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While we all thoroughly enjoy casual lunch dates here at Best of LKN, sometimes the situation calls for a more refined dining experience. Whether you’re celebrating a milestone, treating your in-laws, or simply looking to savor the finer things in life, the Lake Norman area has a plethora of white-tablecloth restaurants that can transform any occasion into an unforgettable affair. Make room in your scrapbook for a few cherished moments as we introduce you to some of  Lake Norman’s best fine dining restaurants.

Barrel & Fork

Situated somewhere between then and someday, Barrel & Fork is a location with both a rich past and a bright future. The House, as it’s lovingly referred to, was established in 1906, and served as a haven for protest and production throughout the prohibition period. Its bourbon-filled history continues into the present, as it’s since been transformed into an upscale eatery and cocktail bar. Prided on being a guest-driven establishment, the team’s passion and authenticity can be felt in every nook & cranny of the house. From the 120 year old brick walls, to the apothecarial smoking of wood chips behind the bar, to the small-town roots that have bloomed in the kitchen, this restaurant is brimming with southern charm and hospitality

Barrel & Fork caters to those with both a low country palate and a penchant for sophistication. It’s hearty, yet refined menu offers comfort and elegance simultaneously with dishes like Scallops and Sweet Potato Orzo, Wagyu Beef Meatloaf, and Skillet Lobster Mac & Cheese, as well as a vast collection of spirits and wine. Whether you prefer bourbon or rye whiskey, scotch, gin, or brandy, bar artist Jade Finn will have something up his sleeve to fill your glass. 

Barrel & Fork was featured in episode 30 of The Best of LKN podcast.

Barrel & Fork
barrelandfork.com
20517 N Main St
Cornelius, NC 28031

Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse

For chef Bill Schulz, food doesn’t come from the kitchen; the foundation of all good cuisine lies deeper, flowing through the earth and its tenders. Such a philosophy is what led him to Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse, where ethical sourcing, farm-fresh ingredients, and artful preparation are just as much a part of each meal as flavor. Built on seasonality, Flatiron’s ever-changing menu marries traditional techniques with bold ingenuity to provide diners with a unique epicurean experience. Daily specials feature elements at their boldest and most vibrant, so you’ll be tasting the peak of season each with each visit, just as Mother Nature intended. 

As the Taphouse part of their name might suggest, Flatiron also carries a fine selection of craft cocktails, top-shelf wines, and imported beers, all waiting to accompany your dinner. Try a premium Wagyu Beef Burger with a smoky Syrah, or Salmon Belly Tacos with a bright and citrusy NZ Sauvignon Blanc.

Along with their soul-nourishing eats, the establishment’s tastefully rustic interior will have visions of the simple life dancing through your head. If this refined take on comfort food has got your heart fluttering like that of a young farm girl, let Flatiron be your dinner destination. 

Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse was featured in episode 16 of The Best of LKN podcast.

Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse
flatirononmain.com
215 S Main St
Davidson, NC 28036

131 Main

Imagine a low country Charleston cabin… wood siding, iron accents, gas lamps, and the warm and inviting crackling of a fireplace. Add to that a gorgeous open kitchen, the delectable aroma of a hickory wood-fired grill, and impeccable table service. To top it all off, picture the luxurious taste of a full-bodied Cabernet in your hand—or a cold beer, if that’s what you fancy. While this may sound too good to be true, it’s exactly the scene you’ll find at 131 Main. Specializing in classic American cuisine, this restaurant serves lunch and dinner with a side of geniality and boasts countless reviews that enthuse over its superb accommodation

131 Main’s commitment to quality doesn’t stop at the ambiance, mind you; their cuisine takes freshness to the next level, with each dish being expertly prepared in-house using only the highest quality ingredients. Rediscover classics such as Southern Shrimp and Grits, Cedar Plank Salmon, and Double Cut Pork Chops with a gusto you’ve never before experienced, and wash things down with a crisp lager or an oaky chardonnay while you enjoy the inviting atmosphere. The perfect union of 131’s food and mood is something to behold, and with such dedication to detail, it’s no mystery as to why so many diners become repeat guests.

131 Main
131-main.com/lake-norman
17830 Statesville Rd
Cornelius, NC 28031

Dressler’s Birkdale

When an indulgent evening is calling your name, Dressler’s will answer. Since 2003, founders Jon and Kim Dressler have been welcoming patrons with open arms and full plates, serving upscale cuisine crafted to make each and every one feel special. Entreés like Shrimp and Lobster Linguini, Braised Short Ribs, and Halibut headline the menu, while extras like Thai Peanut Calamari and Crème Brûlée are available for those who are feeling particularly posh. Trust us when we say that there’s no such thing as a bad choice when it comes to the selection at Dressler’s. To further enhance your experience, the bar also serves wine and hand-stirred martinis. 

While you dine, you’ll be able to enjoy the venue’s clean and distinguished ambiance. Don’t let its minimalist decor, chic white tablecloths and exquisite plating fool you into thinking that it’s a place for the pompous and uptight, however, as the air at Dressler’s is as lively as it is dazzling. As Kim puts it, “even if you’re not joining us for a special occasion, you’ll leave feeling like it was one.” 

Dressler’s Restaurant was featured in episode 12 of The Best of LKN podcast.

Dressler’s Birkdale
dresslersrestaurant.com/birkdale-village/
8630 Lindholm Dr
Huntersville, NC 28078

Kindred

Tucked away in the streets of Davidson is a charming little restaurant by the name of Kindred. Though quaint at first glance, the venue offers a commodity that many of us here in the Charlotte-metropolitan long for: a break. With its intimate seating and quiet decor, Kindred is the perfect reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life. Savor the sweet scent of freshly-baked milk bread as you walk through the door, take a seat at the marble-top bar, and prepare to be treated to the gourmet stylings of chef Joe Kindred. 

Inspired by their worldly travels, Joe and his wife Katy provide diners with a unique experience, infused with flavors and methods from all over the globe. Reimagined versions of traditional fare—including dishes such as Squid Ink Conchiglie, English Pea Gazpacho, and Duck Fat Potatoes—allow adventurous diners to take their taste-buds on a journey, while homebodies rekindle their love for old favorites. What marvelous eats you might encounter at Kindred will depend on your timing, as the menu changes weekly to showcase local and seasonal ingredients (don’t fret, you can always check online beforehand). Rest assured that regardless of what you order, your dish will be prepared with a loving and personal twist that’ll make the meal a one-of-a-kind treasure. In addition to food, Kindred also hosts a fully-serviced bar, so if you don’t like the thought of a lonely plate, you can have a sommelier set your dinner up with a soulmate. 

Kindred was featured in episode 31 of The Best of LKN podcast.

Kindred
kindreddavidson.com
131 N Main St
Davidson, NC 28036

If your Instagram could use some sprucing up after last year’s quarantine, all of these fine dining establishments are currently accepting reservations, so you can get your social media envy game back on. Not only will every meal make a great post, it’ll make a fantastic memory for you and your loved ones to cherish. 

Cheers, Lake Norman!