VOL. 5 / No. 3 | SOUTHBOUND
THE QUINTESSENTIAL CHARLOTTE MAGAZINE
VOL. 5 | No. 3
T H E T R AV E L I S S U E
SOUTHBOUND The Carolinas’ best hotels, exploring Asheville and the Holy City, J.D. Lewis’ Twelve In Twelve Project, an Appalachian thru-hike and so much more
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T H E L OWC O U N T RY B E C KO N S Where to stay, what to do, and the dishes to eat in the Holy City Ryan Moreno and Ryan Wildrick of Metrolina Auto Group driving a stunning Shelby down the ethereal entrance to Charleston’s Boone Hall Plantation.
Metrolina Auto Group / Global Eats / Frank Smith / Cimarron Sky Gallery / Tapas 51 / The Cellar Luna’s / Reviver / Kauffman & Co. / Kyle Mosher / The Umstead / Thru Project / Calin Lupanu
DRIVEN BY DREAMS Metrolina Auto Group is the standard of luxury, built on relationships, driven by dreams.
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Lake Norman Realty Luxury will help you realize your dream anywhere in this vibrant region.
MARY ANNE MICHAEL
Lake Norman Realty, Inc. is proud to represent the Charlotte/Lake Norman Region for the renowned international Whoâ€™s Who of Luxury Real Estate. In addition to lavish custom waterfront properties, luxury home options in our region range from historic homes in Davidson, to country club living at The Peninsula, River Run, and The Point among others, to pastoral estates off the beaten path.
800.315.3655 | 704.450.1175
20105 Riverchase Drive | Cornelius, NC MLS# 3153461 | $1,000,000 Must see Cornelius cul de sac home featuring a private sauna and two docks. Debbie Monroe | 704.533.0444
17304 Jetton Road | Cornelius, NC MLS# 3042037 | $700,000 UNDER CONTRACT Unique location provides extra privacy! Best price per sq ft on the golf course in The Peninsula. Darlene Teeter | 704.677.2402
180 Eagle Chase Lane | Troutman, NC MLS# 3080544 | $3,000,000 This rare Lake Norman retreat exemplifies quality craftsmanship with a contemporary flare. Ann Scott | 704.763.2072
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The EXCLUSIVES 132 New experiences, flavors, and styles in the Lowcountry.
140 Stay awhile at one of these twenty-five best Carolina lodgings.
148 Asheville has it all, from natural beauty to its culinary scene.
156 New style in the South with the Queen Cityâ€™s own Metrolina.
2016 SOUTHBOUND A paddleboarder makes his way home as the sun sets over Shem Creek.
©2016 Stark Carpet Corp.
BRING YOUR ROOM TO LIFE INTRODUCING THE SAPPHIRE COLLECTION PUBLIC WELCOME I TRADE EXCLUSIVES WWW.STARKCARPET.COM 11415 Granite Street, Suite A Charlotte, NC 28273 704.588.8842 NO 111918B Bohemia Collection #STARKTOUCH Shot on Location: Olde Towne Southampton by Kean Development - Room Design by Ingrao Inc.
112 The CULTURE ARTS & STYLE
Lupanu • 48 | Mixed Media • 54 Westward, from South End • 58 | Plying His Trade • The New Gallery Of Modern Art • 66
The SPREAD FOOD & DRINK
Speak Easy • 70 | Raw Passion • 74 Tapas 51 Pupusa • 80 | Customshop’s Octopus • 82 Revive • 84 | Retox • 86 | Around The World • 88
The FOLIO HOME & DESIGN
Frank Smith Design • 92 | Curated • 98 Kauffman & Co. • 100 | Practical Design • 104 The Library By Arcadia • 108 | Home In The Marsh • 112
The EXPLORED TRAVEL & SPORTING
The Umstead • 118 | 12 For 12 • 122 Joshua Nivens’ The Thru Project • 126
Eventist • 33 | Exclusives • 132 | Index • 162 / Stockists • 162
20 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
ON THE ROAD We spent much of the past several months out and about. One week you could find us on the trails and rivers in the Carolina High Country and the next, sampling sophisticated flavors in Asheville. Our very own photographer, Jamey Price, popped the question on the peak of an Aspen mountain (congrats you two!) while we were taking in Tequila sunrises and sunsets on the shores of Tulum. We spent a week in the surf and turf of the lowcountry dredging up all the new hot spots and experiencing Holy City classics (like The Griffon and Bowens Island Restaurant). But the traveling had to come to an end — after all, we had a lot of information to digest, photos to weed through, and a travel issue to produce. So, once we returned from our final leg — four filling, smoky days with at least twenty pounds of brisket consumed in and around Austin, Texas — we met at our office at The Foundry to simply reflect. The hard work was over. It was time to sift through it all. It was time to curate our best travel issue yet, and here it is. Some of the stories and adventures we experienced we’ve saved for future issues, like our beef barbecue adventure, which will appear in a BBQ issue sometime soon. Others made the cut.
22 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
Pisgah’s Looking Glass Falls. Brett Barter pours hot sauce on a Leon’s Oyster Shop oyster. Bo Buxton, Jim Noble, Zach Renner, and Joe Haubenhofer stand in front of a massive wood pile outside of the famed Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, TX. A surfer catches a wave on Folly. Jamey Price relaxes in between photo shoots near the Morris Island lighthouse. Corey Miller takes on the Biltmore Land Rover Experience.
In the following pages you’ll get the low down on the lowcountry, experience Asheville’s blossoming cuisine, and meet Joshua Niven, the Charlotte photographer who recently released his fi rst book, The Thru Project, a photo essay on his Appalachian Trail thru hike. You’ll take a tour of an Anderson Studio Treehouse, a masterpiece nestled among the marsh and palmettos of South Carolina, and read about the 25 fi nest Carolina lodgings. You’ll savor Charlotte’s worldly cuisine, meet the family behind the Twelve In Twelve Foundation, explore the Queen City’s newest art gallery, Cimarron Sky, the fi rst gallery in the South dedicated to western art, and so much more. Until next time, enjoy and happy travels! Sincerely, Jon-Paul Grice and Brett Barter Publishers
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CONTACT US FEEDBACK We welcome your feedback, both positive and negative, and believe it is very valuable in our constant pursuit to be better as a publication. We encourage you to contact us with any critiques, compliments, or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply as soon as possible. EDITORIAL Contact JP Grice by phone at 828-773-4922 or email at email@example.com. ADVERTISING Contact Brett Barter by phone at 704-219-9088 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. INTERN OPPORTUNITIES Please contact us by email at email@example.com EVENTS Post an event in QCExclusive or inquire about partnering with us for an event by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
28 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
The TALENT JAMEY PRICE
SARAH AND BEN COLLIER
Charlotte native and Formula 1 photographer Jamey Price has
This husband and wife team
been published in Road and
photographs weddings and
Track, Sports Illustrated, ESPN,
editorials with a love for
Southern Living, AutoSport,
timeless, artful photography
and more. Visit him online at
using both ﬁlm and digital to
bring your vision to life. Visit them at takenbysarah.com
A graduate of Appalachian
Sunny is a transplant to
State University and alleged
Charlotte by way of Maine.
ﬁlm and literature snob, Corey
She is a writer, researcher, and
Miller left a sizable chunk of his
adjunct professor. Her latest
soul in Berlin. He’s just here for
work looks at environmental
the QC beer.
advocacy and nutrition-related health communication.
A leader in Charlotte’s cocktail
This local husband-and-wife
renaissance, Bob Peters of The
pair, Mary Beth and Colin, have
Punch Room, stirs up some of
a passion for photojournalism
the ﬁnest craft concoctions in
and portraiture. Living outside
the city. Follow him on social
of the U.S. during the early part
media and Instagram to see his
of their relationship has given
latest recipes at @bob_peters.
them a diﬀerent perspective to tell stories in a unique way.
EMILY DNISTRAN A graduate of East Carolina
The Philpott proudly hails from the
University, Emily is a Carolina
Queen City. After graduating from
based wedding and portrait
Savannah College of Art and Design,
photographer who loves
Stephen founded The Philpott
spending time with her adorable
Creative Co., a creative design and
Vizsla, Annie. See her work at
branding consultancy studio. Visit
him online at www.thephilpott.com.
30 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
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AFRO-CONT. • 42 | SCHIELE • 44 | DRUMSTRONG • 46
CHROMA 6/4/16 - See new works by abstract artist Arthur Brouthers at his contemporary art exhibit, Chroma. The exhibit, which will be held at 2322 Dunavant Street in Charlotte, will open Saturday, June 4 from 6pm - 10pm with private showings available by appointment June 5th - 6th.
DERBY • 34 | MEC DEC • 36 | DUNHAM • 38 | F & W • 40
The EV ENTIST
ing LPs of the hard bop era featured two-tenor front lines, and the Ziad Jazz Quartet — with guest tenor and Berklee College of Music grad Danny Walsh — will see what kind of massive grooves they can generate during this concert with their own version. Walsh is regarded as one of the most gifted and versatile recording artists in the jazz and R&B circuits, and has performed with everyone from Greg Allman and Aerosmith to Phil Woods and the Mingus Dynasty Big Band. • www.bechtler.org DERBY DAYS
5/7 - Join the Young Affiliates of the Mint for Derby Days
CHARLOTTE FOOD AND WINE
QUEEN’S CUP STEEPLECHASE
4/26/16 - 5/1/16 - Leading winemakers and chefs from around the world come to Charlotte to celebrate and advance public knowledge of and their appreciation for great wine and food, while making significant contributions to charitable organizations that benefit children and their families in the Charlotte community. • charlottewineandfood.org
4/30/16 - The Queen’s Cup is like no other sporting and social event in the Charlotte region. Each Spring, on the last Saturday of April, in the Piedmont countryside, thousands come to see some of the most athletic thoroughbreds compete at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. • queenscup.org YAPPY HOUR
DUNHAM PEDAGOGY WITH APRIL BERRY
4/29/16 - This special workshop will offer dancers and choreographers an opportunity to experience the innovative methodology, philosophy, and dynamic codified movement vocabulary of American dance icon Dr. Katherine Dunham. • www.ganttcenter.org
34 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
5/4/16 - Celebrate furry tails with cocktails at The Mint Museum’s Annual Yappy Hour. Enjoy pet friendly activities, games, and more. All dogs (on a leash) welcome. Don’t own a dog? Don’t worry! Join anyway. • www.mintmuseum.org JAZZ AT THE BECHTLER
5/6/16 - Some of the hardest swing-
5/7/16 - Join the Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAMs) for their annual spring fundraiser — Derby Days! Enjoy an afternoon of entertainment that includes live music, lawn games, and a large-screen viewing of the race live from Louisville, Kentucky. Attendees arrive decked out in sundresses and seersucker to watch “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” listen to music, and enjoy free beverages and food from top area restaurants. • www.mintmuseum.org DANCING THROUGH LATIN AMERICA
5/7/16 - The Carolinas Latin Dance Company (CLDC) is glad to present its 14th annual fund-raising event: “Dancing Through Latin America” featuring dances from Latin America including the Caribbean, Central & South America and also Spain. Their expanded repertoire will be presented in a creative and unique performance, sure to enchant the entire family. The vibrancy of the music, the educational historical facts and the beauty of the costumes will keep
The EV ENTIST
sunny disposition 4/30 - The 21st running of the Queenâ€™s Cup Steeplechase
your attention till the end of the show. The performance is composed of two acts of 45 minutes each and a 15 minute intermission. â€˘ www.blumenthalarts.org THE CLASSIC BLACK CINEMA SERIES - CRY FREEDOM
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36 â€˘ QCEXCLUSIVE.COM â€˘ MAY/JUNE 2016
5/8/16 - A film series specifically designed as a vehicle to expose the community to the vast artistic value black film has had throughout the years. The goal is to appeal to as diverse a population as possible and further the appreciation of Black cinema. Curator and host, Felix Curtis, came to Charlotte from the Oakland/San Francisco Bay area where he curated The San Francisco Black Film Festival and Black Filmworks, the annual film festival component of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, where he later served as Executive Director. â€˘ www.ganttcenter.org CARMINA BURANA
5/12/16 - 5/14/16 - Christopher Warren-Green conducts with Klara Ek, Lawrence Zazzo, Javier Arrey and the Charlotte Symphony chorus. â€˘ www.charlottesymphony.org
The EV ENTIST
4/29 - Dunham Pedagogy with April Berry at the Gantt Center
5/13/16 - Rachelle Ferrell is unquestionably one of the most dynamic talents in contemporary pop music. Very few vocal artists in the industry have Ferrell’s potent combination of range, phrasing, and musicianship. Ferrell fi rst emerged in the states with her R&B debut Rachelle Ferrell (1992), a solid collection of selfpenned originals that featured a striking duet with Will Downing (‘Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This’). It was with the release of First Instrument in 1994 that audiences were really introduced to Ferrell’s jazz sensibilities. • www.blumenthalarts.org AFRO-CONTEMPORARY DANCE
5/14/16 - Join Marquita Redd for a high energy fusion workshop combining contemporary, modern dance and African Diaspora dance forms. This class focuses on fluidity of movement, balance, and shape. Participants will be encouraged to engage in the learning process by finding their own movement freedom and flow while paying attention to dynamics, musicality and structure. • www.ganttcenter.org
38 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
The EV ENTIST
4/26 - 5/1 - Charlotte Food And Wine’s epicurean experience
A BUG’S DAY
5/14/16 - Experience the wild world of insects, spiders and other arthropods. Meet entomologists, enjoy hands-on insects, meet the “Bug Whisperer”, and taste a bug cooked by a local chef. Visitors 18 and older are even invited to participate in a bug-eating contest. • www.schielemuseum.org ART BREAK
5/19/16 - Take an art break and tour a museum during your lunch hour for free! If you work, live, or visit Uptown Charlotte, you can enjoy lunch hour docentled museum tours for free at any of the three Levine Center for the Arts institutions – the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum Uptown or at the Harvey B. Gantt Center. • www.ganttcenter.org THE JAZZ ROOM
5/20/16 - After three years of highly acclaimed sold-out performances, Charlotte’s Jazz Arts Initiative’s monthly series — The Jazz Room @ The Stage Door Theater — presents a special tribute to the “King of Latin Jazz” Tito Puente, featuring Tim Singh and
40 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
The EV ENTIST
5/14 - Join Marquita Redd for Afro-Contemporary Dance
the QC Latin Jazz Orchestra. The Stage Door Theater is part of Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, at the corner of 5th and College in Uptown Charlotte. • www.blumenthalarts.org LEVINE CENTER FOR THE ARTS COMMUNITY FESTIVAL
5/21/16 -The Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art; and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture—will open their galleries for free access during regular hours. The festival is made possible by the THRIVE Fund, administered by Foundation For The Carolinas. • www.mintmuseum.org MECDEC DAY CELEBRATION
5/21/16 - A celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and Resolves! Enjoy cupcakes and lemonade, tours of the Hezekiah Alexander Home Site and kid’s crafts and games. • www.charlottemuseum.org DRUMSTRONG
5/21/16 - Join celebrity artists and thousands of people in a unique, multicultural, musical charity event showcasing available re-
42 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
$)30." A CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBIT BY
The EV ENTIST
5/30 - The Colonial Kitchen garden experience at Schiele Museum
sources that support people with cancer and those who love them. • www.drumstrong.org COLONIAL KITCHEN GARDEN
5/30/16 - Visit the Backcountry Farm and learn about many uses of herbs, flowers, and vegetables grown in early Carolina gardens. • www.schielemuseum.org THE BLUEST EYE
6/1/16 - 6/11/16 - Nobel Prizewinning author Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is a story about the tragic life of a young black girl in 1940’s Ohio. Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove wants nothing more than to be loved by her family and schoolmates. Instead, she faces constant ridicule. She blames her dark skin and prays for blue eyes. With rich language and bold vision, Lydia Diamond creatively portrays this powerful adaptation of an American classic, exploring the crippling toll that a legacy of racism has taken on a community, a family, and an innocent girl. • www.blumenthalarts.org CAROWINDS BREWFEST
6/4/16 - The Carolinas are becoming quite popular for special-
44 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
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The EV ENTIST
5/21 - Raise money to fight cancer at Charlotte’s Drumstrong
ty craft beers, and Carowinds is showcasing the best of the best at their fi rst-ever BrewFest event, June 4 - 5. Purchase sample suds from a plethora of breweries and micro brews from all around the Carolinas. What’s more, they’ll have mighty fi ne eats at their backyard cookout. • www.carowinds.com THE ALL MOPAR SHOW
6/4/16 - The Plymouth Car Club will display all kinds of Mopar vehicles with the best cars receiving awards. • www.nctrans.org UPTOWN CHIC
Charlotte is brimming with a new regime of talented chefs getting national exposure. Meet these chefs, tour their kitchens, and taste their delicious food. • www.feastfoodtours.com CON A DE ARTE
6/8/16 - The annual event showcases the work of local artists from the Latin American community in the Charlotte area through presentations modeled after the TED Conferences. • www.mintmuseum.org
46 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
Lupanu First violin and Concertmaster of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Calin Lupanu, muses on his beginnings in communist Romania, detailing influences on his methods of learning, rehearsing, and performing. INTERVIEW BY COREY MILLER PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHARLOTTE SYMPHONY
Where are you from, and when did you first begin learning music?
