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CurEater Ashley Boyd: The Art of the Pastry

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“I come at the plate thinking of how to combine flavors and what are the different ways I can get them on the plate. It’s sort of painting with flavors in a way.”
VIDEO: Order/fire: Ashley Boyd

If it seems like Ashley Boyd is at home in the kitchen of Charlotte’s 300 East, it’s because she is. Her mother founded the restaurant, and Chef Boyd started working there at age 13. Her love for pastries came after she graduated from art school while working at a Brazilian steakhouse in Chicago. After living and cooking in Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco, she moved back to Charlotte. In addition to her role at 300 East, Boyd joined Heritage in 2015 to put her unique spin on their desserts.

VIDEO: Ashley Boyd makes cheesecake and talks about her process

If you follow Boyd on Instagram you will see the influence of that fine art degree. She creates some of the most visually delicious desserts you’ll ever see. But they don’t just look good, they taste good too. Good enough, in fact, that Boyd was part of a team invited to prepare a dinner to honor Charlotte at the James Beard House. Boyd’s desserts are visually stunning combinations of the familiar and new. For example, Food & Wine recently highlighted her tres leches cake made with classic Southern ingredients like pawpaw and buttermilk.

VIDEO: Ashley Boyd makes the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Follow Ashley Boyd on Instagram, and 300 East on Facebook. Discover where Ashley Boyd likes to dine on CurEat.

CurEater Tom Gray: Executive Chef and Owner of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

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“When an item is grown locally and sustainably, fresh-picked and served within a few hours or days of being harvested, the flavor, color, texture, vibrancy, freshness and nutrient content are all at their peak.”

Tom Gray gets it. He knows that a great meal isn’t complete without a great drink (or two). If you can source that meal and those drinks close to home, he believes they’re even better. If you want to cook with local, Florida produce, you will use a lot of seafood and citrus. The flavors of Northern Florida influence Gray’s cuisine. Think traditional Southern fare with a blend of Caribbean flavors.  Gray also makes an occasional nod to the West Coast, seeing that he worked in California early in his career. Gray wanted to bring a fun, locally-focused restaurant to his hometown and opened Moxie in 2013.

VIDEO: Make a perfect negroni with Tom Gray

Creating a locally-focused menu requires an expansive knowledge of seasonality, agriculture, and region. For example, Jacksonville’s sandy soil makes some traditional farming practices a challenge. So in the fall, Gray leans heavily on greens and shallow root veggies. “The biggest difference between us and other restaurants in Jacksonville is that we deliver local cuisine,” says Gray. “My advice for any season, any year, is to ‘support local’ and ‘ask questions.’ If you are interested in having a variety of cool, unique places to shop or eat, you have to make a decision to support them,” he told Void.

VIDEO: Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

If you want to put Gray’s knowledge to work, follow him on Twitter or Facebook. If you want to explore Chef Gray’s Jacksonville or find some incredible tips for West Coast dining find him here on CurEat.

4 Restaurant Bucket Lists to Follow ASAP

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It’s no secret that we find comfort in the familiar. Even though we are creatures of habit, there’s nothing like stepping out of the routine to try new flavors. Because life tends to be a bit wild with schedules, it’s hard to keep track of the best restaurants and bars you’ve heard about through the grapevine. So naturally, we’re here for you. We explored and found 4 CurEaters with solid restaurant bucket lists to give your tastebuds a nudge in a new direction.

Rochelle Johnson’s “NYC on my List”

If you have a restaurant bucket list in New York City, you’re already ahead of the game. With NYC being such a popular spot for a winter, summer, spring or fall vacation, it’s a no-brainer that we share CurEater Rochelle Johnson‘s  NYC bucket list. On her list you’ll find classic Italian joints, swanky bars, and lively Mexican cuisine. Go ahead and check it out for your future trip to the Big Apple. Disclaimer: You may need multiple NYC restaurant bucket lists. 

