Seven stops to make before dinner at Kindred in Davidson

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An afternoon trip to Davidson has been on my schedule ever since Kindred was named the seventh best new restaurant in America by “Bon Appetit.”

My date and I drove the 28 minutes up I-77 and parallel parked on Davidson’s Main Street at 4:30 p.m. on a sleepy Saturday with no plan but our 7 p.m. dinner reservation.

It had been gray for days, so we walked passed a quiet Kindred and right toward Summit Coffee. Kim Lawson wrote about this frothy coffee sanctuary over the summer, so it was a must.

(1) En route, we stopped outside the post office to stare at this sculpture. This piece of public art, “A Bouquet for Davidson,” was created by Andrew Dunhill in 2009. No climbing allowed.

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(2) Once inside Summit, we ordered a hot almond milk mocha and an espresso and took in the mismatched shuffle of adults and students hunched over coffee cups and books and computers in the midst of a wine rack, wall paintings and quotations like “It’s all good.”

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We looked longingly at the drizzle-stained back patio a little too long before remembering that a narrow stairwell near the front door leads to a second-floor seating area. A good place to get cozy.IMG_3178

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(3) By 5 p.m., we were back on Main Street for our aimless adventure. We veered left at the fork in the road and walked along South Street, taking in the houses. Davidson (population 11,750) was clearly made for patios and porches. And a community garden bursting with basil, banana peppers and thyme.

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(4) Ambling back up South Street and back to Main, we passed through a Book Garden on the sidewalk leading to the local library. Quotations lined the walls from Dr. Seuss, Frederick Douglass and other beacons of inspiration.

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr. Seuss

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(5) Main Street Books, where we wanted to browse and sit back, was closed, but the Village Store, with its bright chairs and checkerboard outside, was not. This spot feels like a daydreamy portal for gifts, with every trinket imaginable from beach season to Christmas.

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(6) Shop-hopping aside, it’s impossible to come here for Kindred without strolling the pasture-like lawn across the way. The red-brick buildings of Davidson College sprawl on the grass, which is also sprinkled with Adirondack chairs and pieces of art.

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(7) When the mist became too much and an hour stood between our stomachs and our dinner plates, The Pickled Peach beckoned, with its triangle of wine bottles and its heated, covered patio.

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And though its light-strung patio turned out to be empty on this rainy day, the energy was electric inside Kindred. People surged in for reservations from 7 p.m. onward, filling the main bar area with their chatter over cocktails and the flutter of menus over tables. Suddenly, this was the most hopping spot on Main Street.

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We filled our tiny table with courses of milk bread and cocktails, shishito peppers and charcoal-grilled broccoli and gnocchi, squash soup and mussels, and apple crumble with buttermilk ice cream.

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It’s true that the Main Street sidewalk held few other souls that Saturday, but just beyond the walls of Kindred, somewhere within the throng of unfamiliar faces, we found abundance.


Katie Toussaint

Katie Toussaint would order squash soup from Kindred again in a heartbeat. As long as there was milk bread to sop it up. When she is not eating, Katie edits for CharlotteFive and community news at the Charlotte Observer. Follow her on  Twitter @katietoussaint.

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