I was born in the west of Romania, in Timisoara. I grew up in the capital, Bucharest, where I also attended school. I started in ’74, when I was six years old...which was about 10 years ago. [laughs] We learned differently there; here in the U.S., most of the kids begin with Suzuki recorders, learning to play a little tune on the
Concertmaster Lupanu plays a violin made by Pierre Silvestre in Lyon, France, 1857 during the Classics Concert Series’ Rachmaninoﬀ Symphony No. 3.
When I was born, Romania was a communist
CRAFTED • 62 | MODERN ART • 66
The CULTURE Describe your history and your upbringing.
country. During the Revolutions of 1989, when that regime fell, all the European countries were changing. I believe Romania was the bloodiest one. I had just started my fi rst year in college, at the conservatory, and I remember demonstrating in the plaza downtown. And you can write anything I say about the regime — it’s my personal opinion, and my opinion was the reason I went into the plaza.
MARQUEE • 48 | MUSINGS • 54 | GALLERY • 58
instrument without actually learning to read music. In our system, we didn’t touch an instrument for a year. We learned to sing, to read the music, to understand notes, pitches. After that year, we were allowed to choose an instrument.
The CU LTU RE
But music, as a form of expression, was encouraged?
Yes! There were lots of things that we didn’t have at some times — hot water, electricity — but I was still able to learn. To save money, the government would shut down entire neighborhoods at night. You’d look outside, and everything was dark. So what do you do, then, when you have no power? You study. You practice the violin. That’s one of the reasons why, people saw, through sports or through music, a way out. The concert halls were packed, although it was freezing in the halls because there was no heat. The performers all wore hats and coats and gloves without fingers. The soloist would have a heater next to the piano, so he could warm up his hands between pieces. How do you prepare for an upWhat sort of challenges, if any, did the regime present to your music education?
The music programs were incredibly good, and that’s a big surprise, right? On the other hand, we had the oppression of the regime: you couldn’t travel, there was no freedom of speech. The Romanian language has a funny way of letting you speak, with double [entendre], meaning you say one thing but you mean another. So people made a lot of jokes about the regime, but you had to be careful about who heard these things because you could end up in jail.
I remember one time, I was in fi fth grade, and we had to study the communist constitution. At one point, we were asked to write down our favorite and least favorite subjects. Of course, my least favorite subject was the constitution, so my dad was called to school. And he was told by the party secretary at the school, “We’re not going to make this public, but please let your son know he cannot say this, especially in writing.” And my dad came home, pleading, “Don’t do that anymore, you’ll get us all in trouble!”
“Recordings don’t communicate the life and the energy of the live performance.” 50 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
The preparation started years ago. All of our high schools were very specialized. You couldn’t be unsure of your major; you had to know. We were taught to be competitive. The state couldn’t afford to pay for school for everybody, so every few grades would have an entrance exam, to test whether you would continue. We were competing to get into the next grade. So I was trained, before I ever left school, to deal with pressure, and that has helped me during my career. Mentally, it started there, in Romania. Training for each performance is usually a long period. The piece I’m preparing now, I played in school, so it’s not new to me. Still, I started re-learning the piece 9 months ago.
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The CU LTU RE
“A day without music would be so empty.” That’s 9 months straight of rehearsing. So after a per-
How do you think your performances and the Char-
formance, surely there’s a feeling of accomplishment?
lotte Symphony Orchestra as a whole fit into the
Well, we musicians, we’re perfectionists. We’re never happy. [laughs] That’s how we improve. A live performance, you can’t redo. The margin of error on that instrument is so small; if I move my finger just a tiny bit, I’m out of tune. You have to nail it so many times in a row, absolutely perfectly, so that you have a chance to get it the first time on stage. I hope that, when I perform, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are all different. I’m not talking about quality; I’m talking about interpretation. There’s always the moment, and the moment is just what you feel that day. Maybe you feel it a little slower, a little faster, or more lyrical. That’s the beauty of going to a live performance, rather than listening to a recording, which is always the same. I believe that these [pointing to his phone and speakers on the walls] are fake. Recordings don’t communicate the life and energy of the live performance.
performing arts scene in the city?
I do what I love: I’m playing music for people. I don’t know how to do anything else. If I try to do something around the house, I’m going to hurt myself or hang a nail or something. I’ve never wanted to do anything else. I feel very lucky; I’m surrounded by great musicians all the time. Financially, it may not seem fulfi lling, but I think — all of us, all my colleagues — we’re not doing this for money. Every city deserves a cultural organization like this, a symphony orchestra. We provide the requisite classical music to the city. If we were to stop playing, I think people would really miss it. Everyone, at some point during the day, listens to music. Imagine: a day without music would be so empty. FOR MORE INFO: www.charlottesymphony.org
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52 • QCEXCLUSIVE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2016
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The CU LTU RE
Kyle Mosher’s billboard-gracing pop art uniquely blends pop culture and fine art techniques.
Kyle Mosher in his studio. A mixed media piece entitled Sunny South. Kyle sketching out the newest addition to his body of work. A mixed media piece entitled Beantown.
BY LYNETTE WADSWORTH | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
Pop art billboards tend to stand out from the usual advertisement sprawl. We appreciate them, rare though they may be, because they’re different, distinct in their insistence upon being viewed. Charlotte local Kyle Mosher’s mixed media pieces are no exception, and his larger than life subjects grace large canvases with an old-school pop art flare. Kyle Mosher dove headlong into the art world at 21, attending the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he was immersed in an education built around traditional fine art techniques. His obsession with application of acrylic paint to vintage papers, combined with techniques such as decoupage and cut-paper, eventually gave way to his selective brand of mixed media art. “I like the different slangs we develop to describe things,” Mosher says, drawing an intriguing comparison between art and the language of poetry or music: “I want it to create the same type of emotion as if you were listening to a song that pumps you up.”
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A Canada native raised in New Hampshire, Mosher’s made Charlotte the home base of his artistic endeavors. He praises the city as both a cultural hub and an affordable home. “People who care about art, want to buy art, and want to help artists succeed,” he stresses, “are definitely here in Charlotte — you just need to go out and find them.” Kyle Mosher was one of the twenty regional pop artists selected to have his unique and creative pop art displayed on billboards in the Charlotte region. So Mosher’s been extremely fortunate and successful, but his success, for him, is evidence that the starving artist doesn’t have to starve. He thinks that message should be proclaimed to all aspiring creative-types. “There are millions of talented artists in the world,” he muses, “and the only thing separating the successful ones from the unsuccessful ones is the desire to succeed, the drive to make it happen.” The youthful and supportive nature of the Charlotte art scene is inspiration and
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“The only thing separating the successful [artists] from the unsuccessful is the drive to make it happen.”
incentive for Mosher, and has in many ways impacted his decision to stay. His art can be found hanging on the walls of Packard Place and in his studio located in NoDa. By continuing to create inspirational pop art and connecting with new people in the art industry, Kyle Mosher plans to expand his showcase outside of the Queen City. Now, Mosher is evolving his style, seeking to grow his art conceptually. He hopes his future work will effectively write stories, utilizing a newly discovered complexity. While his current signature portraits “are lots of layering and tedious cutting,” his progression as an artist will begin to incorporate the influences of early pop artists Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. He’s predicting that 2016 will be a “more expressive” year for his art. Mosher’s current works are certain to capture your eye, but with his future pieces, he hopes to hold your attention, with a bold new purpose. With his new direction, he intends to tell viewers something, rather than just showing. FOR MORE INFO: www.kylemosher.com
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Westward, from South End Cimarron Sky Gallery’s opening signals a new frontier in Charlotte art. BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE AND JUAN ZAMBRANO
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:
IN THE EAST, WE’VE ALWAYS ROMANTICIZED THE AMERICAN WEST. Stretching to horizons North Carolinians can only imagine, the West is such a wide expanse that, even in the 21st Century, seems exotic, and full of stories yet to be told. Fortunately, some of these stories may be heading east by way of the latest in a quickly developing Charlotte gallery scene. The newly opened Cimarron Sky Gallery is bringing Western art to the American southeast, reminding us of a bit of our own legend in the process.
A Coupe, A Coﬀee by Michael GoetThe pioneers behind tee. Staredown by Joe Kronenberg. Box Elder with Turquoise and Porcuthis new South End estabpine Quills by Brian Sykes. Assistant Director Rika Takuno. Vow to the Sun lishment, Owner-Director by Tom Saubert. Turquoise Rancher Tim Rowley and Assistant by Bob Graham. Alone & Outnumbered by Scott Rogers. Cimarron Sky Director Rika Takuno, Gallery Owner Tim Rowley. come from decidedly different places — neither of which are on the other side of the Mississippi. Tim hails from the Northeast, while Rika was born and raised in Kobe, in “the west” of Japan. They’ve come together because of a shared, unshakeable (but not unhealthy) obsession with what is almost another land, a range of mountains and rivers and deserts that is so very much a part of our national identity but so rarely explored in east coast art. Rika is the young but experienced digital
“It seems if we demystify the celebrity of the artist and help build relationships, the artist sells more art and the collector understands the art.” Tim Rowley
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cimarron Sky Gallery’s sitting area is the perfect place to take in the best in Western paintings and sculpture. Challenger by Joshua Tobey. The welcoming space that is Cimarron Sky Gallery. Cimarron Sky Gallery owner Tim Rowley and wife, Tish Rowley.