Billy Allin’s “Billy’s List”

When it comes to Atlanta grub, we trust CurEater Billy Allin of Cakes & Ale. If you want to add the best restaurants and bars to your Atlanta bucket list, check out “Billy’s List”. From pizza joints and Southern fare to taverns and bars, you’ll find what you’re looking for.  From us to you, you’ll definitely want to put Cakes & Ale on your list. And if you go to the Cakes & Ale Café, sit at the table that’s nestled in the corner by the window.

Lydia Clopton’s “Places I Want to go”

CurEater and pastry chef Lydia Clopton has a great bucket list for the Southeast. On her “Places I Want to Try” list, you’ll find restaurants in Raleigh, Atlanta, Durham and Asheville. Seeing that Lydia is the pastry chef at PinPoint Restaurant in Wilmington, NC, you know she has bakeries on the list that she wants to visit. Follow Lydia’s list to see if your restaurant bucket list matches hers. 

Angela Hansberger’s “Bucket List Favorites”

We spent Martin Luther King weekend CurEating our way through Atlanta with CurEater Angela Hansberger. For the record, all of the restaurants on Angela’s “Bucket List Favorites” are now on our bucket list. If Angela likes it, then we know we will, too. Her list has roots all over the country with restaurants in California, Tennessee, and Georgia. If you’re looking to step out of your comfort zone, take a look at this list (and all of Angela’s lists).

CurEater Craig Deihl: Butcher, Salami Maker, & Fish Cutter

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“I’m not just a chef, I’m a husband, author, butcher, snowboarder, leader, salami maker, fish cutter and most importantly, a father.”

We can forgive you for thinking Chef Craig Deihl is just a meat guy. After all, he spent years cultivating a reputation as Charleston’s charcuterie master. First, at Cyprus, and then at Artisan Meat Share, a european style butcher shop and delicatessen specializing in salumis, sandwiches, and all things hog. Along the way he gathered national acclaim. After closing shop in Charleston, Deihl joined Team USA in the World Butcher’s Challenge–the olympics of meat preparation. In 2018, Deihl and five other master butchers and charcutiers plan to travel to Ireland where they will try and top the reigning champs–France.

VIDEO: Craig Deihl Shows how to create dishes from lesser-known cuts of meat.

So, yeah, Craig Deihl is a meat guy. But, he recently added some surf to his turf. In October of 2017, Joe and Katy Kindred announced the addition of Deihl to their North Carolina-based Kindred restaurant group. Their collaboration, Hello, Sailor, is a combination diner and yacht club with a dash of tiki bar thrown in. The restaurant takes advantage of its lakeside locale and features plenty of seafood. To the ardent carnivores, there’s no need to worry. The Hello, Sailor menu features Deihl’s mastery of cured meat including a Chicago street food inspired fried bologna sandwich.

VIDEO: The Dos and Don’ts of Making a Sandwich with Craig Deihl

Deihl is a chef with a deep sense of craft and a passion for, “techniques that revolve around old cooking styles with modern twists.” Like many great chefs, Deihl is equal parts dedicated teacher and an enthusiastic guide. Learn from him on CurEat.

Take a look at what Craig has cooking on Instagram or follow him on Twitter.

WRAL Out and About: CurEat app offers dining suggestions

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Watch the full video.

CurEaters Katie Button, Jenny Bonchak and Phoebe Lawless share with WRAL Out and About how and why they use CurEat.

As a chef and restaurant owner, I love eating out. With the CurEat app, it’s awesome because I can look up my friends’, chef friends and industry friends’ recommendations just on my phone no matter where I am. I don’t have to bother them with lengthy text messages. Katie Button, Executive Chef and owner of Cúrate and Nightbell

Holidays with the Sommeliers

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The holiday cheer is flowing like wine, and we’re here for it.  We’re also here for the rest and relaxation. If you’re like us and you look forward to the end of the day when you’re curled up in your favorite spot on the couch, sipping on your favorite libation, we have some great news. With a little over a week left in the holiday season before the new year, we are spotlighting five sommelier CurEaters and why you should follow them on CurEat to find the restaurant(s) that will carry you out of 2017 and tastefully into 2018!

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Inez Ribustello

After starting her wine career at a Best Cellars wine store in New York City, Inez went on to become an Assistant Cellar Master at the acclaimed World Trade Center restaurant Windows on the World. She was then promoted to Beverage Director which made her the buyer for the largest grossing restaurant in North America. Need more reason to follow her on CurEat?

