Top 5 Outside: February

Piedmont Interior, Credit Tierney Farrell

PiedmontDurham

The name says it all. The restaurant’s cuisine is inspired by the region’s best seasonal offerings from local purveyors, including sister farm Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough. Chef John May, who most recently cooked alongside Vivian Howard at Chef and the Farmer, returned back to his Durham roots last August and has infused the restaurant’s menu with his passion for inventive, locally sourced dishes. May has also created a calendar of special tasting events with notable chefs from across the state. On February 8th, he collaborates with chef Justin Burdett of Asheville’s Local Provisions restaurant. The seven-course, seafood-themed menu features pickled clam with country ham, oyster poached in fermented kimchi and braised grouper cheeks. 

Night GalleryChapel Hill

This eclectic boutique carries a combination of new and vintage finds, including unique gifts, lingerie, antiques, barware and more.  The shelves practically burst with eye-catching items: vintage typewriters, wooden signs, stacks of books, dress forms, ceramic pitchers, oil paintings and handbags. Browsing becomes an adventurous and enjoyable activity, and you’re bound to find an unexpected souvenir to bring home or a perfect gift for a loved one.

Whitley Furniture GalleriesZebulon

Once a dry goods store, the same family has owned and operated this expansive furniture store for more than 100 years. Few establishments can boast such longevity, and part of its success can be attributed to the friendly and creative customer service team, including on-hand design consultants. Whether you’re in the market for new décor or simply want to browse the collection, it’s worth visiting this landmark showroom that takes up an entire city block.

Haw River BallroomSaxapahaw

Located in the dye house of the old cotton mill and overlooking the Haw River, the ballroom is a unique and intimate venue to hear music and see performances. With its exposed brick walls, plank flooring and iron beams, it captures the history of the building in a charming environment that augments the entertainment experience. In February, catch indie rock band Grouplove, the operatic performance “Sketches for Auguste,” or celebrate Johnny Cash’s birthday with tribute band, Johnny Folsom 4. 

Rocky Mount MillsRocky Mount

The second oldest cotton mill in North Carolina was originally built in 1818. By 1863, Union troops had burned it down, and since then it’s been rebuilt twice and expanded to meet the needs of a once thriving industry. Today, the mill has been transformed into an imaginative mixed-use complex featuring office and retail space, residences, restaurants and a brewery incubator, which just launched in January. Small-batch, craft brewers such as Koi Pond Brewing Company are open to the public for tastings. Though the complex is still in its infancy, it’s expanding quickly with The Tipsy Tomato, The Tap @ 1918 and Ramblers Bottle Shop all opening this spring. During warm weather, the mills will play host to live music, and the nearby Tar River offers a scenic area to stroll or paddle.

Rocky Mount Brew Fever

It seems as if the whole Rocky Mount community is rallying around Koi Pond Brewing Company, which just celebrated its first anniversary. The brewery situated in the historic Rocky Mount Mills is anchoring a revival in the former cotton mill town that has been in a steady decline until now.

“We feel a responsibility to our community to build a business that will attract other industries to our area, says brewer Eric Ghiloni, one of the founding partners.

Ghiloni, who brewed beer for friends, hoped to turn his hobby into a career.  He and his wife, Mary, along with partners Matt and Deborah Sperati launched the town’s first craft brewery named after the tattoo on Ghiloni’s left arm of two koi fish representing the harmony his two sons have brought to his life.

Each member of the quartet takes on a specific role in the business, but the group comes together to brainstorm names for the beers and how they relate to the brewery’s story. You’ll find Rising Sun Mocha Java Stout, Double Dragon Imperial IPA and more. The taproom offers an inventive range of seasonal and staple beers, including a Thai basil saison, a chocolate almond coconut stout and a peach farmhouse ale, and the casual venue features a large yard where families can play games and picnic.

Alexandra Drosu
Alexandra Drosu

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the great coverage of the Rocky Mount Mills revitalization Project. I am a lifetime local and am excited to see all the exciting changes coming to our Area. The Rocky Mount Mills is beautifully situated on the banks of the Tar River and it is just a wonderful place to relax and enjoy all that the new restaurant and breweries are serving up daily. You should also cover a great new Restaurant in our Downtown Revitalization Project – The Prime Smokehouse. That is an exquisite new restaurant with a great Bar that is truly a welcomed addition to our up and coming City. If you haven’t been to Rocky Mount lately I think it’s time for a visit!

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