In the kitchen at Mario’s Pizza, chefs heap cheese, steak, and sun-dried tomatoes onto oversize New York–style and sicilian pizza crusts. A white pizza covered in ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella reminds taste buds of eating a delicious snowman, and comes in sizes ranging from 10 inches to as large as 19 inches. Baked pasta and sandwiches, such as a philly steak or veal parmigiana, round out the menu.
Groucho's has been serving deli-style favorites to South Carolina's sandwich set since 1941. The menu features a sea of sandwiches ($3.79–$7.09), including traditional corned beef on rye, chicken salad, and the house specialty, Baby Sub, a warm combo of salami, bologna, provolone, herb slaw, and lean ham. Groucho's woos salad skeptics with its Just Bacon Salad—4 ounces of real bacon crumbs mounded on a smoke screen of greens ($5.09). Running the gamut of heart health, it also offers a sizeable selection of low-fat alternatives and vegetarian options. If kosher dills inspire intense thirst or desires to soak fingertips in carbonation, Groucho's carries bottled beer and Dr. Brown's soda.
Mansour Zand, owner of Willow Creek Inn, has transformed an early 20th-century farmhouse into a venue for fine dining. He's facilitated this change through an internationally inspired approach to cooking as well as design. Using fresh produce and herbs from his own garden, he composes plates of European-style chicken, fish, and beef. This ever-changing cuisine is most often served in the formal dining room, which is adorned with lace drapes and antique furniture, or at the intimate chef's table, where groups of up to 16 can take in views of the countryside and watch the chef prepare the meal. Larger parties, meanwhile, take root on the open-air terrace or in the garden pavilion.
Gliding through the crystal waters of Lake Norman, Queen's Landing offers sightseeing and catered dinner expeditions on its two steadfast vessels—the 90-foot yacht Lady of the Lake and the Catawba Queen, an old-fashioned paddle boat. Trips during the autumn provide stunning views of changing foliage, whereas cruises at other times of the year supply a buoyant venue for holiday parties or tax audits. When in season, you can inquire about the business’ partnerships with other dining and entertainment spots such as Pirate Land Miniature Golf and Jack’s Lakeside Grill.
Chefs at Joey’s Fine Food & Spirits draw inspiration from a number of regional cuisines to prepare fish in a wide variety of flavors and aromas. Here you can taste everything from sesame-encrusted ahi tuna to Cajun-style sautéed shrimp and grits, or try Red Stripe beer-battered pollock fillets. In addition to the ocean fare, the chefs also grill angus beef rib-eye steaks, hand-pattied burgers, and toss salads with candied pecans and goat cheese. Joey’s clientele especially like the chicken wings, tossed in 1 of 15 sauces, including teriyaki, honey habanero, and spicy garlic. In addition to karaoke and trivia nights, Joey’s has multiple televisions that make it an enjoyable setting for watching football, college basketball, or professional food-fight tournaments.