In 2002, she and her husband opened On the Square, a restaurant, wine bar and wine store which won Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence in 2009. They also founded Tarboro Brewing Company in 2008. All we have to say is that we trust someone with great taste in beer, wine and food.

When Inez finds herself in NYC, she likes to eat at Charlie Bird, Cosme and Le Coucou. Check out her “Where to eat in NYC” list for other recommendations.

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Image via NPR
André Mack

While working as a sommelier in San Antonio in 2003, André was awarded Best Young Sommelier in America at the age of 30. Four years later, he went on to start Maison Noir Wines, which are served at some of the best restaurants in the U.S. In addition to founding his own company, he also curates for Club W, a wine club that provides personal recommendations for its members. 

If you’re wondering where André likes to eat when he’s traveling, his profile houses some great lists from Portland, Memphis, Detroit, Charlotte and more. We can guarantee you’ll find great wine at any of the restaurants on his lists.

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Image via Drink Philly
Hai Tran

In November 2016, Hai Tran became the beverage director and sommelier at The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. Before that, he worked as the sommelier at Herons at The Umstead Hotel in Cary, North Carolina. Hai Tran received his Advanced Sommelier certificate by the Court of Master Sommeliers in July 2014, and was one of only 13 individuals in the country to pass the notoriously hard exam at the time.

Hai’s CurEat profile includes 14 different lists with tons of great recommendations in a city you might find yourself in over the holiday season. You’ll find recs in cities like Asheville, Atlanta, Boston, Charleston and Dallas. And that’s not even half of them.

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Image via Connect Savannah
Jason Restivo

Jason Revisto has over 21 years of experience in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. His experience started at Peppoli in Pebble Beach. He eventually made his way across the country to Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina, where he’s spent the last six years as a beverage program developer at two esteemed restaurants in Savannah, Georgia. Jason is a certified Sommelier of the Court of the Master Sommeliers, and was voted Best Sommelier from 2012 to 2014 by the Savannah community. Jason is a go to for not only wine, but he’s also got some great food lists.

If you plan to spend your holiday in Savannah, Jason’s profile is one you’ll want to browse through. He has a list for Best Burger in Savannah, Best Coffee Shops in Savannah, and of course Best Wine list in Savannah.

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Image via Atlanta Magazine
Justin Amick

Justin Amick is the Co-owner of The Painted Pin in Atlanta. After moving to Napa Valley and working for the Trinchero Estate’s winemaking team, Amick became the proud recipient of the prestigious Rudd Scholarship from the Master Sommeliers in 2011. If Napa is your holiday destination (and we’re jealous if it is), Justin has a list for some of the best restaurants in Napa. He also has an Atlanta list, Edisto list and a Nantucket list. You won’t want to miss out on one of his recommendations.

The CurEat Brunch Club

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Real talk: brunch is the best meal of the day, and we’re going to take liberties and assume you agree. How could it not be when you can drink coffee for the first half of the meal and switch to bottomless mimosas for the second? Because you’re technically eating two meals at once, there’s no shame at all in eating pancakes drenched in syrup, a cheeseburger with fries, or both. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet and sugary or something savory and warm, you can always find it on a brunch menu. For all you brunchers out there looking for the perfect spot for a mid-weekend meal, we have the lists.


Visit Raleigh’s “But First Brunch” List

With 28 restaurants to choose from in Raleigh, visitRaleigh’s list has it all. From breweries to diners to cafe’s, there’s something on this list for everyone and for every craving you’ve ever experienced. From CurEater Ashley Christensen’s Poole’s Diner to CurEater Vansana Nolintha’s Brewery Bhavana, this brunch list will be your number one guide to Raleigh brunch. 

