Fork!, located in Cornelius, NC (right next to Davidson) is a farm-to-table restaurant situated in a quaint old house with a sprawling porch. Tim and Melanie Groody have owned Fork! for about four years, and they recently opened up Ramen Soul in Mooresville. Jason and I ventured here for date night on an unseasonably warm evening in February. Check out what we tried below!



Eat This: 


Spicy Chicken spring rolls

Wasabi, plum sauce

Our waiter told us that he recommended the hickory smoked pork dumpling appetizer, but then Jason ordered these. Why would he do that? I don't know. You'll have to ask him. I don't like spring rolls, so I passed, but Jason reported that they were good. I'll eat you one day, pork dumplings. A lot of the menu items had an Asian or island-y flare, which we found interesting for the venue and rest of the menu (mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, etc.). 


Smoked caesar romaine salad

Garlic croutons, shaved artisan cheese

Simple and flavorful greens. They were even nice enough to split this into two portions for us, without us asking. Hospitality plus! 


Grapevine smoked wahoo

Bagna cauda, yogurt, arugula, pickled cauliflower greens

Fresh and citrus-y. 


All natural beef bistro steak

House made worcestershire 

The only dish we didn't like. We both felt the steak was a tad overcooked and lacked seasoning. 


Pan Seared mahi

Sorrel charmoula & basil collard pesto

The mahi had a crispy sear and great flavor. I love that the meats came with the option of sauce on the side. Obviously I ordered two (un-pictured). Because sauce. 

We don't know exactly why, but we didn't order enough dinner. Maybe the above would be enough for mere mortals, but we are hobby eaters. The only thing we didn't like was the steak, but for some reason we didn't feel like ordering anything else. It's a bit of a mystery, even to us. However, we had devised a game plan...



Whit's frozen custard

...From down the way

I mean, we were only about a mile from Whit's, so...

And Whit's is only a half a mile from Kindred....


Kindred Milkbread

Yeah, that happened 

What have we done?!

What have we done?!

We were weird. We know it. We are sure that Fork! has lovely desserts, and we will be back to try them one day. But on this night, we needed custard and some bread. I would recommend that Fork! implements a bread basket. But that's just this blogger's opinion. 

Jason and I stuck with tea (iced for him, hot for me) but Fork! had an inventive cocktail menu we will also be back to try. 

Fork! was adorable, and while we liked the food, the real standout to me was the ambiance. We happened to be here on a gorgeous evening at dusk, but I have a feeling that Fork! just has good and cozy vibes whenever you go. It felt at once relaxed and upscale. 

Heyyy Jason 

Heyyy Jason 

Davidson Hospitality: 
Our server was super nice, and we felt awful, because we seemed to spook him with our picture taking. It wasn't his fault that we didn't order enough food and had to go to two more restaurants. That was solely on us. We are strange and we freely admit it. 

Frankie's Notes: 
We made it weird at Fork! and we don't really know why; The siren call of Kindred's milkbread is like a magnetic force field; Getting island vibes in Cornelius is confusing and exciting; Wrap-around porches make everything better; Why does Fork! have an exclamation point in it? 


3 out of 5


The Pump House

Background: The Riverwalk area in Rock Hill is growing like crazy. The walking trail is busy every day and packed on a beautiful weekend. There are new apartments and homes going up at warp speed, a wine bar just opened (a second location of The Grape Vine--a Baxter staple), and a hair salon and a Brixx Pizza are coming soon. Not to leave out the pinnacle of Riverwalk, of course--the shiny, beautiful BNA building.  A close second, however, is the brand new restaurant, The Pump House.

The Pump House is the vision of Ell Close and Colby Mosier, who, along with Jeff Conway, the owner of Napa on Providence and Ruth's Chris Steakhouses in Charlotte, have turned the dilapidated Celanese Textile Factory pump house into the one of the most unique and best restaurants in York County. The restaurant sits directly on the Catawba River, offering 180 degree views of the river. It is a five story restaurant--the top story is the bar, the fourth floor is reserved for special events, and the third floor is the main seating area. The second floor is used for storage and the first floor is where you enter. You can even see the original pump sitting outside of the restaurant!

Full disclosure: Jason's parents are a 1% owner in the Pump House, so we got to go the investor dinner before their official opening. Riverwalk perks!

Eat This: The menu is what we'll call "Modern Southern." Their entrees average around $20 and include three types of shrimp and grits, steak, trout and catfish, and many other southern delicacies.

The calamari was light and tasty. Other appetizer options included a rock shrimp cocktail, tomato soup, and caesar salad. 

The filet and the trout were both served over pureed butternut squash and greens which were seasoned and sautéed to perfection. Also, the filet was cooked a perfect rare, as requested--only good restaurants are willing and able to cook rare steak, so that's a good sign. The southern fried shrimp and grits came with collard greens and house made bacon, and tasted like we imagine great-grandma used to make them (not a Jewish grandma, obvs). 

