 1/2 Main Street in McAdenville, 704-879-9042 .  From December 1 to December 24 each year, nearly 650,000 visitors drive through the tiny town of McAdenville to see the Christmas lights. The gem here is that this restaurant and the other cute shops on Main Street are the reason to visit McAdenville – a town of 650 residents, 1 streetlight and home to Pharr Mills –  when it is not Christmas time. 

This cute little restaurant is in the historic 2-3 block of downtown McAdenville. There is a bar and a restaurant plus a butcher shop and a little grocery and wine shop all in one. You can order any of the meat and seafoods from the butchers case and they’ll cook them for you for dinner or in addition to any plate on the menu. The entire restaurant is upfitted with original McAdenville repurposed wood, railroad ties, library book shelves etc. – its a whole lot of history wrapped up in a terrific little spot. You can read more of the story in the spring issue of Charlotte Living magazine -coming out in late May/early June 2018.

peace n hominy building

In Belmont, NC – Peace N Hominy at 403 East Catawba Street in Belmont, 704-464-7647 Truth is this place had me with its  name; but then I went to eat lunch and say that this four year old BBQ joint is taking the town by storm and lines at lunch, brunch and dinner are always out the door.

They smoke the ‘cue every night so options of beef , pork and chicken are fresh every day. 4 sauces and a choice of sides all incredibly well done. Go up and order from the counter, and food is delivered to the table. Fun brunch dishes on Saturday and Sunday –  Spareribs on weekends only. 

coffee at Lincolns

In Charlotte, NC – Lincoln’s Haberdashery at 1300 South Blvd, 704-910-4660 in the original 1920’s home to the Lance Corporation. This is a niche grocery of hot sauces and homemade ice cream, meets wine and beer shop, meets coffee shop meets a lunch & dinner counter soups, sandwiches and salads all of it incredible well done by chef Michael Shortino of Futa Buta. Shortino bakes breads fresh each day, and serves the sliced loaves up for breakfast, stuffs them with a host of sandwich fillings and sells the loaves for you to take home and enjoy as well.

Enjoy a  choice of coffees and lattes all made with Pure Intentions Coffee with any one of the fresh baked over the top pastries. In the afternoon and evenings meet friends for wine and beer and a host of terrific salads, sandwiches and soon there will be Shortino’s “after five” burgers, too! Lincoln’s is another the restaurants I’ll feature in the Spring issue of Charlotte Living magazine!

Thanks so much to my blog partners who  help make it possible to bring more posts like this your way.  My blog post sponsors are all brands I believe in and I am happy to share their story.

Today this HeidiBillottoFood.com post is brought to you by my friends at Charlotte Living magazine.

CLM Cover Winter 2018 FoodCharlotte Living is a Charlotte-based quarterly  publication, The Lifestyle Magazine of the Carolinas and I am proud to be the food editor for this beautiful publication. In each issue I share the stories of local restaurants, showcase numerous ways to eat and drink local and write about food-centric travel.

The current issue, pictured here, is the Magazine’s 1st quarter Issue for 2018 and is the Food Edition – it includes a Charlotte-area restaurant guide with info on more than 150 different restaurants worth your while. You can pick up a copy all you own at newsstands in Charlotte or check it all out online here.

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