Robert Alexander’s “Sunday Brunch” List

Robert Alexander is not only a self-taught baker and a 2016 James Beard semifinalist, but he also worked at a French bakery in a small village in the French Alps. We definitely trust someone who worked at a French bakery when it come to brunch. If you find yourself in this bread master’s neck of the woods this holiday season, check out his “Sunday Brunch” list to see his top Atlanta brunch spots. If we were you, we’d start at West Egg Cafe

Stanfield Gray’s “Rise & Refuel” List

If coffee is your thing (you know it’s ours), this is the list for you. Stanfield’s list offers an amazing selection of some of the best brunch spots in Charleston. In addition to listing some great restaurants with southern dishes like like shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles, it also has restaurants with trendy, unique alternatives like avocado toast, crepes and ham and cheese croissants. Be sure to bookmark this list for your next visit to Charleston. You can thank us later.

French Broad Chocolates’ “Favorite Breakfast” list

Although this list says “breakfast”, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be out of bed before noon. It also happens to be one of our favorites when it comes to eating a mid-morning meal in Asheville. It has it all. Doughnuts? Oh yeah. Eggs? You bet. Cocktails. Heck yes. If you’re in the mood for anything at all, scroll through French Broad Chocolates’ list and find your happy place with your favorite brunch squad.

Ralph Brabham’s “DC Brunch Essentials” List 

When in D.C., you brunch. We couldn’t think of a better place to drink mimiosas and Bloody Marys. If you plan to spend a weekend in D.C., it’s vital that you follow CurEater Ralph Brabham, owner of beau thai, and check out his “DC Brunch Essentials” list. You can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants on his list. If you want a good place to start, head to All-Purpose Pizzeria for their Antipasta Bloody Mary.

 

Meet Asheville CurEater East Fork Pottery

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When we choose our CurEaters, we not only look for great chefs and bartenders, we also look for creatives and artisan craft-makers in a community. Founded by Alex Matisse and Connie Matisse in 2010, East Fork Pottery was one of our first artisan CurEaters. This month they celebrated the one-year anniversary of their brick-and-mortar, so we thought it was hight time we introduce you. *Huge thanks to Connie Matisse for taking the time to give us so much detail!*

What inspired you to create East Fork Pottery?

I moved to Madison County in 2008, after the financial crisis and my first real, big girl breakup sent me packing my bags and heading out of New York City with no plans.  I took a job doing seasonal work on a goat farm and met Alex while I was selling cheese at the Mars Hill Holiday Market in the basement of an antique store.  He’d just bought the little house and property at the end of Ras Grooms Road and had big plans to start a pottery.  I had no idea what “starting a pottery” meant, but I was in love and I didn’t care.

east fork pottery, asheville, visit asheville, north carolina pottery, pottery, matisseHow long has Alex been honing his craft/art?

Alex has been working with clay since he was six – he’s never bothered messing with any other mediums. East Fork Pottery was something that’d been developing within him for a long, long time, inspired both by his affinity for clay and for his desire to put some distance between himself and the big, tough-to-get-out-from-under shadows cast by Henri Matisse and his legacy.  Now, with Alex, John and I each bringing our own skillsets, personal histories, and interests to the mix, East Fork Pottery has become a dynamic, complicated, ever-morphing organism with a mission of bringing beautiful, lasting dinnerware to the table.

east fork pottery, asheville, visit asheville, north carolina pottery, pottery, matisseWho was your biggest influence?

Definitely can’t narrow this down to one! Alex and John set on this path largely because of the potter’s they trained under: Matt Jones, Mark Hewitt, and Daniel Johnston.  Now, though, we draw influence from everywhere.  Alex has his hand on the pulse of modern luxury e-commerce brands, John’s got his nose deep in finance books, and a lot of my influence comes from the fashion world, growing up in Los Angeles – a big, diverse, global city – and the fact that my own family placed high value on hospitality social justice, and community engagement.

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How does it feel knowing people are eating off East Fork pottery plates at restaurants in Asheville?

It feels amazing! Especially amazing since the restaurants that use our dinnerware are all places that we love, run by people we love.  People come into the store after eating at Cúrate or Gan Shan or Table and say, “We found you because we just couldn’t help but turn over our plates to see who made them.” I just love that.

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Speaking of restaurants, when Steve approached you about CurEat, what were your initial thoughts about CurEat?