Frontier. On another wall, plains natives proudly gaze at marketer and curator with a wide network in the Charlotte something out of frame, and colorful, pristine landscapes arts scene. Tim has continuously built strong relationships yearn to be left in peace. The talent on display at Cimarwith the artists that are represented at the gallery, by enron grants visitors a wide spectrum of art styles, but it also gaging, marketing, and creating Western-lifestyle events educates from many perspectives. Tim hopes for curious to spread the history of our great nation through the arts student visitations as much as he hopes for those of collecin the Queen City. Tim’s wife Tish is responsible for the tors, insisting that their space encourages a discourse on cosmopolitan but still cozy gallery interior. Hidden away the West, “among children and adults alike.” The West is as in the brick faces of South End, the space really feels like much an idea as it is a place, and these a place for relaxation and reflection, a are things in need of discussion. sort of metropolitan saloon with surIn a sense, many of Cimarron Sky prisingly thought-provoking paintings Gallery’s pieces are a celebration of an hanging on the wall — and it has a bar. era long past, a world gone and lost to Cimarron hasn’t been around long, but modern time. But these aren’t relics. with an atmosphere and curatorship They’re windows: Step into one of Dalike this, Rika’s faith in their gallery vid Shingler’s national parks made of “as a destination rather than a location A Moment of Inspiration by Sue Krzyston brush strokes, lock eyes with Joe Kroin Charlotte” may quickly be realized. nenberg’s “The Warrior’s Widow.” Stand at Moran’s Point, And the beautiful Americana art is unlike most of what on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and try to tell the you’ll find in other Charlotte galleries. In fact, it’s so refreshAmerican West that it’s gone. These pioneering artists are ingly celebratory of America the Beautiful that you may living it. The West is still out there, and thanks to the paseven miss some of the deeper American stories being told. sionate curators behind Cimarron Sky Gallery, CharlotteThe narrative presented here is one of manifest, yet opposans can see it here. ing, destinies. Sculptor Scott Rogers’ beautiful bronzed settlers search for new home and livelihood, and Bob Graham’s FOR MORE INFO: www.cimarronskygallery.com watercolor cowboys look poised to wrangle the untamable
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Plying His Trade
Brock Norris of Concord’s Traveller Trading Co. on his handcrafted fine leather goods and age-old techniques. Q&A BY JP GRICE | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
Are you from Charlotte and if not what brought you to the Queen City?
I was born in Southern California and then grew up in Huntsville, AL. I attended Appalachian State University where I played Rugby. After I graduated I chose Charlotte because several friends had moved here and Charlotte Rugby Club was one of the top teams in the nation. Does the city, its people, and the growing handmade/ artisan scene here inspire your work?
I am inspired not only by the burgeoning scene, but also by remnants of the industries that made North Carolina what it is today. I love history and feel a connection when I see an old mill or factory building where people plied their trade using their hands and not a computer. How much experience do you have in the industry?
The first major item I made was a guitar strap 15 years ago after I bought some leather and got some tips from an old saddle maker. Although, it wasn’t until 2007 that I really became interested in making leather goods. Since then I have been consumed with learning everything I can about making leather goods. I have read countless books
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and talked to as many fellow makers as possible and have done my best to apply their advice to my work with as few bandaged fingers as possible. What were you doing before this venture?
I was working for Wells Fargo and sitting in a “cube farm” for forty hours a week. What inspired you to start your own business?
I come from generations of entrepreneurs and have wanted to start my own business as far back as I can remember. I had been making leather goods for family and friends and had received really positive feedback, but I didn’t have the time to truly learn how to make the quality of products I desired. Then fate stepped in as I got a few too many concussions playing rugby. My doctor said I needed a job where I wouldn’t be staring at a computer screen all day. I took it as a sign and Traveller Trading Company (TTC) was born. What kinds of materials do you work with?
I believe to make a quality product, you have to start with the best materials available. The leather I use is bridle leather from the oldest tannery in North America. All of
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the hardware I use is solid brass or solid copper and is ensured to last a lifetime. The thread I use for all wallets is a French linen which I find to be the best in the world, Hermes and Louis Vuitton agree. What types of pieces do you specialize in creating?
Quality leather goods for men, women, and their K9 companions. I also do repair work on leather gun cases and heirloom pieces. What techniques do you use?
Each piece is individually handcrafted in my workshop using traditional techniques and mostly antique hand tools. All wallets are hand sewn using a “saddle-stitch” which will never unravel as each stitch is an individual knot.
What is your philosophy when it comes to creating pieces?
To never sacrifice quality for quantity. I use centuries-old techniques that are very time consuming, but to me, it’s the only way. What has been your greatest experience since starting TTC?
It’s been people’s reaction to my products and appreciation for what I do. It’s humbling when something I made brings a smile to someone’s face or they are inspired to share their story when they visit my shop. How can people learn more about your business?
Visit our website, follow @travtradingco on social media, or come check out the workshop for yourself! FOR INFO: www.travellertradingco.com
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: New Gallery Of Modern Art on South Tryon. A Hunt Slonem work featuring his signature parrots. Renata Coker stands admiring a Mattia Biagi original. Hunt Slonem’s bunnies. Modern Luxurious Audrey by Robert Mars. Citta Samtana Diptych 126 by James Verbicky.
Uptown’s New Gallery of Modern Art displays a remarkable collection of work from the likes of Picasso, Warhol, and Matisse, as well as local artists Maja Godlewska and Shaun Cassidy.
BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
The Queen City’s New Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), part of the Levine Center for the Arts Complex located off of Tryon Street, is a local gem for casual enthusiasts, art lovers, and serious collectors alike. Charlotte’s art scene may not be as splashy or expansive as some of the other Eastern seaboard cities, but museums like the NGMA prove Char-
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lotte is amassing a name for itself as a unique cultural destination. NGMA currently holds a remarkable privately-held collection of works by artists that include Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, and Henri Matisse. They also proudly feature beloved local artists like painter Maja Godlewska and sculptor Shaun Cassidy.
Gallery Director Irina Toshkova has watched proudly and worked diligently over the past five years as the museum — and Charlotte’s art scene alongside it — has grown and commanded regional and national attention. “The Levine complex of the Arts has been an incredible addition and I am so proud that the gallery is right in the middle of it all,” she says. “Also, it is phenomenal that the McColl center over the years has brought so many international artists who have shaken up the arts in Charlotte. And, in recent years, there have been some amazing gallery spaces that opened for business, like LACA and SOCO. That all makes me so excited and hopeful for Charlotte’s art scene.” The New Gallery of Modern Art has high aims for its future, as it looks to educate patrons on modern
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MODERN ART Gallery Director Irina Toshkova.
“As a gallery owner and dealer, I take this as a responsibility and a challenge — my way of being able to leave a mark on the city.” art and its many different aesthetics, to assist in supporting various local endeavors, and to aid its clients in building their personal collections with in-home consultations and the corporate art program NGMA offers. “Our vision is to simultaneously show compelling and provoking art that really opens people’s eyes up to new materials and new ways of seeing,” Toshkova tells us. “Being an art dealer is a very weighted profession. You have to come at it with both your head and your heart.” After living in the Queen City for more than ten years, Toshkova says she feels deeply connected to, and invested in, the local arts scene.
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“As a gallery owner and dealer, I take this as a responsibility and challenge — my way of being able to leave a mark on the city.” The New Gallery of Modern Art is located 435 South Tryon Street, Suite 110 Charlotte, NC.
FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.newgalleryofmodernart.com
Prohibition of alcoholic beverages, that most dire of American eras, fostered the most secluded of drinking spots. The “speakeasy” was so called because its existence had to be discussed softly, quietly, and rarely in public, so as not to alert neighbors or the authorities. These havens were secrets, not to be discussed, but their lavish exclusivity begged to be talked about. The speakeasy concept seemingly died with the 21st Amendment, but The Cellar, hidden beneath Rob Duckworth’s newest uptown taphouse, is resurrecting the secret-but-ostentatious, underground cocktail bar right here in the Queen City. At the head of this rebirth is Head Mixologist Ron Oleska, a man whose cocktail mastery also desperately needs to be talked about.
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BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
POURED | REVIVE & RETOX • 84 - 86 | MAIN COURSE • 90
Mixologist Ron Oleska crafts beverages and nostalgia deep in The Cellar at Duckworth’s.
TASTEMAKER • 70 | EATERY • 74 | PLATED • 80 - 82
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Ron Oleska’s been behind your Charlotte bars for over 25 years. Transplanted to the city from Washington, D.C. at a young age, Ron was fi rst exposed to cocktails during what was, at that time, a fledgling Charlotte mixology scene. A job that was initially meant to help with school costs became a sort of schooling in itself: Ron started playing around with concoctions, and found that the bar afforded him a creativity he’d not yet encountered. Now, at The Cellar, Ron’s creativity runs into fewer limitations than ever. Due to owner Rob Duckworth’s receptive and encouraging management, Ron is at liberty to craft whatever he thinks works, whatever the legions of Charlotte cocktail lovers need at any given time. “Every region does have it’s own unique palate,” stresses Ron, “and it is important to take that into account when creating a menu.” Luckily for Ron and the other beverage wizards in the city, Charlotte’s collective preference often welcomes guidance. Like the postProhibition, liberated mixologists of yesteryear, Ron
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Oleska is reeducating the drinking public. He’s a proponent of the prevailing artistic elevation of the Charlotte cocktail, seeking to educate everyone’s palate on “the abundance of flavors and styles available.” Somehow, Ron Oleska’s folks had always thought he’d be a chef, but Ron, a self-professed lover of Charlotte’s ever-evolving cuisines, fell in love with the bar’s fundamental ability to comfort. “Behind the stick I have the ability to create an infinite amount of flavors and really take people away from their worries and concerns for a while.” That’s the primary goal at Ron’s bar, as in any speakeasy. Behind that imposing wooden door, in the heart of this brick-walled den, is a place where people can enjoy themselves. A refuge from the troubles and tribulations of the big city, The Cellar at Duckworth’s isn’t exclusive. It’s meant to be discussed openly, this sanctuary where all are welcome. Tell your friends of Ron and his almost-secret cellar. But speak softly. FOR MORE INTOXICATING INFO: thecellaratduckworths.com
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At Luna’s Living Kitchen, Juliana Luna serves up health-conscious, mostly raw, vegetarian fare and juices made with local, organic products. BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
Juliana Luna’s passion for food as a way to express love and togetherness came fi rst. Her dedication to the restaurant industry and to preparing fresh, organic, living food followed. As a result, Luna’s Living Kitchen captures that ephemeral air that all restaurants are striving for - that thing that takes a place to eat from merely “good” to “great.” As any foodie worth their salt knows, it’s about more than the taste of the food or the presentation of the plates, and lodged in something deeper than the carefully curated atmosphere or the cultivation of the menu. That spark that leaves an indelible sensory memory comes from the sort of raw passion you can’t fake. That passion is what sets
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a business into motion in the first place, the thing that infuses the food and the space and the experience with soul. Juliana Luna’s eponymous Living Kitchen has soul in spades. What makes hers such a unique venture is the combination of “soulful” with a type of food with which that word is not often associated. The food served at Luna’s is true clean eating even by the most dedicated healthy eater’s nutrition standards: it’s raw, organic, plant-based, and local. At the same time, the food is also lovingly crafted; every dish is full of rich and interesting flavor, painstakingly sourced to invite - rather than alienate - all types of eaters, and is served day in and day out in a bright,
warm, open-plan space that seems to buzz with people around the clock. Owner and chef Juliana Luna is originally from Bogota, Columbia. She worked in the food industry in her hometown before completing a bachelor’s in Hospitality and Tourism Management in Brig, Switzerland. She arrived in Charlotte in 2007 as an eager trainee in the hotel industry and before long became involved with Real Food Charlotte, a small organization that focuses on simple, organic foods. Luna explains that her food experience formally began in 2002, but stems mostly from time spent in the kitchens of her hometown and then later from her extended studies in Switzerland. She credits the dual pairing of learning about nutrition and learning about business management as the keys to her current success. “I have had far more hands-on, experiential learning in home kitchens than I have formal Culinary Arts training,” Luna says. “That said, my hospitality degree required a lot of technical work in the kitchen and certainly helped guide me in the business aspect of the culinary
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world. My inspiration has always arrived in the way of ordinary or quotidian experiences... for example, I think a midday espresso in the sun with a simple dessert prepared by loving hands is magical. I long to create those simple experiences for people in nuanced ways.” Luna’s personal interest in nutrition began simply enough; she experimented with preparing vegan meals for her and her husband at home. They both found a way to cook plant-based without giving up any of the flavor or satisfaction.
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At the time, there was nowhere in Charlotte offering what the two were seeking – a restaurant “serving food in its most natural state” — and the idea of fi lling that void immediately sparked something in Luna. She wanted to be able to offer well-crafted food with none of the animal products, butters, or rich sauces, and she wanted to show people vegan cuisine was no longer what it had once been. “When I moved to America and saw the state of the food industry here, I became even more commit-
ted to bringing nutrition to the forefront of my business,” Luna says. “There is such a lack of healthy and nutritious food at home and in the restaurant industry, so I always wanted to fill this gap and bring organic, locally sourced, plant-based food to the table.” With her business partners, she purchased the original Luna’s Living Kitchen space in Atherton Mill in 2009. Without the funding to afford an oven, Luna saw another niche. If she wasn’t willing to compromise on the quality of her organic ingredients, the oven would have to go — raw food it would be. Just a few years later, with the Luna’s rising success, she was able to move her operation right across the street to the bright, open 3,000 sf. space in which it now resides. RBA Group and designer Carrie Frye led the design. “We definitely didn’t want the space to feel like a cookie-cutter restaurant design,” Luna explains. “We hand-picked every chair, dish, glass, fabric, paint color, and shopped locally for most of our furniture and lighting, too. We were very particular about every decision and wanted the space to feel incredibly special.” The result is a clean, light-drenched space with exposed brick and carefully chosen detail: hanging lights, a community table, fresh flowers, brightly-colored abstract art. With all this talk of “plant-based” and “raw,” what does Luna’s actually serve? The menu is surprisingly varied and has been consciously curated to appeal to a variety of different palettes. (My decidedly meat-eating, junk-food-loving brother declared the raw lasagna “one of the best things he’d ever tasted”).
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“We believe it’s possible to serve health, beauty and art on a plate and we strive to do that every day.”
“Many dishes are developed based on the desire to create flavors that are familiar to everyone but with a completely fresh perspective,” Luna explains. “We have Pad Thai, tuna salad, Caesar salad, manicotti and lasagna… just to name a few. Without any animal byproducts or ovens, we are forced to be innovative. Our goal is to make a version of a traditional dish that would appeal to carnivores and vegetarians alike. We don’t attempt to make ‘good vegan food’- we attempt to make good food.” Luna’s also prepares fresh, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and a variety of coffee drinks. Her favorite dish to prepare? The Living Burrito. “I’m partial to anything with cilantro, lime and avocado and actually really love using my hands to fold everything together at the end for a beautiful little ‘package’,” Luna shares. To give you an idea of the creativity and care that goes in to creating a truly excellent raw dish, Luna has managed to bring together traditional Mexican flavors and spices and some not-so-typical ingredients to mimic the classic favorite. She starts a with cauliflower “rice,” then adds a sunflower seed-based “refried bean,” and layers with traditional pico de gallo, guacamole, and a scoop of cashew “sour cream.”
