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.
When HoneyBaked Ham was just a single shop in Michigan more than 40 years ago, it was run under the careful eye of its founder, Harry J. Hoenselaar. He handpicked every bone-in ham that he was going to sell in stores and carefully cured each in a secret marinade recipe. He then slow-smoked the ham over a custom blend of wood chips. Hoenselaar even built and patented a machine that spiral-cut the meat into almost perfectly even slices and re-creations of M.A.S.H. characters. But what really stuck with people was his glaze—a proprietary recipe that encased each ham with a sweet, crunchy finish.
Though Harry's shop has since grown into a nationally recognized brand with more than 400 stores, that attention to detail hasn’t been lost. His grandchildren now oversee the company, and they have maintained that same process of hand-selecting hams and smoking them for up to 24 hours before they’re spiral-cut and glazed. Many of the stores also have a cafe-style counter, where patrons can pick up fresh sandwiches layered with roast beef, smoked turkey breast, chicken salad, and of course, honey-glazed ham.
Clients start cooling off immediately upon entering Cafe Yofflers, where the light, comfortable atmosphere joins forces with the chilled treats. The shop specializes in both gelato and frozen yogurt, which clients can customize to their taste at a toppings bar filled with cuts of fresh fruit, bins of flaky cereals, and mounds of candy. The baristas can also help clients cool down at the coffee bar by mixing up iced green tea lattes and iced cappuccinos made with illy coffee or by sitting next to them and fanning them with their hands. Or, they can whip up hot drinks such as hot chocolate or flavored lattes for those who savor steamy sips.
Classic Italian gelato and sorbetto is created from scratch and slow-churned at Bella Fresco Cafe each day, but this natural and fresh approach to food expands past its desserts. Meats rotate slowly on a spit in the style of shawarma, from which the kitchen staff carves succulent slices that make their way into signature pita sandwiches. Burgers, panini, and pita pizzas each pair with wine, which patrons nurse while reclining and enjoying lake views on the back porch. To finish up their meals, they choose a frozen treat and sip an espresso or Kona blend coffee.
Egg bagels, salted bagels, everything bagels, chocolate-chip bagels. Bagels of practically every flavor are made fresh daily at New York Bagel Shoppe. When the rounds of dough are ready to serve, cooks smear them with flavored cream cheese or pile them with lox and toss them to patrons like frisbees. They also build sandwiches and wraps, layering Boar’s Head meats with caramelized onions or grilled vegetables dressed with balsamic vinegar. Each morning, pancakes, omelets, and hot coffee are also freshly made to help diners greet the day.
Cuisine Type: American food and espresso
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Homemade ice cream in 20+ flavors
Delivery / Take-out Available: Takeout only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: All of our menu items are fresh and made-to-order. Nothing is pre-cooked or processed.
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
It's satisfying to provide customers and the community with good food and a family-friendly environment. Our goal is to be the spot where people want to come, feel welcomed, and leave full. This venue gives us an opportunity to work with our two passions: food and people.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
We make all of our ice cream flavors and sorbets on-site daily. You can also order an ice cream cake in your favorite flavor instead of settling for a mediocre supermarket ice cream cake.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We are a husband-and-wife team that enjoys cooking, working, and seeing people enjoy both the food and the experience here at In The Mood Cafe.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Our menus feature breakfast all day, and we use white-meat chicken breast and certified Angus beef in our panini and burgers. We prepare our chopped salads based on your vegetable and protein choices. We also cut our own french fries and soak them in kosher salt. Our ice cream contains premium ingredients, which will be obviously clear when you taste it. Feel free to sample a couple of flavors before making your final selection so that you can truly experience the difference in our ice cream. Also, we function as a full espresso bar and have a full coffee menu that includes lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and herbal teas.