By Emily Farrington Smith
Pair bites and beats at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen
Joining Charlotte’s ever-expanding culinary scene in early June, Nellie’s Southern Kitchen is the brainchild of Kevin Jonas, Sr., patriarch of pop icons the Jonas Brothers. Marrying a medley of downhome flavors with Southern elegance—que vibrant hydrangea on every table—and proud family tradition, the spot was inspired by Jonas, Sr.’s grandmother, Nellie, who lived in Belmont her whole life. Tucked along one of the quaint town’s main streets, Nellie’s invites diners in to enjoy rustic and industrial decor, which points to the town’s roots. And a stage for live music performed by local artists and the wait staff themselves gives a nod to the family’s musical prowess. Everything on the menu, which spans chicken and dumplings to decadent dessert-style biscuits, is housemade. Plus, 90 percent of the ingredients are sourced within the state. After you’ve devoured hearty helpings of fried chicken, ask for a side of the fall seasonal favorite, Sweet Caroline—sweet potato casserole piled high in a cast iron skillet.
Get the best of the great outdoors at Goat Island Park and Greenway
Goat Island Park’s unusual name pays homage to the vegetation methods enacted by textile engineer Stuart Cramer, who released goats in the town of Cramerton—just under a half-hour drive from Uptown Charlotte—to control its vegetation in the early 1900s. Today, the beautiful park and greenway is home to just about everything a lover of the outdoors could ever want. Free to the public and packed with kid-friendly fun, it’s a perfect retreat for family adventure. The 29-acre park is nestled along the South Fork of the Catawba River. Along Goat Island’s gorgeous grounds, you’ll find a .7-mile paved greenway trail, which utilizes two pedestrian bridges that cross the South Fork. The park also boasts access to the water via two canoe and kayaking landings and features an observation pier, an 18-hole disc golf course, playgrounds, a fitness pavilion and an open-air amphitheater.
Savor exquisite spirits at Muddy River Distillery
The experts when it comes to the area’s rum, Muddy River Distillery has been distilling fine spirits and giving them Carolina flavors along the banks of the Catawba River since 2011. Here, there are no frills—just fine rum. Owners and North Carolina natives Robbie and Caroline Delaney work atop reclaimed floors using two custom-built stills—they’re called Liberty and Democracy. The Delaneys source premium ingredients to use in their handcrafted recipes. Within the 6,100-square-foot mill space, they churn out as many as 300 bottles of rum each day. Their products include: Silver Carolina Rum, Charlotte’s Reserve, Coconut Carolina Rum and Spiced Carolina Rum. While you’re there, be sure be sure to take advantage of one of the guided tours, which include tastings (note: you’re required to tour in order to taste). Tours range in time and the depth to which the rum-making process is revealed. No reservations are required, and tour schedules are posted at muddyriverdistillery.com.
This article ran in the November 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.