The much anticipated second concept from the whiz-bang group at MAP Management (the team behind 5Church in uptown) recently opened in a renovated space off South Boulevard to much fanfare. Twitter feeds sang the praises of the casual chic American concept and hungry scenesters scrambled to be one of the first to Instagram their Farmhouse Lemonade and sriracha ketchup-topped meatloaf to the masses.
The space, designed by the “M” in MAP Management, Mills Howell, and his colleagues at Reaching Quiet Design pays homage to American Gothic, the iconic 20th century American painting by artist Grant Wood. Elements of the painting, which pictures a long faced couple (inspired by the artist’s sister, Nan and his family dentist, Dr. Byron) posing with a pitchfork in front of a white house and red barn, inform the family-friendly concept.
A glass door, aptly fitted with pitchfork and shovel door handles, is the portal into the amber-lit interior. A mix of wood and metals intermingle with industrial lighting, tin ceiling tiles, schoolhouse chairs and wooden tables.
Casually dressed servers in chambray shirts and black converse enthusiastically buzz around the dining room and deliver complimentary baskets of popcorn seasoned with cayenne pepper and sea salt. Guests can choose from 15 handcrafted libations including sophisticated stiff ones like the Southend Gin (Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germaine, muddled mint and lemon, house made cilantro simple syrup) or the ladylike Rosemary Bellini (prosecco, fresh peach puree infused with schnapps, house made rosemary simple syrup).
The menu is uncomplicated, boasting American comfort food classics elevated by the tattooed tag team of Executive Chef Jamie Lynch and Chef de Cuisine Mark Jacksina. Start with the peppedew poppers stuffed with aged cheddar cheese and fried to crunchy nirvana. Comforting entrees make up the straightforward menu. The braised pork shoulder (listed simply as Pork on the menu), is the perfect winter dish- fork tender and falling apart, it is nestled atop a generous portion of well-loved baked beans and finished with a sprinkling of garlic herb bread crumbs, the textural knockout which takes this dish from good to great.
Vegetarians can choose from the crispy beet burger or grilled Portabello mushroom stuffed with quinoa while children are sated with favorites like spaghetti and meatballs or mac n’ cheese. After dinner, put the kids to bed and return for late night cocktails until 2 a.m. and, in a few weeks, stop in for breakfast and lunch. With all its shiny comfort and fashionable familiarity, Nan & Byron’s is destined to become a Charlotte classic.