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“It might seem like it couldn’t possibly work and yet it does,” Luna says. “They [the ingredients] all work together beautifully and the flavor is just spot on!” Luna changes the items on the menu constantly to incorporate new and seasonal ingredients, many of which are sourced locally from organic family farms in Eastern NC to Spring Hill Pond Farms, Tega Hills Farms, Jesse Deal Orchard and Coto Family Farms, to name just a few. Today, Juliana Luna is keeping busy with a business that won’t stop growing, a new baby, and over 50 employees. In addition to the restaurant, Luna’s has a juice truck, sells packaged goods in area retail shops, and also recently acquired local Love Bars out of Durham, NC. The big vision comes from Juliana’s deep dedication to the idea that her business really embodies a lifestyle. “We represent more than being fed calories and sustenance to get through your day. When you eat our food, you are actually eating something that is healing and living - able to do far more for your body than something you might get elsewhere. We believe it’s possible to serve health, beauty and art on a plate and we strive to do that every day.” FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.livingkitchen.com
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The Tapas 51
PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE
A mile south of the border in the Palmetto State, Chef Aaron Rivera of Tapas 51 is doing some absolutely beautiful, delicious, and modern Hispanic tapas. Each plate embodies his take on cuisines from Mexico, South America, and Central America using ingredients from local North Carolina and South Carolina farms. This issue, Chef Rivera shares one of his most popular recipes with our readers, his Shrimp Pupusa.
The Recipe PUPUSA INGREDIENTS 2 cups White Maseca Flour 1 cup Water l lb Shredded Mozzarella Cheese Salt and Pepper to taste METHOD In a mixing bowl, add flour. Slowly add water, while mixing until you have a consistency similar to play dough. Separate the dough into 10 similarly-sized balls and flatten out each one into a thick tortilla. Then separate cheese into 1.5 oz balls. Wrap dough completely around the ball of cheese and flatten once again to form the pupusa. Cook on a cast iron pan with very little oil on medium high heat for approximately 3 minutes. PICKLED VEGGIE INGREDIENTS 1 Red Onion (thinly sliced) 3 Red Jalapenos (thinly sliced) 1 cup of Red Wine Vinegar 1 cup of Water 1 cup of Sugar 1 tbsp Toasted Black Peppercorns 1 tbsp Whole Coriander Seeds METHOD Bring vinegar, water, sugar, pepper, and coriander to a simmer for 20 minutes. Strain liquid over veggies and refrigerate. SHRIMP In a pan sautĂŠ the pieces of peeled and deveined shrimp until pink. TO SERVE On colorful stoneware, plate one pupusa. Top it with two cooked shrimp. Place cold, pickled veggies on top of shrimp. Drizzle with preferred sauce and serve. SEE THEIR MENU: www.provechonc.com
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OCTOPUS PHOTO BY EMILY DNISTRAN
Trey Wilson of the Elizabeth Avenue restaurant Customshop has been plating up some of the most creative dishes in the city for nearly a decade. His modern trattoria features a blend of innovative and traditional food inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish cuisine. This issue, Trey shares an exquisite and impactful recipe with our readers, one that showcases his epicurean talents and sophisticated European flavors. This is Customshopâ€™s BBQ Octopus. BBQ OCTOPUS INGREDIENTS 6-8 lb Octopus (Spanish) 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika 1/4 cup Olive Oil 1 tbsp Peppercorns 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Fingerling Potatoes Thyme Duck Fat AIOLI INGREDIENTS 1 Lemon Zest, Juice of Lemon 1 Egg and Yolk 2 cups Grapeseed Oil 2 tbsp Water METHOD Mix smoked paprika, olive oil, peppercorns, crushed red pepper, and crushed garlic with octopus and marinate for 24 hours. When fully marinated, grill octopus for five to six minutes until lightly charred. Place fingerling potatoes on a baking sheet or pan. Drizzle with duck fat and add thyme. Bake in oven for 2 hours at 250 degrees. To make aioli, whisk mayonnaise, grapeseed oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. To serve, spread aioli on the plate and top with duck fat potatoes. Place one piece of octopus on top of the potatoes and drizzle with black garlic vinegar or top with roasted garlic. Serve and enjoy! SEE THEIR MENU: www.customshopfood.com
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PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE
One of the most underrated establishments in all of Charlotte, BLT Steak deserves far more recognition for its absolutely brilliant steaks, always cooked perfectly, and its truly savory sides. The restaurant also deserves major attention for its creative cocktail menu. At BLT Steak you will find some of the most original and delicious cocktail concepts like this recipe, The Corpse Reviver.
1 oz Bombay 1 oz Carpano 1 oz Lemon Juice 1 oz Cointreau Dash of Pernod METHOD
Mix all ingredients in a shaker and shake for ten to fi fteen seconds. Pour shaken cocktail into martini glass. Pinch orange twist over cocktail then run once around the rim of the glass. Garnish by placing twist on top of cocktail, and serve.
FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.bltrestaurants.com
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Retox PHOTO BY JAMEY PRICE
Greg Voss, bartender at the esteemed restaurant, Gallery, inside The Ballantyne Hotel shares the perfect spring cocktail recipe with our readers. This simple libation blends just three ingredients together but the end result is a sophisticated and rejuvenating mixture.
1.5 oz Tanqueray Gin 2 oz Mint Cucumber Chamomile Syrup 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice METHOD
Add all ingredients over ice and shake. Double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a clap mint leaf and serve to your guests.
FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.theballantynehotel.com
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Sample The World These eleven restaurants are satisfying the Queen Cityâ€™s international appetite.
BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
OPPOSITE PAGE: A colorful and delicious spread from south endâ€™s Futo Buta. uni nigiri with watermelon radish, ponsu, wasabi and micro chives. Rice crispy squares with spicy tuna, crispy fried rice and wasabi soy. salmon Belly nigiri, pecan wood smoked. lowcountry smoked Pork Belly with sesame slaw and sweet gochujang BBq. niwa (vegan) Ramen with roasted organic mushroom, cabbage leek, arugula and sesame sakepolitan cocktail.
The SPREA D
THESE DAYS, CHARLOTTE FOOD IS FRESHLY COSMOPOLITAN. With the establishment of Johnson & Wales University and a diverse influx of young chefs hungry for the kind of rapid growth the city offers, Charlotte has shed the trappings of what was once a relatively modest restaurant offering. The Charlotte food scene has begun to pair its excellent Americana with an array of southern-inflected international cuisines. Today, the Queen City proudly boasts a boom of independent, globally-inspired restaurants, with everything from fine dining to food trucks. Over the past ten years, ethnic eateries have been cropping up all over the city – bringing bites, flavors, and traditions from all over the world. We rounded up nearly a dozen of our favorite international eateries, from Queen City staples to the newest hots spots on the scene. AQUA E VINO
Aqua e Vino on Providence Road is the perfect re-creation of an intimate Northern Italy boutique eatery. They offer an eclectic menu with local produce paired alongside delicacies from far-flung areas of the globe. The chefs change it up regularly, and the daily menu captures the seasonality of Charlotte and the authenticity of a real Italian kitchen. SEOUL FOOD MEAT COMPANY
offerings include a variety of sushi, Thai noodles, and Vietnamese classics that include pho and banh mi. KID CASHEW
Kid Cashew, which opened this winter on East Boulevard, is one of the more anticipated restaurant openings this year. They’re serving up a Mediterranean menu cooked over a wood-fi red spit with an emphasis on fresh food, small shareable plates, and meats straight from the butcher.
Seoul Food Meat Company opened this year in South End and is specializing in Korean-inspired smoked barbecue. The chef, Tim Chun, grew up in Charlotte so he has managed to expertly fuse Korean tastes with southern comfort staples. Among other items, they offer a phenomenal Korean fried chicken.
MURPHY’S KITCHEN & TAP
Inizio is serving up the oldest style of pizza in the world: artisanal Neopolitan pies with ingredients imported directly from Italy. Everything they make adheres to the strict old world standards of Napoletana.
Murphy’s Kitchen & Tap, opening this spring on West Trade, will be serving up traditional Irish-American fare in a setting they describe as an “1800’s Manhattan gunshot bar.” The meals are comfort foodinspired with 19th century craft cocktails and local craft beers.
Co, which means “feast” in Vietnamese, is a new staple serving up some of Charlotte’s favorite Pan-Asian cuisine. Their lunch and dinner
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Futo Buta opened up last year, and ever since they have been offering what might be the best ramen in the Queen City. The kitchen also includes steamed buns, sushi and vegetarian and vegan offerings. If you’ve never tried authentic, fresh ramen, this is the spot to do it.
Yafo is the latest venture by Frank Scibelli, a renowned local restaura-
OPPOSITE PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: malabar’s pulpo features grilled octopus, potatoes, and olives. spinach ricotta ravioli from chef Grigo at aqua e vino. a sneak peak of an assortment of Middle Eastern street concepts at the soon-to-be-open yafo. Two delicious, and colorful tamales at up-and-comer aaron Rivera’s Tapas 51.
teur who operates Mama Ricotta’s and Paco’s Tacos, among other Charlotte favorites. The brand new Middle Eastern street food concept, opening in coming months, will pair a fast-casual vibe and a homemade taste. The fi rst press samplings have returned rave reviews. TAPAS 51
Tapas 51 is a truly unique offering, fusing Central and South American and Mexican foods with locally farmed North and South Carolina produce. The tapas offerings have a modern flare, and the farm-to-table taste can’t be beat. BEN THANH
Ben Thanh, a beloved Charlotte eatery that serves up delicious Vietnamese cuisine, moved to Matthews this past January. The bigger space features the same staples of the previous menu, and now can accommodate larger parties as its dedicated fans have only continued to grow in number. MALABAR
Malabar is Charlotte’s Spanish food haven, serving up paella and tapas that include dozens of vegetarian options and a variety of cocktails. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: visit us online at qcexclusive.com for more food and drink.
INTERVIEW BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE OR PROVIDED BY FRANK SMITH
INTERIOR DESIGNER • 104 | VIGNETTES • 108 | BLUEPRINT • 112
The FOLIO Charlotte architectural designer Frank Smith travels the world, studying architecture on a global scale and learning from the greats.
FOUNDATIONS • 92 | FURNISHED • 98 | MAKER • 100
Frank Smith Design
BELOW: Frank Smith’s pride and joy is his own home. His design and renovation transformed a traditional ranch design into this gorgeous Villa Rotunda (The front elevation can be seen on pg 92).
Meet one of Charlotte’s finest Architectural designers, Frank Smith, and learn about his travels, inspirations, techniques, and more. What got you started in the industry?
What makes your designs unique?
When I fi rst started seeking an education, I was looking at architecture and engineering. I went to Auburn and started out in their engineering school. Halfway through engineering school, I was really wanting to go to architecture school too. I went through a process of what was best for me. I completed engineering and was recruited out of college from Duke Energy (Duke Power then). I was working in that industry, grew through the ranks, and really loved my job. But a design opportunity presented itself where, I realized that maybe I had something to offer. I asked myself, “Well, do I have the passion and talent to do this?” You have to have a passion that gets you out of bed when you don't want to get out of bed. It drives you. After our 4th design made the cover of Southern Accent Magazine, I began to think maybe I could compete in the industry.
One of the things that makes our designs very unique is that anybody that is really successful in the industry has to have a really good three-dimensional intelligence. There is something about that connection between hand drawing, the mind, and the passion that drives that.
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been designing since 2004. I’m working on house number 116. It’s a business that I take very seriously: If I can create a product that a client gets excited about, it creates jobs.
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Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
We have created a unique business model. Our designs promote both business and art. Our business is geared around our passion for creating beauty. The inspiration I draw from comes from traveling, which feeds the spirit. When I started structuring the business and studying “what is beauty” I wanted to build the business around that. If you can create beauty, you can evoke an emotional response. If I can incorporate that into a design, that’s what I want to do — create more of an experience. I travel. I keep a travel log. I have completed ninety trips. At the end of 2016, Crete will be number 100. I study past architects and actually go and find where they worked. I walk the same streets that they walked, see the things they saw, and the buildings they built. The inspiration is really pulled out by passion.
shown: Duquesa Collection and Tuscan Silver Travertine
What will you create?
Authentic, handcrafted tile and stone since 1952. www.walkerzanger.com
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Slab Gallery 1331 S. Mint Street Charlotte, N.C. 28203 704.583.7010
“As an artist, you have a medium you choose to work in, and that’s your lifestyle. Design isn’t a career, it’s a lifestyle.”
Do you always take a lot of photos on travels?
Yes, you have to. Your mind is off the next assignment. You can’t internalize everything you’re looking at. When time slows down I can go back and draw on resources. Can you describe your style and/or ways you’ve found to mix styles?
I’ve discovered I’m really skilled at renovation. In the early part of the business I didn't take renovation projects unless I could do something that was surprising. Style is driven by the site, the clients, and what I think they really like. My personal favorite style is the style I built for my house, a simple, romantic villa. Is there anything in your style of work that you would consider timeless?
Classicism is more of thought and a process. It’s really defined by symmetry, balance, a serene beauty. The idea that there is a harmony and order to things. It’s not necessarily a style but it’s an end result where you create a design that is harmonious with who you are and nature. How are you hoping to grow here in Charlotte?
