Live music permeates Summit Coffee’s 110-year-old building at least three nights per week, enhancing the space’s already artistic and eclectic vibe. Day and night, patrons ranging from neighbors and artists to professors and students settle inside the warm-and-welcoming café bar to throw back pints of IPA brews or piping-hot mugs of organic coffee and lattes. Friendly baristas and bar mates pair beverages with decadent sweets, including flaky croissants and giant slices of rich chocolate cake. As a neighborhood spot, Summit cherishes its community and is dedicated to giving back. It has raised more than $100,000 and a handful of Monopoly money over the years thanks to events such as its 8K race.
Only a dim light skims the horizon when Gabriel Dumitrescu arrives at Our Daily Bread Bakery at 3 a.m. Even though the sun has yet to rise, he gets up this early to give himself time to bring the bakery to the right temperature, mix ingredients, knead dough, and make the best quality bread he can. By the time the bakery opens at 7 a.m., he has the counters stocked with enough baguettes, sourdough, and pastries for all of his walk-in clients and advance orders. Each loaf is prepared using the simple, Old World traditions Gabriel learned growing up in Transylvania. He also combines his European and American influences to make sandwiches with flavors from both regions including german schnitzel and philly cheesesteak, as well as pizza with a homemade tomato sauce or olive oil base with mozzarella cheese.
Many bakeries claim that their treats are handmade, but the treats crafted at BW Sweets Bakery might be just a bit more handmade than others. That's because the bakery uses as few premade ingredients as possible; when making sweet-potato pie, the bakers pick out sweet potatoes at the farmers' market, bake them, and skin them rather than buying a readymade can, the owner told Creative Loafing. That devotion to high-quality ingredients carries through all of their offerings, from dainty pastries to multilayered wedding cakes draped in fondant, as well as gourmet cheesecakes and booze-infused cupcakes.
On the shores of Lake Norman, diners relax with craft cocktails and martinis, dining on feasts of steak sandwiches, pan-seared trout, and small plates of wings and fish tacos. The bill of fare combines homey Southern cuisine with upscale gastropub presentation and cookery, quelling hunger pangs with dishes such as Low Country shrimp and grits with parmesan reduction and tricolored bell peppers, bourbon bread pudding, and bacon-wrapped meatloaf with tomato jam.
From the sleek wood of a guitar to the rough stubble of a basketball, the confectionary masters at The Icing & The Cake make fondant look like anything their clients can imagine. Their huge, colorful cakes have served as the centerpiece for many special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and daring prison escapes involving the use of a life-size cake replica. The shop's pastry chefs also craft individual cupcakes, cake balls, and cake pops for spur-of-the-moment sweet snacks or to treat septuplets to their own personal birthday cake.