I thought CurEat was a genius idea.  I’d actually just had a terrible experience with Yelp, trying to get them to change the East Fork Pottery listing from “Paint Your Own Pottery” to “Home Decor”, so when Steve told me about CurEat, I was grateful for a reason to never have to go on Yelp again. Social Media is such a weird, complicated space, and CurEat makes it so that you can take dining advice from people who’ve already earned your trust.

Out of all your CurEat lists, which list would you say is your favorite?

I most often point people to my “7am to 1am in Asheville” list.  We have so many great places to eat in Asheville, but most of my favorites get very little press coverage.  I love to invite people visiting Asheville to eat where the chefs eat.

How would you describe your palate?

With any meal, I’m always seeking balance: I like rich, fatty red meat cut with bright, light, high-acid red wine and a bitter green salad. Spicy foods tempered with sweetness, like in Thai and Korean cuisines (sweet meats!). And I love really well-executed, classic French and Italian country cooking. 

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Coffee or cocktail?

No offense meant to all my craft cocktail friends out there, but the only cocktails I really mess with are Negronis, Margaritas, and Martinis – classics get classic for a reason! But I’ll drink wine 9.5 out of 10 times.  I start my day with a big mug of Hu-Kwa with milk and honey, a black tea smoked over pine from imported by the Mark T Wendell Company (we sell it at eastforkpottery.com – wink, wink)

As an artist, who do you admire in the food community in Asheville or in general?

I really admire my friend Jacob Sessoms, who opened Table in 2005 and has stuck hard to his commitment to local produce and a seasonal menu before it became trendy. I just had the pleasure of meeting Jana Gravner, a winemaker in Friuli making some of the most interesting experimental wines, all aged in clay amphora.  I think everyone thinking of opening a restaurant – or any business – should eat at Gramercy Tavern and listen to everything Danny Meyer has to say about treating your customers with dignity and graciousness.  And Pete Wells, restaurant critic at the NY Times, is a genius.

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If someone had to choose one restaurant from your Asheville list, which one would you recommend?

Cucina 24.  The chef-owner, Brian Canipelli, is terrible at self-promotion (sorry, Brian. You know it’s true), but his food is just so mature and beautiful.  He’s so good at vegetales. All the pasta is made in house and is always perfectly toothsome, sauced with a considerate hand. The bulk of the produce he uses is grown by our friend and farmer, Evan Chender, who grows the most exquisite food – all sorts of lesser known herbs, almost extinct varieties of radicchio and treviso, etc.  And everything is served on East Fork.

What was your favorite meal growing up?

Most people who know me know that my mom, Terrie Coady, is never not throwing a party.  She’s an incredible cook and can make anything.  But every year on my birthday I asked for the same thing: stuffed manicotti with red sauce and a whole lotta cheese.

 

 

Looking for a Good Coffee Shop? Our CurEaters Have You Covered.

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If you’re looking for a good coffee shop to shake up your morning routine, quench your caffeine thirst or take an overhead shot of your hand and a latte, we’ve got you covered. We scrolled through our CurEaters’ lists to profile some exceptional coffee and drink experts. With the holiday season upon us, we know how chaotic life can be. That’s why these 5 CurEaters will guide you to caffeine this weekend. 

Jenny Bonchak

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Founder and CEO of Raleigh based cold brew coffee company, SlingShot Coffee, Jenny Bonchak knows a thing or two when it comes to a good coffee shop. Jenny, an award-winning barista, realized the iced coffees that were available at coffee bars were nothing more than subpar, so she did something about it. She started brewing her own coffee from her house and found it to be far superior than anything store bought. Naturally, each one of her CurEat lists highlight her favorite coffee shops. So if you are in NYC, Raleigh, Charleston or Atlanta this weekend, check out Jenny’s lists.

Sean Lilly Wilson

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Image via Triangle Business Journal

Sean Lilly Wilson is the owner and Chief Executive Optimist at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC. Sean was a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist in both 2012 and 2013 in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional”. We think it’s pretty safe to assume Sean knows his drinks, coffee included. Although he’s a beverage expert in North Carolina, his “Coffee Snob” list isn’t limited to just one state.

