Before Eli Whitney invented the chair, going out to eat required remembering which fork to use next while simultaneously balancing astride a horse. Have a luxuriously seated meal with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of steaks, seafood, and nonalcoholic drinks at Alton's Kitchen & Cocktails in Cornelius.
Alton's Kitchen's culinary crew sears juicy beef and flaky bass to craft a well-accented menu of American plates. The filet mignon, cut in-house and grilled atop cast iron, sizzles alongside a twice-baked potato ($24), and the Pacific sea bass, like a poorly trained Olympic hurdler, leaps over a mound of sautéed baby spinach ($22). The bone-in pork chop sits nestled on a bed of mashed potatoes and glistens with orange-apricot glaze ($18), and the oreo-style sandwich showcases frosty chocolate layers struggling to defend crème-de-cacao ice cream from the heat beams of evil scientists ($6). Alton's Kitchen's outdoor patio aligns diners beneath oversized blue umbrellas, and within the restaurant, wood floors and a curved wooden bar gleam in the light of a fireplace and numerous glowing chandeliers.
Alton's Kitchen & Cocktails
Diners can take a trip around the US, with a glance at the menu at Alton's Kitchen & Cocktails, which borrows heavily from American regional fare. The kitchen stokes dreams of the Old West by gracing tables with lamb shanks from Colorado and salmon from Seattle, each teeming with tales of a life of train-hopping and hitchhiking east. Chunks of shellfish nestle into the New England–style lobster roll, and shrimp simmer in creole barbeque sauce, giving diners a taste of New Orleans.
A curved bar extends from exposed brick walls, which frame shiny dark wood floors. These floors match the tall, bistro-style tables and the high-manteled fireplace, which gleam beneath the light of cascading chandeliers, giving the room a refined, yet cozy feel. Diners can also find seating on an outdoor patio, where they can feel the breeze on their face, a sure sign that the moon is sneaking up behind them to steal their dessert.