Contributed to the biannual listing of Charlotte’s best new restaurants for Charlotte magazine. Here’s an excerpt from my description on Nellie’s Southern Kitchen located in Belmont, N.C.
Just as I shove an entire extra-large, crispy onion ring in my mouth, the band at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen starts playing and I hear a voice I recognize.
No, it’s not a Jonas Brothers reunion show, but given that the restaurant is owned by Kevin Jonas Sr., the father of the heartthrob musicians who grew up in this town, that isn’t a long shot. Instead, I look up, fingers still coated in grease, and see my server, Jake, gripping a microphone on stage, apron and all, as he sings the country hit “Buy Me A Boat” by Chris Janson.
Nellie’s Southern Kitchen, which opened last June, has a rooftop seating area with TVs for watching sports; modern accent pieces, including half a dozen white dove chandeliers; craft cocktails; and even some Jonas family paraphernalia in the back hallway. Although the décor is trendy, the food steers toward the timeless, giving diners Southern classics—chicken ’n’ dumplings, pulled pork, collard greens, shrimp and grits—without sacrificing the cool vibe.