We’re sharing the idea of beauty in hopes that it will help other people grow. It raises the bar. Competition is a good
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thing. I tell my clients that I’m a student of architecture, always learning. We are looking at architecture in a completely different way than the traditional corporate structure. There are a lot of layers to the design process I have that makes our product very unique in the industry. As an artist, you have a medium you choose to work in, and that’s your lifestyle. Design isn’t a career, it's a lifestyle. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.franksmithdesign.com
CURATED When it comes to interior design, for Lauren Clement at Lauren Nicole Designs, it is all about what you, the client, desires. With summer approaching, Clement shared several fun, colorful, and desirable pieces sure to complete the overall aesthetic of your space. For more information visit www.laurennicoleinc.com.
BY THE OCEAN VASE
Who wouldn’t love this
Add some sass to
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home with this
Herbs and nature are huge
and whimsy to a mantel.
designs for this year. This
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LANTERN LOVE There are plenty
A STATEMENT OTTOMAN
of reasons to love lanterns in all shapes and sizes. This size
A bold ottoman will
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Add a pop of color to your kitchen island with this
My my, this chair is pink and
white done so right. It is the perfect addition to most spaces, brightening a room with a pop of
color and a beautiful pattern.
Faux succulents last for years to come and never get old to us.
LOVELY LIGHTING If you wish to make
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PEACOCK GARDEN STOOL
your home bright and
The perfect perch
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“Handcrafted and hand finished, our furniture is truly generational, worthy of being handed down.”
KAUFFMAN & CO. Jonathan Kauffman of Kauffman & Co. pushes the creative boundaries, crafting fine, rustic furniture pieces.
BY LYNETTE WADSWORTH PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE OR PROVIDED BY KAUFFMAN AND CO.
The quality and style of decor in any home plays a major role in its ambiance. A simple change to the design of the kitchen countertops or the addition of a mantle to the living room wall can aid in bringing a home to life, and the best furniture crafters understand the importance of these simple touches. Charlotte woodworker Jonathan Kauffman has been crafting custom elegant furniture that provides living spaces with an organic new life.
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Jonathan, founder of Kauffman and Co., moved to Charlotte 15 years ago from Pennsylvania, instantly starting up his business crafting fi ne furniture. For 10 years, this successful crafting company has been designing custom handmade furniture for clients in Charlotte and the surrounding area. The growth of the artisan scene in Charlotte has inspired Jonathan to continue pushing the creative boundaries.
Kauffman and Co. is able to customize furniture to meet the specific needs of its clients. “We have stock design pieces which we can customize to meet clients’ needs, or we will work with clients to create their own custom pieces,” Jonathan stresses. Each client is able to select the style, dimensions, and materials used in the creating process and select his or her ideal finish for the piece. From elegant walnut coffee tables to functional oak dressers, Kauffman’s attention to client specifications is without parallel. Fittingly for a designer of oldstyle furniture, a great deal of Kauffman’s most striking pieces are crafted using antique wood. He creatively manipulates reclaimed
Polarstone Calacata Quartz
ÂŠ Photo by Holger Obenaus
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“An artisan’s hands skim across the surface of a simple beam, discovering its singular character — it has a past, a history.” wood to design fine home furnishings. “We specialize in using reclaimed lumber, hardwoods, and exotic woods,” Jonathan says, to create pieces that will retain function and beauty. “Handcrafted and hand-finished, our furniture is truly generational,” Kauffman says, “worthy of being handed down to continue that special relationship born of outstanding quality and beauty.” Kauffman and Co. plans to uphold its promise of crafting furniture that complements each client’s unique tastes — ensuring that each piece is functional, and more importantly, long-lasting. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.kauﬀ manandco.com
Featuring Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, by LuLu DK for Matouk ĂŶĚŽƚŚĞƌĮŶĞůŝŶĞŶƐ ĨƌŽŵ&ƌĂŶĐĞ͕/ƚĂůǇ͕ ^ǁŝƚǌĞƌůĂŶĚ͕ĞůŐŝƵŵ ĂŶĚĂƌŽƵŶĚƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚ͘ Presented by DEWOOLFSON, manufacturers of European-inspired down products in the EŽƌƚŚĂƌŽůŝŶĂ ,ŝŐŚŽƵŶƚƌǇ͘
OUR 33rd YEAR
natural. comfortable. home.
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9452 NC Hwy. 105 S
between Boone & Banner Elk dewoolfson
Practical Design Charlottean Tamara Leicester of Tamara Heather Interior Design aims to please, vowing to meet her client’s every need in each space she touches. INTERVIEW BY JP GRICE | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
I’ve known that I wanted to design since before I knew there was such a profession. When I was in grade school I was allowed to decorate my own bedroom. I chose a new paint color and spent hours poring over wallpaper sample books. I actually built scale models of all my furniture and played with different arrangements. Later, my dad built me a dollhouse, and I stayed busy decorating all the rooms inside. It never did have any dolls! What training did you receive during your design education and how did that impact your style?
I studied interior design at Cornell University. My education was very architecture-based, and I think
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that’s influenced how I approach my projects. I always think about what a space needs architecturally before considering color and furnishings. A lot of my work includes constructed elements — built-in furniture, trim and woodwork details, for that reason. I also spent a semester in Copenhagen as part of an architecture program, which gave me a lifelong appreciation for Scandinavian design. I love that warm, modern aesthetic. What has been your favorite design project to date?
Designing my family’s mountain retreat was my first chance to design a complete house, top-to-bottom. Developing a cohesive design for an entire house was an incredible experience. I designed all of the interior
architecture, built-ins, even some of the furniture. I made all of the selections, from colors and materials to fixtures, to bedding and art. Sourcing as much of the furniture locally as possible was important to me, and I was able to collaborate with several North Carolina artisans in getting specific pieces made, including the dining table and chairs, beds, and coffee table. That collaborative process with skilled makers is always so rewarding. It’s not only the chance to work directly with local talent, but also to commission a oneof-a-kind piece of furniture that’s higher quality than anything you’ll see coming off an assembly line. What inspires your design?
My clients are always the inspiration behind my designs. I spend time up front to understand what my client loves, what really makes their heart sing, then I channel that into each project. That said, I absolutely love to travel, and that is the source of many fresh ideas. Last summer we took a family trip to Copenhagen, on the 20 year anniversary of my studying abroad there. There is kind of a renaissance going on there right now, with a whole new generation of Danish designers who are doing some really exciting contemporary work. I also traveled to Paris last fall as part of a designers’ tour of the city. We attended the Maison & Objet international home furnishings show, and visited various ateliers and artisan studios throughout the city. France has such an amazing design heritage. I was inspired by the way they preserve and re-interpret historical design elements into fabrics, wallcoverings, and other products made for today.
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B O R N A N D R A I S E D I N C H A R L O T T E | FA M I LY O W N E D | 3 8 Y E A R S O F E X P E R I E N C E
Based in Charlotte, NC, Richard and Kristen Maglioccaâ€™s New Life Building Supplies, LLC is a leading supplier of windows, doors, cabinets and hardware, custom closets, counters, and flooring. We also offer interior design, window treatments, painting and faux, concrete and stain, sound and central vacuum, power washing, vinyl siding, roofing, pools, decks, landscaping, hardscaping, and a wide variety of other services.
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What are some of the challenges you enjoy when designing a space?
Describe your dream client.
I see my role as that of a guide, not a dictator: I help my clients find the best possible expression of their personal style. Of course, if I think something won’t work, I gently offer alternative suggestions. That is my job as an experienced design professional. My dream client appreciates great design but just doesn’t have the time or knowledge to do it themselves. They are open minded, positive people, willing to take some risks, and decisive when it’s decision-making time. I’m lucky to be able to say I work with my dream clients every day.
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I love working with smaller or historic homes where space is at a premium. I live in a small 1920’s bungalow myself, and I’ve learned a lot about how to maximize storage, how to make spaces more flexible to support the ways we use our homes today. A prime example is finding clever solutions for where to put the television. This is a challenge that comes up in almost every project, but it’s especially a challenge in homes built before 1950! Designing spaces that are kid and pet-friendly is another area of interest for me — both personally and professionally, as we share our home with our 8-year old son and two cats. Furnishing selections have to be made with those particular demands in mind. I often find myself advising clients on optimal fabric and rug choices that will stand up to “accidents” and abuse. If my clients have pets, I’ve gone so far as to show scratching posts and dog beds in my space plans; after all, cats and dogs are members of the household too! FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.tamaraheatherinteriors.com
BY ARCADIA HOMES
Warm mahogany and a comforting ambiance create a place of study that exudes character.
BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY DUSTIN PECK
LIBRARIES SPEAK TO THEIR OWNERS’ TASTES MORE ACCURATELY THAN ANY OTHER LIVING SPACE. Not unlike the
selection of books on the shelves, the woodwork, furnishings and design of this place of study and reflection can tell us a lot about the owners. The folks at Arcadia Custom Homes and Renovations understand this: they set out to recreate the library in this Waxhaw home in a way that would reflect their clients’ sense of class while also providing a quiet place for these book lovers to dive headlong into their impressive collection. The space is a relatively compact 14 by 19 feet, but the intricate turn-of-thecentury woodworking creates a cozy Victorian ambiance that comforts rather than cramps. The room feels extraordinarily open for a library of this size because of the opening of the level above. The second story can be accessed via the the mahogany spiral staircase in the alcove, a floor plan choice which maximizes space on the fi rst floor. The custom mahogany rail, with its decorative
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“In the worst case scenario, the exquisite beauty of the design distracts from one’s reading.” iron pickets, encircles the space above, separating the second level library visually from the study-like space below. The red marble-tiled fi replace and the sleepy leather reading chairs ensure that what might have seemed a sterile place for research remains very much a space for living. To completely realize a kind of auxiliary room that’s rather uncommon in modern homes, the homeowners required a century-old look. The resulting space embodies their wishes perfectly — an old room that’s new for them. Thanks to Arcadia Homes and interior designer Barbara Fisher, they have a relaxing space that’s timeless, an old study that appears to have housed beloved books for generations...and lots of freshly fi nished wood. In the worst case scenario, the exquisite beauty of the design distracts from one’s reading. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.arcadiahomesinc.com
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Home In The Marsh This open but private Lowcountry property coexists with its setting in the marsh, employing an abundance of glass and a sectionalized floor plan to retain and welcome the natural garden around it. BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY HOLGER OBENAUS PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE ANDERSON STUDIO
“Glass is extensively employed to bring the out-of-doors in.”
Architect Scott Anderson and his team specialize in structures and interiors that “one can’t quite put a date on.” The combination of Scott, five architects, four interior designers, and an artist make up The Anderson Studio, a Charleston outfit known for balancing the dexterity in classical design with modern influences. In the case of their Charleston “Tree House” — so named because of its necessary elevation off of the marsh and the mini forest of oaks left standing around it — modernity equals openness to surroundings. From one side, this home on the marsh looks classical enough, its mostly solid street-facing walls providing a sense of privacy. The waterfront side, though, sees a freeing openness, allowing for a gratuitous closeness with nature. Scott Anderson and his team set out with the express purpose of allowing nature into the home. On the rear elevation, “glass is extensively employed to bring the outof-doors in, to connect the clients visually to the landscape.” This 5200-squarefoot casual retreat is broken up into master suite, main living area, and guest home, fastened together by a bridge of glass and wood. Spreading the house out in this manner opens each section up to Charleston sunsets and natural breeze flow off the Bass and Cinder Creek marshes, while creating “outdoor” rooms.
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“[Breaking up the sections of the home] intentionally increased the opportunities for visual and physical communication with the outside.”
“Although the home is very open to the views, it’s positioned to give the impression of solitude.”
Fittingly for a property which embraces its natural setting, all the water here sits below the main house: the pool’s placement at ground level concedes the first floor space necessary for the master porch, and the spa between these two levels is complimented by a waterfall, a minimalist gesture which Anderson says “energizes the space audibly and visually.” This flow of water accentuates an already organic space. The separation of the home’s three main elements allowed Scott and his team to preserve the live oak
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canopy, at the same time granting every space natural light from several angles. During the daytime, absolutely no indoor light is required; all lighting in the home is designed to recede from, rather than compete with nature. From almost every corner of the house, the homeowners have a view of their garden. The desired effect is one of living “in the trees, with all the comforts of modern life.” FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.theandersonstudio.com
The Umstead Cary, North Carolinaâ€™s Umstead Hotel and Spa is a 5 star hotel featuring a variety of luxury accommodations and one of the finest offerings of amenities in the South. BY SUNNY HUBLER | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE UMSTEAD
ADVENTURER • 128
WEEKENDER • 120 | DEPARTURES • 124
The Umstead Hotel and Spa sits tucked away on a lush 12-acre estate in Cary dotted with gardens, trails, and a lake. Since its opening nearly a decade ago, it has consistently been called North Carolina’s best luxury hotel, and maintains its position as the state’s most highly rated. The Umstead’s location is just a few minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, making it an ideal weekend getaway for nearby residents and a perfect vacation spot for travelers from afar. Part of the Umstead’s appeal is that the hotel and spa are a quiet, secluded retreat, but are located only a few miles from the bustling Triangle area, full of an enormous array of cultural, recreational, and educational experiences. The Umstead opened in 2007 and was quickly met with acclaim: it’s a Forbes Five Star, AAA Diamond re-
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treat with an award-wining 16,000 square foot spa and a beloved signature restaurant, Heron’s. The hotel features 150 different guest rooms and suites, many of which offer lake views. They also offer world-class amenities like their seasonal outdoor pool with private cabanas, 24-hour in-room dining and concierge services, and DogWoods, their special accommodations for traveling pets. Heron’s, featured by major publications like Food & Wine and Conde Nast Traveler, serves locally sourced and seasonal produce from 14 area farms, including the Umstead’s own one acre plot on the hotel grounds. They offer all three meals every day, along with a full weekend brunch. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.theumstead.com
Twelve In Twelve
After traveling the world in the name of volunteer work, Charlottean J.D. Lewis and his sons started the Twelve in Twelve Foundation — a new humanitarian endeavor that’s changing lives locally and globally.
BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE LEWIS FAMILY PORTRAIT BY JAMEY PRICE
On a fall afternoon in 2010, 12-year-old Jackson Lewis jarred his dad, J.D., with an unprecedented idea. “We have this incredible life,” Jackson observed. “Why aren’t we doing more to make a difference in the world?” As the question hung there, J.D. realized he didn’t have a good answer for it. Several years, 12 countries, and a seemingly endless succession of humanitarian projects later, J.D. Lewis and his sons are the foundation of a massive Charlotte-based philanthropy. Ex-Hollywoodite, local acting coach, and single father of two, J.D. Lewis recalls his revelation on that fall evening, laughing: “I was lying in bed, and suddenly thought, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot — I’ve got to instill all these values in my kids!’ ” Jackson’s query led to a grand plan that only got grander, and since, the Lewis family’s
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world has expanded in unforeseen ways. J.D. devised a trip for him and his boys, Jackson and 8-year-old Buck: Visit twelve countries in twelve months, simply helping, however and wherever possible. They taught English to Tibetan refugees in India and homeless children in Peru. They bathed rescue elephants in Thailand and cared for howler monkeys in Argentina. They ran a nursery in a Chinese special needs orphanage, even fi nding a welcoming home for one of the children here in Charlotte. They flew medicine to Australian aboriginals and wrote a play with children orphaned by the Rwandan Genocide. J.D., Jackson, and Buck trekked across seven continents, from school to orphanage, medical clinic to animal sanctuary, community center to homeless shelter. You might say they made a difference.
Twelve In Twelve
“It’s given us a greater understanding of the human race. Mostly, people are kind and loving the world over.” Not even the end of their trip could slow this altruistic momentum. Just a couple months after returning home, the Lewis family launched the Twelve In Twelve Foundation, a nonprofit raising funding, supplies, and awareness for twelve of the organizations from their trip. In addition to fundraising events in and around Charlotte, the foundation has implemented projects like “Twelve Good Deeds,” an ambitious initiative allowing local student community service to create global resources for these organizations. J.D. seems to think that there’s nothing else he could have done, no other way he and the boys could have returned to Charlotte and normal life. Their work abroad
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had to continue, somehow. “We will never be able to think the same way again,” he insists. J.D. Lewis is adamant that, when someone has a good idea, it should be swiftly embraced, with abandon…especially when that idea comes from a child. A middle schooler’s question imbued his father’s life with new purpose. Emerging from the whirlwinding past of showbusiness and opulence, fatherhood has taught J.D. — and he, in turn, has taught his sons — that nothing makes one feel more alive than helping people. J.D. shrugs. “There’s nothing more human.” FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.twelveintwelve.org
THRU PROJECT THE
BY SUNNY HUBLER THE THRU PROJECT PHOTOS BY JOSH NIVEN PORTAITS OF JOSH NIVEN BY JAMEY PRICE
Charlotte native Josh Niven’s book The Thru Project is a collection of stunning photos taken during his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Stories of wilderness exploration capture our fascination in a way few tales can. Cheryl Strayed wrote her bestselling “Wild” after she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to shed her addictions and sense of loss. Journalist Jon Krakaeur famously chronicled the story of a young man seeking solace in nature from the constraints of society in “Into the Wild.” The stories, and the many less well known like them, are haunting, gritty, and real – but also tremendously, incomparably life-affirming. Grappling with the natural world is timeless and transcendent, a universally shared element of the human experience. But nature is also something of a Rorschach test: what you see out there depends on profoundly personal elements you bring with you. Joshua Stephan Niven’s own story is deeply bound with his experiences in the natural world. He was born in Germany, but his military family shortly thereafter relocated back to the states, settling in Charlotte where Niven grew up. Today, he resides in Asheville, NC where he is a well-recognized photographer, painter, sculptor, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of The Thru Project, an art project based on his 2013 trek across the Appalachian Trail.
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Where Business & Nature Meet
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Katahdin Mountain, Maine from Nesuntabunt Mountain. Goose Eye Mountain. Josh Niven hikes the east fork of the Pigeon River. Mt. Monroe, New Hampshire. NEXT SPREAD: Buzzer Rock, Virginia.
His art, as he explains it, focuses on the relationship between human and nature, and delves into the juxtaposition between the light and dark side of the human experience. Niven came from a creative family, but he himself first got serious about art in high school where he would pour hours into his AP Art portfolios. But post-high school, Niven found himself feeling less sure, depressed even. His art dropped off as he spent an uncertain year in college before deciding to leave. It was this decision, and this sense of being unmoored, that first led him to the Appalachian Trail in 2007.
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Along with a handful of his closest friends, Niven began hiking sections a week at a time. Before long, they were hitting the trail for month-long stretches. Niven felt the fog lifting: what he wanted to do with his life became more clear as the draw of the trail remained. Niven enrolled in Savannah College of Art and Design, graduating with his degree in photography, and continued throughout his summers off to make trips out to the AT. Niven’s initial interest in photography grew out of a longtime love for painting. “Photography gives you the ability to produce ideas visually. It’s faster than creating things from nothing, like with a paint brush,” Niven explains. “So my camera is just another one of my paint brushes. Then, in the midst of hiking and going to art school, I realized I needed to make a project out of a thru hike [hiking a long-distance trail end-to-end]. It just seemed like the thing to do since I owed a lot of my clarity on what I wanted to do with my life to the AT and I knew I had to do it as soon as I graduated.” For Niven’s Thru Project, he spent months carefully planning, researching, and putting together the best photography equipment before embarking on the roughly six-and-a-half-month trek which would lead him, and a group
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of friends, from Spring Mountain in Georgia to the finish point in northern Maine. He arranged to donate 25% of all the proceeds from the coffee table book and gallery showings he would create from his photographic documentation to conserving the 2000plus miles of untamed nature that composes the AT. After growing, learning, struggling, and completing the hike, it took Niven nearly two years to whittle down his 15,000 images to the 130 that made the final cut. “My biggest hurdle was trying to decide what I wanted to be honest about and what I didn’t. Not everything is pretty landscapes out there and a lot happened to me on the trail… it’s hard to figure out how much to reveal and what angle to take.” That experience left Niven with the desire for more; to continue his thru hikes and to keep improving the photography documenting them. He currently plans on doing the Pacific Crest Trail version of the Thru Project in 2017, this time with the intention to hike and complete the book all in one year. He also recently signed a lease on a gallery and craft store in West Asheville. His philosophy today is simple, and the call of the wild looms as large in his life as ever. “I live to be excited about life and things being created. My life centers around creating, skateboarding, nature, and my people. Life is what you make of it.”
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FOR A BIT MORE INFO OR TO ORDER PHOTOS FROM JOSH’S TRIP OR THE THRU PROJECT: www.thru-at.com
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T H E PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
L O W C O U N T R Y
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT BY ROW: The Darling Oyster Bar’s fried ﬂounder. Phillip Street’s The Westendorﬀ. A surfer eyes waves at the Folly Beach Pier. Shem Creek shrimping boat. Palmetto silhouettes near Sol Legare. Entrees from the Drawing Room at The Vendue. Shucking Oysters at The Darling. Leon’s Oyster Shop’s 2-piece fried chicken. A paddleboarder makes his way home as the sun sets over Shem Creek (taken from Shem Creek Bar & Grill).
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In a town frequented for all of its old, it’s the new Charleston that has us wanting more. WHERE TO STAY
You could stay at a Holy City standard like Francis Marion and be in the thick of it. The hotel has been the hotel for nearly a century. Heck, visitors to the city put the Francis Marion lobby on their tourist agenda, stopping in to see its grandeur before they make their way to St. Philips Church or the William Aiken House. It’s a luxury option for sure, but with its perfect location and wide array of amenities there is no doubt a stay here is worth every dollar. That being said, 2016 Charleston has so many new accomodation options. To start with: The Vendue. I know what you’re thinking...The Vendue isn’t new. Well, it depends on how you look at it. Sure, the building the hotel is housed in has been there for 250 years. In the 1860s it was a grouping of warehouses for blockade runners. In 1973 the warehouses were revitalized and Vendue Range was transformed into an area of commerce.
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Starting in 2012 Avocet Hospitality acquired 19, 24, and 26 Range with one goal in mind: make Vendue Range an artistic and hospitality hub. The new Vendue is Charleston’s first boutique hotel dedicated to the arts, in all forms. The charm and structure of the original properties have been enhanced with world-class paintings, sculptures, and mixed media. The hotel’s public areas feature two to three different exhibits per year, a curated art program in between exhibits, and endless corridors showcasing a constantly
evolving collection of original art. It also houses the city’s only Artist In Residence program and is currently home to an original Abraham Lincoln mixed media sculpture by Kazuhiro Tsuji — a massive piece that begs to be looked at, whispered about, and admired for its detail. When you combine this impressive collection of fine works with a unique assortment of high end accomodations, world-class amenities, a fine dining option as good as the Vendue’s Drawing Room, and a Charleston vantage point as intoxicating as the hotel’s The Rooftop you get our new favorite. If the Vendue Inn is booked, and there’s a good chance it will be, there are quite a few other new options that we think you’ll like. The Spectator Hotel on State Street is nothing short of stately. Its design and decor pays homage not to the Holy City’s Antebellum era, but to its over-the-top art-deco history. The recently renovated Westendorff is home to one of the newest and tastiest dining options in Charleston. The building’s third and fourth floors also happen to be a beautifully furnished two-bedroom residence with piazza and chef’s kitchen available for short-term rentals. For those visiting the Lowcountry for its beautiful beaches, Tides on Folly is a scenic choice. What used to be an eyesore of a Holiday Inn has been completely renovated. Its modern decor, variety of amenities, beach accessibility, and THIS PAGE: The full moon rises over Clark Sound. A seagull’s silhouette at The Battery. Xiao Bao Biscuit’s popular Okonomiyaki dish. The art-centric Vendue Inn on Vendue Range.
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. A stunning Charleston sunset over the Ashley River.
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St. Philip’s rises above the Holy City’s skyline at dusk.
ocean views (from all rooms) gives guests a true resort experience. WHAT TO EAT
A new crop of restaurants and restaurateurs are rewriting Charleston’s culinary legacy. Make no mistake, an order of seafood a la Wando at the classic and convivial Hank’s will satisfy. The pork chop sandwiches, on white bread no less, still slide across the counter at Dave’s Carry Out, served up with a side of hospitality. And no trip to the Lowcountry is complete without a stop for frogmore stew at the plywoodsided fish camp on Bowen Island, where the shrimp, corn, and sausage come to your marsh-side table on the finest of paper plates. For me, these are staples — the nostalgic — and they deliver the goods. But if you stop there, and go no further, you’re really missing out on some amazing food. Everybody in the world, or at least everybody with a Netflix account has heard of James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock and his restaurants McCrady’s and Husk and they are spectacular. But his most recent, Minero — an East Bay Mexican-inspired eatery — subtly shines. Definitely order the guac. It’s
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both fresh and unique. Savor any of the tacos (they’re all good, especially the lengua). Then infuse a little South into your Mexi-meal with a bowl of Carolina Gold arroz rojo. Joshua Walker’s Xiao Bao Biscuit is located in an old, teal painted gas station on Rutledge. A subtle three inch silhouette of the Karate Kid greets you at the door. The restaurant is small. It is also down-to-earth and fun, blending brick walls with natural woods, an Asian inspired bar, a plethora of plants, and lots of chopsticks. Here, Asian inspired comfort food meets your grandma’s home cookin’. Order a bowl of Mapo Tofu, or Som Tum with Chicken — black bean fried chicken over rice and spicy papaya salad — or the Okonomoyaki, a cabbage pancake served with a fried egg and pork candy. Apparently, this dish was ordered over 10,000 times last year. You read that right. 10,000 times. Other great spots in no particular order are Mike Lata’s The Ordinary, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit (get the country ham), and Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen, a perfect stop for anyone craving authentic Chinese. The charcuterie and cured meats rule at Artisan Meat Share and Two Boroughs Larder (whose scrapple, not
unlike livermush, is a great brunch option too). The brand new Darling Oyster Co. delivers on decor and ambiance, has an engaging raw bar, and serves an astoundingly tasty flounder sandwich. Wildly popular Raw 167 isn’t a big establishment, but it’s a juggernaut when it comes to taste. It is currently the talk of the town. Natural food enthusiasts will love the new outdoor eatery Huriyali Gardens for its casual atmosphere, laid-back staff, fresh juices, and mouth-watering acai bowls. Those searching for sophisticated and well executed food should flock to The Westendorff ’s gorgeous space. And off the peninsula, Sullivan Island’s Obstinate Daughter is a must for those that enjoy 1) small, scrumptious plates or 2) really, really good pizza. I think that, at this point, you get the gist. When it comes to Charleston food, there’s a lot of new to love! WHERE TO BEER & COCKTAIL
Charleston’s craft brewery scene has exploded of late. Local breweries are popping up all over, from the peninsula out to John’s Island. Places like Ryan Coker’s Revelry are setting the bar extremely high. His awardwinning beers are rapidly gaining a reputation as some of the best in the Southeast. His Gullah Cream Ale and Belgian Dubbel, Breakfast and Brunettes, are each a must-try. If, after you taste the deliciousness that is Revelry, your trip turns into a Charleston Brewery tour, your next stop should be Holy City to try their flagship pilsner. Then to Coast, Low Tide, and Lo-Fi. End the tour at Edmund’s Oast. There’s no other option. This place is awesome. An absolutely
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beautiful menu with stunning food is the bonus to the nearly fifty taps of perfectly curated beers and their variety of house-brewed beer. If you prefer cocktails, start at Prohibition on upper King. This speakeasy has massive cocktail and wine lists. The bartenders here know what they are doing. A drink may take a little longer than you may expect, but that’s because the Prohibition mixologists aren’t just splashing a little Coke on some bourbon and calling it quits. Here they are crafting unique cocktails like the Bourbon Thyme, Admiral Nelson, and their Dartery with the finest ingredients. Other locales for a good libation are the Gin Joint, the Belmont, the bar at Charlotte’s own 5Church, and Proof. If you’re looking for a dive bar to relax with the locals stop in at the Recovery Room, the Tattoed Moose, or The Griffon (bring dollar bills). Our last call, and our new favorite, Closed For Business, is a must for those that like it simple: good beer, great cocktails, and ridiculously friendly people. WHAT TO DO
With the amount of press Charleston’s received in the last several years you’re probably familiar with most of the following suggestions,
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but we’ll share them anyway. A trip to John’s Island to see the Angel Oak is a great way to spend several hours of your day. The five hundred year-old oak is awe inspiring, If you take the family to see it be sure to respect the tree’s grandeur because it is truly fragile. Even if you haven’t heard of Mt. Pleasant’s Boone Hall Plantataion, rest assured, you’ve seen photos of its picturesque entrance. The dirt road leading to the plantation is one of the most famous images in not only the Lowcountry but the world. Two evenly spaced rows of live oaks, covered in Spanish moss, lead you to the nearly 350 year-old home on the property. A walk to the end of Folly Beach to see the Morris Island Lighthouse is a great way to work off those oyster calories, as is a trip to Sullivan’s Fort Moultrie. Then there’s the peninsula. There is no better way to see
Charleston proper than a carraige ride. You’ll cruise past The Battery, Waterfront Park, City Market and so much more, while learning about the history of the city. But many prefer to simply go on a walkabout, aimlessly for the most part, to experience the cobblestone streets and the alleys of downtown like they were meant to be seen. If you prefer outdoor activities to city tourism, the Lowcountry’s offerings are plenty. Surf The Washout on Folly, paddleboard Shem Creek, camp on Capers Island, hike the Francis Marion National Forest, hunt quail at Bray’s Island Plantation, fish for redfish on the Kiawah River, or go deep sea fishing in the blue waters of the Atlantic. There truly is too much to do in the Lowcountry: From the cultural experiences to the area’s natural beauty, when you’re in Charleston, the world really is your oyster. THIS PAGE:
A Metrolina Shelby Cobra drives one of the country’s most recognizable drives: the entrance to the Boone Hall Plantation. These beautiful live oaks at Boone Hall are over 270 years old and the plantation itself is over 350 years old. The Bistro Steak at Blu Restaurant at Tides Folly Beach. Fresh oysters at Leon’s Oyster Shop.
