Cassie Parsons, whose career has jumped from raising pigs in Denver, N.C., to running a farm-to-table restaurant in Lincolnton, is adding a new project to her list: Executive Chef of Rivermen Brewing and Cafe in Belmont.
Rivermen owner Pat Brennan is moving his brewery from a brick warehouse complex near the Catawba River marina in Belmont to a bigger space in the former WM Hall & Sons mill building, 52 Ervin St. in downtown Belmont, near the String Bean and the new Nellie’s Southern Kitchen.
Brennan says the new space will include a restaurant run by Parsons. Meanwhile, Parsons will continue to own Harvest Food Grille in Lincolnton with another chef at the helm.
Parsons’ culinary path in the Charlotte area has been a twisting one. A passionate advocate for locally raised food who was a chef earlier in her life, she started Grateful Growers Farm with partner Natalie Veres, one of the first farms in the area to focus on raising heirloom-breed livestock for food. While Veres continues to run the farm, Parsons returned to cooking several years ago, opening the first Harvest Moon Grille at the Dunhill Hotel in uptown Charlotte. After parting with the Dunhill, she opened a new version of the Harvest Moon in Lincolnton.
Calling Parsons “a phenomenon of local cooking,” Brennan says the new restaurant will feature “local, fresh, clean” ingredients with a global twist. The dining room will be communal style with shared tables. It will seat 110 inside and 100 outside on a patio, although he says it is zoned to seat up to 400 people.
“We’re going to stress the local supply chain a little,” Brennan joked.
The brewery tanks will share space with the dining room, and the kitchen will be open to view.
Brennan expects the brewery and restaurant to be open by August, although he admits that’s working very fast.
“I’ve essentially lost my mind,” he jokes.