Tim Hussey

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Image via Charleston City Paper

Contemporary painter from Charleston, Tim Hussey, obviously has an eye when it comes to the “least pretentious restaurants with the best lighting”. If you don’t believe us, check out is CurEat bio. Tim has lived in Paris, New York, LA and Santa Fe, so we trust Tim to help us find the coolest spots that just so happen to have the best coffee. “His Worthy Coffee Shops” list is not only about the coffee, but also about the aesthetic (because we all know they’re equally important).

Katie Button

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Image via Mountain Xpress

Spending some time in Asheville, NC this weekend? CurEater and Chef Katie Button, owner of Cúrate Tapas Bar and Nightbell Restaurant, has a “Waking Up in Asheville” list. If we were there, we would stop by High Five Coffee for our first cup of coffee then head over to Vortex Doughnuts for one of their seasonal doughnuts and our second cup of coffee. When in the mountains, you have to visit a good coffee shop, right?

Johnny Belflower

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Image via Mountain Xpress

Johnny Belflower opened up Tasty Beverage Company in Raleigh in 2011 and stocked it full with about 1,200 packaged beers from across the country and the world. In addition to the store being stocked with thousands of American craft and Belgian beer, there’s also a small bar in the back. Who doesn’t like to shop for beer while drinking beer? Johnny Belflower is a go-to when it comes to, you guessed it, tasty beverages, so check out his “Raleigh Coffee” list and his “Asheville Coffee” list if you’re looking for something tasty this weekend.

CurEat a Vegan or Vegetarian Night Out

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With November being National Vegan Month, we figured we’d peruse our CurEaters’ lists for some restaurants that serve up some vegan and vegetarian dishes. For those of you interested in ditching the meat for at least one night, we compiled a list of five restaurants from five CurEaters that will fulfill your vegan or vegetarian dreams. Whether you’re down for some vegan or vegetarian dishes, or want to try something new, our CurEaters have you covered.

Taïm Restaurant in NYC

If you’re looking for somewhere fast and casual in NYC, CurEater Sam Ross recommends Taïm. The menu at Taïm is strictly vegetarian and mostly vegan, not to mention gluten free and fried to order. They have everything from sandwiches to salads to platters and mezzes. There’s also a smoothie bar and baklava for dessert. We see why Taïm is on Sam’s “NYC Favorite Foods” list.

 

Butcher & Bee in Charleston, SC

Charleston CurEater and co-founder of the Charleston Art Festival, Terry Fox, has Butcher & Bee on his “Best Locals…” list. With locations in Charleston and Nashville, each menu differs based on seasonal ingredients in the area and offers at least one vegan option every day. If you find yourself in either city and are vegan or vegetarian, swing by this trendy, little shop for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.  

Fern, Flavors from the Garden in Charlotte

CurEater and The Charlotte Observer  Food Editor, Kathleen Purvis,  has great taste when it comes to Charlotte restaurants. Taking a look at her “Charlotte” list, we found Fern, Flavors From the Garden. Fern’s chef, Matt Martin, reinvents classic dishes to cater to vegan or vegetarian taste buds.

 

Perly’s in Richmond, VA

Perly’s is a Jewish delicatessen located in downtown Richmond that serves up traditional Jewish fare with a modern spin. According to Refinery 29, Perly’s is one of the best brunch places in the U.S. Most importantly, you’ll find Perly’s on Richmond CurEater Brittanny Anderson’s “Lunch Spots RVA” list.  After your meal at Perly’s, stop by Brittanny’s Metzgar for a Larry David cocktail.

The Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh CurEater and Founder & Board President of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, Nation Hahn, has The Fiction Kitchen on his “JKHF Supporters” list. Want the classic, Southern chicken and waffles experience without the bird? The Fiction Kitchen will take care of you. Nation recommends the restaurant’s Eastern NC BBQ Pulled “Pork” because you can’t come to the South without the taste of BBQ.  

You can use CurEat to find restaurants with the best vegetarian and vegan options in any city. Whether you find a restaurant on one of our CurEaters’ lists or a friend’s lists, let CurEat guide you. If you don’t see a list or two strictly dedicated to vegans or vegetarians, then create one and share!