The lively downtown of Folly Beach. Hues of pink light up the sky and the Folly Beach Fishing Pier just before sunrise (Shot from Tides Folly Beach).
Chapel Hillâ€™s Carolina Inn is an iconic hotel on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serving guests since 1924.
Stay Awhile The 25 Best Carolina Lodgings BY LYNETTE WADSWORTH | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE RESORTS
The South is a region full of second homes. The exuberantly hospitable mentality of southern folk means that nearly every house you walk into will seem a home away from home. Carolinians proudly share in this heritage. From breezy Appalachia to the marshy Lowcountry, we tend to embrace the stereotype ardently, treating our guests like family — a fact never more evident than in the Carolinas’ vacationing and getaway spots. In the right places, southern hospitality isn’t a stereotype or a figment of the public imagination. At these 25 hotels, inns, and resorts, it’s an enchanting reality. Pinehurst
Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Situated in the heart of the North Carolina sandhills, Pinehurst is the home of American golf...and hopefully your home for a few days, at some point. There are actually four choices of accommodations at golf Mecca, but only one is the “White House of Golf,” The Carolina Hotel.
An untouched rustic backdrop greets guests of this Highlands hotel on the outside, while the interior is graced with period antiques and European style bedding.
The Umstead Hotel and Spa Cary, NC
Here guests are surrounded by 12acres of calm and beautiful wooded land, gardens, and Lake Crabtree. Step out and explore the food culture of Durham and the sights and sounds of Raleigh. The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, NC
Conveniently located in the vibrant heart of Uptown Charlotte, the Ritz-Carlton needs little introduction. The Charlotte location accentuates its luxury with delectable dishes from BLT Steak, treats at Bar Cocoa, and mixing wizard Bob Peters’ The Punch Room.
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The Fearrington House Inn Pittsboro, NC
Just west of Raleigh is Fearrington Village, which houses this suitably quaint village inn. Hidden amidst rolling pastures and southern gardens, this hotel’s 32 rooms are all individually designed for small town comfort. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, NC
This Tudor-inspired hotel sits just on the fringe of the Biltmore Estate, welcoming guests into a European hunting lodge setting full of velvety couches and stone fi replaces.
ties include a gourmet restaurant, bar, and a library lounge. It’s mere minutes from Antler Hill Village shopping center and the southern fringe of Asheville. The Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville, NC
The Grove Park has over a century’s reputation of exquisite southern hospitality to uphold. This oldest of Asheville resorts never disappoints. The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge Charlotte, NC
With 30,000 square feet of versatile event space and resort-style amenities including spa, golf, fitness, dining and leisure offerings, The Ballantyne remains the finest stay outside of uptown’s bustle. Chef David Moore serves up some of the most elegant dishes at Gallery Restaurant. Sanderling Resort Duck, NC
Braced on two sides of its property by Atlantic blue, this barrier island resort is known as one of the most romantic stays on the North Carolina coast for good reason. It’s amenities are numerous, and its memorymaking spots are even more so. O. Henry Hotel Greensboro, NC
This grand red brick building full of soundproofed accommodations houses a beautiful garden courtyard where a southern style breakfast is served daily. Haywood Park Hotel
Inn on Biltmore Estate
This downtown hotel near all the best Asheville shops is renowned for its attention to the little things
Aside from the wonders of the Estate, the Inn at Biltmore’s ameni-
The lobby at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. Timberlakeâ€™s Restaurant at Chetola Resort.
The lobby at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island. The front elevation of the 5-star Charleston hotel, the Wentworth Mansion. Old Edwards Inn and Spa’s Hickory Pool at dusk. The Duke library at Charlotte’s beautiful and historic Duke Mansion.
— from the chocolates left on guest pillows after nightly turn-down service to the “welcome champagne” at check-in.
nology make it both a sophisticated conference center and an enchanting temporary residence.
The Duke Mansion
Built in 1905, the Graystone, which has recently undergone an extensive restoration to its original turnof-the-century beauty, rules over historic downtown Wilmington.
Nearly five serene acres of gardens and grounds and 20 individually decorated guest rooms prove that The Duke Mansion remains the epitome of southern splendor in Charlotte.
The Graystone Inn
Blowing Rock, NC
Winston Salem, NC
An 87 acre resort comprised of two hotels, a restaurant, and spa, Chetola’s proximity to one of Carolina’s most idyllic mountain villages is just one of its many amenities.
Originally the home of wildly successful businessman Bowman Gray, Sr., this estate’s unique blend of old world charm and innovative tech-
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Montage Palmetto Bluff Bluffton, SC
Nestled on the May River in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff is village, nature preserve, marina, and Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, rolled into one. Wentworth Mansion Charleston, SC
A 21-room testament to Charleston’s historic grandeur, the Wentworth Mansion’s downtown location embraces the winding brick pathways and decades-old canopies of the Holy City. It’s countless accolades are well earned.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Kiawah Island, SC
This oceanfront resort offers some of the largest king rooms on the east coast and five golf courses, for 90 total holes of the very fi nest championship golf.
while emphasising its contemporary touches. With its magnificent ballroom events and location near the main thoroughfares in Greenville, guests never fi nd themselves without something to do. Inn at Harbour Town
Hilton Head, SC
The Sea Pines Resort’s Inn offers three world class golf courses on the serenity of Calibogue Sound. This is the defi nitive Hilton Head golf experience.
This art-fi lled boutique hotel in downtown Charleston sits within a collection of historic warehouses. Its rooftop bar locates guests with one of the best vantages in the city’s French Quarter.
Wild Dunes Resort Isle of Palms, SC
The Westin Poinsett, Greenville, SC
The Poinsett, open since 1925, has been praised for its ability to preserve its historical integrity,
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Whether you’re staying in one of the two Four Diamond properties, The Boardwalk Inn and The Village, or family-friendly condominiums and cottages, this Isle of Palms
resort is a “place you can make all your own.” Rosemary Inn B&B North Augusta, SC
Antebellum exterior and Gilded Age interior defi ne this almost-inGeorgia Lowcountry mansion, a welcoming historic site where the breakfast is a necessary part of the experience. Rhett House Inn Beaufort, SC
Hidden among Beaufort’s canopy of live oaks and just a short walk from the town’s stunning waterfront, this 1820 “in-town plantation house” radiates southern hospitality. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: visit us online at qCexclusive.com for in-depth articles on more of the finest hotels in the Carolinas.
A pristine setting at the historic, luxury boutique hotel. Graylyn. Grove Park Innâ€™s spa and outdoor facilities take luxury to a whole new level. An aerial view of one of the Carolinaâ€™s finest coastal destinations, Sanderling Resort.
Sunset view from “The Cut”
A city exists in the mountains without the usual checks and balances, and its people live, work, and create without limits. BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE
The sunrises over the Blue Ridge. The front entrance to Asheville’s Grand Bohemian Hotel. Rhubarb on Pack square. An aerial view of the omni Grove Park inn. An lR4 on the course at the land Rover experience Driving school at the Biltmore.
Asheville native and author Charles Frazier once observed that folk in the Piedmont “didn’t know there was any North Carolina west of Asheville.” And he’s not wrong: Asheville seems a veritable Oz in the mountains, a progressive green place, ridged with blue, that’s always been a city removed from the rest of Carolina. “It was, in many ways,” Frazier intoned, “an isolated place.” Since its humble beginnings as Morristown, this last beacon of civilization in the west of the state has served as a refuge for a certain kind of North Carolinian: Asheville was and remains a place for people who think...diff erently. While
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a creative brand of thought has taken root there for nearly two hundred years, the city continues to attract distinctly independent thinkers. Droves of writers, artists, chefs, musicians, and builders have made pilgrimages to this Oasis of Otherness deep in the heart of Appalachia, never to be seen (outside the city) again. These creative types can’t seem to leave, because Asheville is so welcoming, and because the craft beer is just too damned good. It’s a place where ideas — and their people — go to thrive. Nowadays, smart people visit this idea haven to eat those ideas. The farm-to-table movement elsewhere
is but an echo of Asheville’s refined sense of organic and local. Here, the charred sunchokes on your wood roasted rainbow trout were probably grown in the chef’s backyard. That fish — which, yes, is the most tender thing to dissolve on your tongue in years — incidentally found its way down the road from local familygrown Sunburst Trout Farms. Like any foodie paradise, Asheville boldly makes the case that good food begins with great people. Biomedical engineering student Katie Button found a way out of her university laboratories in Paris into a different, but no less methodical place of study: the Spanish tapas kitchen. After several chefing ventures throughout the northeast, she’s found herself presiding over the kitchen at Cúrate. This modern, open-kitchen tapas bar, built into a former 1927 bus depot, rests in the heart of historic downtown Asheville. When she’s not whiling away her time serving the best selection of sherry and the choicest olive oil in the state, she’s classing up the small plates at Nightbell, a new res-
AeRiAl PHoTo PRoviDeD By omni GRove PARK inn
Katie Button sits at the bar at her restaurant Cúrate. Cúrate’s Migas, our favorite tapa, combines sautéed brussel sprouts with raisins, cauliflower, and a celery root yogurt mousse. Rhubarb’s wood roasted whole Sunburst trout. Wes Eason of Sunburst Trout Farms.
PHOTOS OF Cúrate BY EVAN SUNG
Biltmore Estate, one the best places to turn in after a day of taurant and craft cocktail lounge unabashedly channelpoignant sights and even more poignant drinks. ling old school Asheville Art Deco. Their comfort food is And yes, those punchy cocktails are crafted to be affecton a whole other level of comfort. ing. The Imperial Life Bar’s colorful concoctions seem to Those in the mood for another one-two combo will likely have their own ambiance, even without the wrap-around find themselves fluctuating between New American reswindows and downtown view. The variable selection of taurant Table and its upstairs cocktail den, The Imperial absinthe, wine, and alcoholic body-warmers at restaurantLife Bar. Seeking out the freedom of the Asheville food lounges like The Admiral and The Bull and Beggar make scene after a stint in the New York one, the whimsical Chef for a nice and variable evening. But Asheville isn’t the Jacob Sessoms opened Table in 2005. Just down the street “cocktail capital” of the Carolinas. The real purpose of an is Rhubarb, a farm-to-table bar and eatery headed up by Asheville tour is the beer, and this city’s got more than a Winston Salem native John Fleer. Chef Fleer discovered few choices. Highland Brewery, The Wedge, Burial, Green a love for fine cuisine in Europe, but he hasn’t forgotMan, Twin Leaf, and Hi-Wire are all within a few minutes ten how we eat in the South: Rhubarb serves up a weekly of one another: It’s a special kind of family-style Sunday supper, complete providence that the best damn selecwith three courses, to any families tion of craft beer in this part of the looking to “chat and chew” together country is in such a walkable city. at the restaurant’s communal tables. Tasting rooms vary in size from Everyone will tell you to check out All great wooden fellowship halls to Souls Pizza, and you should, if only cozy coffeeshop-sized bars with just for the brick oven-baked ham and egg enough standing room to be charmpie that had us reeling. Down the hill ing, and the beers range from some from there, and practically on the of the most popular in the country to bank of the French Broad, is The Bull many that don’t even come in bottles and Beggar, a two-story warehouse yet. The collection of strange citrusy that’s dying to be cool-because-it’sIPAs and the stranger vegetable lahidden. And it is cool because it’s hidgers are good for bolstering your den. Asheville’s full of these pseudotable tennis and shuffleboard skills secret, “you have to know where it is in the bigger brewpubs, while imto find it” gathering spots. That’s part proving your conversational abiliof the fun of discovering the city: it ties in the smaller ones. Don’t forget likes to play coy. Burial Beer Co taproom. At Burial order as — a short drive up to the east coast So how does one find all the right the locals order, the Skillet Donut Stout. home of the original American craft places? You make friends — you have beer is a necessity. Sierra Nevada’s to, because people will insist upon it, brewery is a castle of brew tank spires and steam. This and because the locals know about the best mountain scenfortress opens its doors at 11 in the morning on most days. eries. The smart parkway drivers won’t miss the Pisgah Go for the brewery tour, stay for the beer and weekend National Forest region’s more natural offerings, like Lookevents out back. The spectrum of dark, frothy stouts, drying Glass Falls and the requisite Blue Ridge Parkway overhopping pale ales, liquid gold lagers, and weighty, blacklooks, but the best Asheville views are hidden closer into as-night porters in this city is unparalleled in the souththe city. A spot east of the city known as “The Cut,” in the east. Asheville’s brewing ventures aren’t an influence on evening, grants a brilliance of pinks and yellows and purCarolina beer; they are Carolina beer. ples through the buildings. One of the most breathtaking Asheville isn’t all food and beer and scenery, though. sights from within Asheville is right off the Omni Grove There’s a wealth of things to see and do, and little of it will Park Inn’s back porch; that peak in the distance is called force you to displace your own wealth. Some of the most Sunset Mountain for a reason. This sunset vantage is terenlightened fashion designers in the Southeast have found ribly convenient, considering that the historic Grove Park their niche in these mountains, and the local booksellers is, along with The Grand Bohemian Hotel and the Inn on
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Jasper Adams serves up a trio of delicious cocktails at Table. The new Sierra Nevada Brewery and taps. One of the most creative dishes we tasted during our trip: Table’s tomato-braised octopus, chickpea gnudi, slami, and bottarga.