Dessert: We tried the Cheerwine molten chocolate cake, which might have been the best chocolate cake we've ever had. It was so good that the two of us ate it all and didn't save any for Bernie (The Bern), who was politely talking to the couple next to us while we ravaged it. We then convinced our waiter to let us have another one for the table. Alas, The Bern still didn't get to eat that much of the second one. Oops. You have to be fast with your fork when you dine with us. 

Drink: Some super awesome cocktail offerings--Jason tried the River Water, which was served in a mason jar and made with moonshine, blood orange syrup, and love. 

Atmosphere: Sophisticated country vibes abound. Modern seating and stainless steel combine seamlessly with wood panels and a taxidermy beaver under glass ("Justin Beaver"). It was not open on the night we went, but soon the patio will be open (fifth floor), which will be so lovely for drinks and watching the sunset and wildlife on the river. 

Southern Hospitality: Our bartenders and waitstaff could not have been any sweeter. The owners said that all servers would be attending training at Ruth's Chris restaurants in the next week to further hone their fine dining service skills. 

Frankie's Notes: BNA is where Jason Ackerman IV will work; Just kidding, Jews don't name their kids like that; We hope the seafood is not from Lake Wylie; If only the real Justin Beiber could be preserved under glass; We owe The Bern two chocolate cakes; Expect to find the BNA staff dinning al fresco on a Friday evening in the near future. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

575 Herrons Ferry Rd
Rock Hill, SC 29730
Hours: TBD



Background: Kindred was voted #7 on Bon Appetit magazine’s list of Best New Restaurants for 2015. Yep--Davidson, NC made the top ten list for the whole darn country. Husband and wife team Joe and Katy Kindred wanted to move back to Joe’s hometown after they met on the Chicago restaurant scene. 

Eat This: We’ve gotta come clean about our first visit. Back in August when we first ventured to the charming college town, we were less than impressed with Kindred. It wasn’t that we disliked it, we just didn’t get what the hype was about. Was it good? Yeah. Top ten in the country good? Calm down, bro.

But...maybe the problem was the hype and we needed to manage our expectations? Did they have an off night? Did we? With all of these super important life queries swirling through our heads, we decided to give it another shot before we reviewed it. We dined with our lovely friends Zander and Tamara. They are also: getting married this year and don’t care one bit about spoiling their appetites on bread before the meal. Twins!

Kindred specializes in small plates that rotate seasonally. Top picks this visit included the Wagyu Beef Tartare and the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. The tartare was served with finely grated dried mushrooms and salty dried fish--absolute perfection. The Bolognese was a table favorite and we agreed it was like something your Italian grandmother would make, if you had one (if you do have one, will you share her with us?) Jason and Zander really loved the Pork Saltimbocca served with grits and red-eye gravy, but Tamara and I just wanted more bread. All the bread. Their bread is “milk bread” served in a round carafe with house cultured butter. The first loaf is free to the table, but you have to pay for additional loaves. Worth it.

Dessert: At dinner, we found out that Zander is kind of a health nut: he drinks bulletproof coffee every morning, engages in intermittent fasting, and eschews dessert. Tamara told us that her other half always acts super non-committal regarding dessert, until it is on the table, practically begging “EAT ME, ZANDER.” And, true to her word, Zander looked at the three of us like we were hungry barbarians when we suggested two desserts after we pretty much had eaten everything on the dinner menu. Then, when it was served he descended upon it like it was a death row meal (disclaimer: Zander is the thinnest of us all, so #judgementfreezone). What did we get, you ask? the Milk & Cookies (salted chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon ice cream) and the Chocolate Birthday Cake. The cookies and ice cream were pretty good, but the cake was the stand-out. On our last visit, we thought it tasted disappointingly similar to Baskin Robbins ice cream cake, but this time we were so glad we ordered it. Top notch.

Overall, we felt the food this time around was much more impressive than at our visit in August. We still aren’t sure it’s “top ten in the whole country good,” but it is definitely great food and easily among the top restaurants in Charlotte.  

Drink: Jason & Tamara each ordered the same girly cocktail (called the Santiago) and gave it high marks. We especially liked the aluminum straw that looked like a dental instrument.

Atmosphere: Kindred used to be a drug store, and they have maintained some original wood elements in the bar area (+ the dental-esque straws). The seating is both upstairs and down, and the kitchen is in the basement, so the servers certainly get a workout! The decor is charming, right down to the sign in the bathroom that says: “Employees must wash their hands...and moonwalk out of the bathroom.” The atmosphere at Kindred definitely feels special--perfect for date night or a fancy occasion.

Southern Hospitality: The service here is laid-back, but helpful. On both occasions, our waitresses have been more than happy to offer food and drink suggestions.

Frankie’s Notes: When you are planning a wedding, you become People Who Only Talk About Weddings--you can feel yourself doing it and yet you are powerless to stop it; Friends don’t let friends feel weird about ordering bread to-go; Dessert is casual until you turn into a T-Rex over some cake; Tamara is planning our honeymoon to Easter Island to see the alien statues; It’s normal to go through a stick of Kerrygold butter a week, right?

Ranking: 5 out of 5

Et Cetera:

131 N Main St.
Davidson, North Carolina 28036
Tuesday-Saturday: 11:00 – 2:30pm and 5:00-10:00pm