Owner and vintner Dr. Lane Gregory and his staff of merry winemakers harvest their wine grapes from the fertile muscadine vines that flourish on Gregory Vineyards' 120 acres of lush farmland. The winery's Old World tasting room and wood furniture lend a rustic atmosphere to samplings of cleverly named wines such as Sly Fox, Ruth Walton, or the dry white known as Bald Eagle. Like North Carolina's banana trees, the regional muscadine grape thrives from late August until early October, giving Dr. Gregory and company only a matter of weeks to harvest the tough-skinned fruit. In addition to tastings, the handsome property plays host to weddings and other special events. And, on an average day, visitors may be spotted taking wine tours with Dr. Gregory or exploring the vineyard's lake on romantic two-person pedal boats.
Laugh Out Loud hosts well-established laugh conjurers and undiscovered comedic masterminds capable of leaving the audience doubled over in harmonized chuckles. Past Laugh Out Loud audience-slayers have graced the stages of HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central, and upcoming performers include musical comedian Ron Feingold, who produces a cappella backup, lead, and percussive vocals with his three separate mouths (July 28–30). Lyndel Pleasant, a former stagemate of Chris Rock, weaves anecdotes of marriage and fatherhood into his act (August 4–6), and Ward Anderson, author of The Ultimate Bachelor’s Guide, tackles audiences with his physical comedy (August 11–13). All shows last approximately two hours and showcase three comedians or one mythical hydra that wants to know what the deal is with airplane peanuts.
Whipping up upscale pub grub with expertise, North Ridge Pub pairs reputable fare and a comfortable setting better than a leather couch fitted with a deep fryer. Amid a casual atmosphere that’s blanketed in lustrous wood finishes, patrons can enjoy a welcoming staff and varied dinner and brunch menus compiled with the freshest ingredients available. Hunger-addled visitors can sample specialty entrees such as the Cameron Steak, marinated with soy and pineapple ($13.95), and meatloaf with secret sauce, vegetables, and mac 'n' cheese ($8.95/$11.95). Seafaring visitors and Aquaman can opt for seafood offerings such as the shrimp picante with rice and tortilla chips ($12.95), and handy diners can test-bite a mitt-fitting crab-cake sandwich ($7.95). North Ridge Pub's fully stocked bar serves up high-octane drinks that help fuel discourse more efficiently than Socrates appearing on The Arsenio Hall Show.
Scooping up a chipful of it or getting your fill on the dance floor, Latin Quarters has more than one kind of salsa. Inside the colorfully painted and decorated interior, the dance floor is frequently home to salsa dancers and toe-tappers, while surrounding tables enjoy authentic Puerto Rican cuisine and colorful cocktails. During dinner, customers start meals with flaky, golden-brown empanadas lined with jerk chicken, spinach and cheese, or a mix of pork and yellow rice. Then, they graduate to entrees of fried pork chops topped with zesty chimichurri, or the Tropical Picken Chicken, which is served with homemade salsa verde and dressed in an edible grass skirt.
The building has been there for generations, beneath a neon "Restaurant" sign that used to serve as a beacon of sustenance for WWII-era soldiers stationed nearby. Decades later, under that same sign, people still show up in search of food, and more importantly, in search of drink. This historic spot is now the home of Brewmasters Bar & Grill, a taproom that celebrates North Carolina brewers with its selection of nearly 100 craft brews. "Beer geeks," as Brewmasters likes to call them, can discover local suds from Big Boss and Crank Arm mixed in with nationally renowned beers such as Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.
Of course, beer is also integral to the food menu. On it, guests will find pork belly braised in brown ale and beer-battered onion rings. The kitchen makes many of their ingredients in-house, including spinach dip forged from a family recipe and Brewmasters' signature candied bacon with jalapeño-apple jelly. As guests tackle their meals, they can study a state map that pinpoints North Carolina's best-loved breweries and least-invisible rivers.