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The Red Stag Grill at the Grand Bohemian is a great place to enjoy a cocktail or an offering from their chophouse menu. Alex Matisse in his pottery studio.
are probably more successful than any in the state. Asheville’s many shops don’t just sell things: With an aggressively neighbor-like welcome and fresh coffee and tea, they court their visitors. The coffee’s as exceptional as you’d expect in a liberal arts college town of this magnitude: The Green Sage cafe may catch your eye because of the solar panels on its roof, but you’ll concern yourself with a different, dark-roasted energy inside. You may even encounter the next big indie folk musician if you hang around long enough, or you’ll finish that national bestseller you’ve been working on — seriously, artistic
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inspiration (and acclaim) is a contagion in this town. Legendary French painter Henrí Matisse’s great-greatgrandson Alex lives just over the hills at his East Fork Pottery compound. Alex, together with his partner John Vigeland and their apprentices, make up the East Fork Guild, in an artist’s hideaway that’d have Thoreau and Emerson swooning. Looming over all the proceedings of any Asheville vacation, of course, is one of the nation’s more impressive architectural feats and the largest privately owned house in the country, Biltmore Estate. Constructed by George Washington Vanderbilt II in 1895, this Chateau-
esque mansion needs little introduction. See it in springtime, when the gardens are at their pollinating pinnacle, to glimpse Asheville’s exclusive brand of artistic divinity. Then collide the pristine estate’s yin with the yang of the Land Rover Driving Experience on your way out. The existence of these discordant experiences on the same plot of land is just one of many testaments to a distinctly Ashevillian unpredictability. The moment you’ve got it all figured out, the city faces you down with something entirely unprecedented. Asheville’s sense of itself is like a good work of abstract art — not deliberate, not random, but something in between. What, at first glance, seems a patchwork of directionless ingenuity is really a controlled chaos: It’s a place where creativity has been quarantined. Inspiration and sheer talent, like the city’s great beer, have been allowed to ferment. It is, in many ways, an isolated place, and that’s what makes it so intoxicating.
John Fleer stands proudly in front of his popular Rhubarb. East Fork Pottery cups and vases before a firing. Alex Matisse stands in his massive, hand-made kiln. Rhubarb’s crispy pig head.
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WITHOUT CAUTION The Metrolina Auto Group Story.
BY COREY MILLER | PHOTOS BY JAMEY PRICE aND PETER BRENT
“We looked at each other one day and said, ‘Let’s open a dealership,’ ”
Years ago, while toying around with one of his fi rst online auctions, Ryan Wildrick did something dicey. He purchased an automobile listed “as is,” sight unseen — a big taboo in the industry, and a move strictly forbidden by his partner in the car dealing business, Ryan Moreno. Upon the car’s arrival at their Concord dealership, the Ryans noticed, with some choice words, that it lacked a couple of detail parts…and an engine. “That was the fi rst transaction that actually lost us a lot of money,” Wildrick, 28, laughs. “There’s some risk in this business.” That online purchase wasn’t the fi rst chance Metrolina Auto Group had taken, and it wouldn’t be the last. Fortunately, the rest of those risks have paid off. A 22 year-old Ryan Moreno met Ryan Wildrick, 20 at the time, during their junior year as finance students.
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Wildrick had invested some money made through part time work, buying and selling a couple of affordable cars on Craigslist. The two became tentative business partners during their time at UNC Charlotte, selling a few cars a month. Upon graduating in the midst of a recession, the Ryans saw little hope for success in the 2010 banking industry, so these aspiring businessmen banked on their own ambition. “We looked at each other one day and said, ‘Let’s open a dealership,’ ” 30-year-old Ryan Moreno recalls, with the kind of youthful assurance that you can’t help but trust. After a pattern of unending setbacks in Kannapolis, including zoning troubles, business world ageism, and the delayed acquisition of a dealer’s license, they relocated to Concord. In a 4,000 square-foot industrial warehouse hidden behind Concord Speed-
way, some semblance of a dealership began to take form. Opening proved a costly endeavor, though — Wildrick had already sold his personal vehicle in order to secure some extra cash, and now they were forced to sell the Auto Group’s only remaining form of transportation: Ryan Moreno’s trusty high school ride, an Isuzu Trooper. It was “gladly sold, because the air conditioning didn’t work and the tires were showing cords,” Wildrick jokes, prompting a defensive “I loved that car!” from Moreno. The resulting funds bought them three high-mileage BMWs from an auction in Manheim, Pennsylvania. “The idea was, ‘Well, let’s hope they sell!’ ” Ryan Wildrick admits with a shrug, disclosing their barebones business model at that point. They were determined to start dealing, wholeheartedly committed to
the idea that the business could be most easily learned once the business was running. So they dove headfirst into the car industry, and they learned quickly. Despite their modest line of cars in those early days, they immediately established a process. They serviced their cars through independent auto shops at the time, detailing them thoroughly. They developed their online marketing process, expediting the business’ growth as a result. For a long time, Metrolina simply spent every dollar earned on inventory, energizing and stimulating sales however possible…while barely paying their bills. “We never had enough money to do what we wanted,” Moreno says, “so we had to spend every dollar earned, and hope.” They took their good fortune and reinvested it, often courting disaster. Over the first two years the partners fought about nearly everything, with tensions heightened by the financial struggle to keep the doors open. Moreno recalls “arguing with Ryan Wildrick for hours” in their small Concord office. “Those two years made Ryan Wildrick my best friend,” he says, “and I have complete trust in him.” The Ryans’ growing pains and evolving trust in one another informed their customer service and sales efficiency, as they steadily grew their inventory from three cars to about 35. They rented a warehouse next door in order to open a service shop for their customers. They started gaining the support of banking institutions to finance their customers’ purchases. Moreno and Wildrick gradually hired a few employees from franchise car dealers, encouraging them to share their industry knowledge and finding ways to implement
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it at Metrolina. At that point, their online reputation had improved dramatically: These boys were never anything less than humble about what they’d started to accomplish, and their character as businessmen preceded them. Three years in, they were selling almost 50 cars a month, with no more growing room in Concord. At the same time, Metrolina’s stock of vehicles was increasing drastically in value, as they started buying and selling newer cars with less mileage. In order to continue to grow they needed a larger facility, and they needed it quickly. Real estate searches and negotiations went on for months, but eventually they signed a lease on a 26,000 square-foot facility in Charlotte off of Tyvola Road, another big gamble: The rent was considerably higher and they would have to outfit the building for their needs, including a service shop. The odds seemed stacked against them. They needed to make more money in a single month than they had in three years to be able to afford all the expenses of the move. They’re still here, of course, because the new location paid dividends: Their first month in Charlotte, June of 2014, was more than kind to them. The new space elevated their showroom to what can better be described as a gallery of sorts, a sleek setting that these works of automobile artistry deserve.
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Their success in the big city was compounded by a partnership with local service shop Eurowise, and the purchase of an additional boutique showroom closer to Uptown in South End. The Ryans have also built other businesses, including their own warranty and investment companies, as well as Metrolina Luxury Carriers, a high-end transport company. Over the last two years, Metrolina’s showroom and online sales have grown to selling as many as 105 cars a month, shipping them to customers’ homes nationwide and overseas. Expanding their inventory to Ferraris, Bentleys, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Porsches and nearly every other exotic car they’d dreamed of selling, Metrolina Auto Group has quickly established itself as a luxury car-selling juggernaut. In 2015 their revenue was $43mil with only $5 million in purchasing power and in 2016, with $9.5 million of purchasing power, they are barreling towards their goal of $100 million in revenue with no signs of slowing down. Metrolina is now one of the largest independent luxury and exotic car dealers in the nation, and it all started with a couple of bold decisions. In the luxury car dealing business, it seems, hard work is nothing without nerve. Even in the earliest stages, when they’d only sold a few Hondas, the Ryans envisioned themselves buying and selling high-end, exotic automobiles. They wanted to do it out of a gorgeous indoor showroom, and they wanted to do it in a prime Charlotte location. So, they just did. Metrolina Auto Group is a testament to the fact that, especially in a budding city like Charlotte, the only real obstacles are the ones we acknowledge. With drive like this, there are only open roads. FOR A BIT MORE INFO: www.metrolinaautogroup.com
OPPOSTIE PAGE: Metrolina Auto Group Owners Ryan Moreno and Ryan Wildrick . THIS PAGE: A Metrolina McLaren. The Metrolina Auto Group showroom.
The INDEX MAY/ JUNE 2016 | Please Support Our Advertisers AGM Imports........................ 101 Allen’s Jewelers ....................42 Amina Rubinacci ...................26 Arcadia ......................................37 Arthur Brouthers.................... 43 Ashley J Design .......................28 BLT Steak.................................. 73 Bedside Manor......................... 59 Ben Bowen................................ 55 Blackhawk Hardware............ 83 Blue Ridge Mountain Club..... 31 Blythe Gallery......................... 129 Bridgewater Capital.............. 111 Bruce Julian............................. 87 Cadenza ..................................107 Carolina’s Healthcare............ 47 Cellars South........................... 129 Charlotte’s .............................44 Cimarron Sky........................... 40 Clark Hall Doors...................... 97 Classic Attic.............................. 44 Clean Catch............................ 87 Clifton Larson Allen................ 57 Cococo...................................... 99 Coffey & Thompson.............. 162 Corkbuzz.................................. 85 Cottingham Chalk Hayes...... 45 David’s LTD................................. 2 Dewoolfson Down................ 102 Diamond Springs.................... 79 Diamonds Direct ....Back Cover Douglas Furs.......................... 129 Dr. Robert Lowe, DDS............ 21 DwellNova .................................10 Epicentre ..................................77 FS Food Group ....................85 Frank Smith ...............................12 GJK Renovations ...................65 Gerrard Builders...................... 29 Good’s Home Furnishings ....63 Grande Homes........................ 32 Hampton Inn........................... 131 Hearth & Patio......................... 106
IC London................................ 129 Kingswood............................... 25 KLM Massage .......................... 42 Laca Projects........................... 56 Lake Norman Realty ................14 Land Rover Charlotte............. 23 Lauren Nicole Design........... 61 Lindley Law ...............................35 Liquid Design.......................... 52 Lucky Clays .............................127 Magnolia Emporium.............. 68 Majestic Bath.......................... 109 Malibu Boats .........................125 Metrolina Auto Group.............. 6 Nestlewood.............................. 51 New Life Building.................. 105 Noble Food Pursuits ..............81 North Beach Plantation........ 121 Oasis .........................................103 Omni Hotels & Resorts.......... 130 Paragon Bank.......................... 53 Paul Simon ................................39 Perry’s Jewelry........................ 36 Piedmont Town Center......... 75 Pink Hanger.............................. 38 Premier Sotheby’s.................... 8 Remax Exclusive....................... 4 Resalon .....................................38 Rolle Oral ...................................67 Sally’s Optical Secrets........... 69 Schiele Museum..................... 131 Sister’s Cove............................ 123 South End Kitchens................ 41 Splurge...................................... 46 Sporting Gent......................... 163 Stark........................................... 19 Stickley Audi & Co.................. 64 Taylor Richards & Conger .....24 Tiffany Lee Designs................ 112 Tuscarora’s ...............................46 Walker Zanger .........................95 USNWC......................................16 Windsor Jewelers ...................27
THE STOCKISTS Total Wine Reid’s Fine Foods Earthfare Ballantyne Hotel Dean And Deluca Whole Foods Dogwood The Sporting Gent Heist Brewery Rhino Market
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Rooster’s King’s Kitchen Audi of Charlotte Capitol Nolen’s Kitchen Del Frisco’s Beef & Bottle Dressler’s Birkdale Kindred Ritz-Carlton
Passion8 Earl’s Grocery Peninsula Yacht Fox & Hound Common Market Queen’s College Laurel Market Novant Health Laca Projects AND 100S MORE...
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Our 2016 Travel Issue entitled "Southbound" features the very best travel destinations from Charlotte including a beautiful feature on the C...
Published on May 17, 2016
Our 2016 Travel Issue entitled "Southbound" features the very best travel destinations from Charlotte including a beautiful feature on the C...