In Cleveland County, we care about supporting our local businesses and farmers—a tradition made easy and enjoyable by the prevalence of farmers’ markets, local eateries and breweries like the Foothills Farmers’ Market, Newgrass Brewing Company and the award-winning Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge . Our local farmers’ specialty grains are fueling the booming craft brewing industries and malting companies in Asheville and Charlotte—not to mention our own growing craft beverage scene—and we’re proud to serve some of the best local barbeque in the South. Read on to learn more about how we satisfy our cravings in Cleveland County.
Cleveland County takes its farmers’ markets and local ingredients seriously. Our farmers take pride in producing the very best fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs and value-added foods that make farm-to-table cooking easy and affordable.
The popular Foothills Farmers’ Market in Shelby offers fresh produce and live music every Saturday from April through November. The Norman Farm Market, held on the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, was voted in the top 20 mid-level farmers markets in the nation in 2012.
Other favorites for farm-fresh produce and locally made products include Knob Creek Orchard and Creamery, known for its homemade ice cream, Guernsey Girl Creamery, which produces artisan-quality cheese, butter and ice cream from award-winning Golden Guernsey cows, Elliott Family Farm, a fourth-generation family farm dedicated to preserving the art of molasses making, and McMurry Farms & Store, which sells fresh fruits and vegetables and famous home-style livermush, among other goodies.
Cleveland County is proud to be home to the Best BBQ Spot in America: the award-winning Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, voted #1 in the nation by more than 250,000 Thrillist readers. But depending on who you ask, another local barbeque joint should have taken the title. Alston Bridges Barbeque and Red Bridges Barbeque Lodge are the center of a hotly debated local barbeque war in Cleveland County. So, try them both—you may be asked where your loyalties lie.
Other famous local spots include Shelby Café, a fixture on Lafayette Street since 1922 recently featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” for its signature livermush; The Depot, a popular spot for home-style, Southern cooking, located in Lattimore’s historic train depot; and The Local Market, a farm-to-table restaurant in Fallston serving decadent sandwiches made with delicious local ingredients and cold craft beer.
Cleveland County’s culinary offerings continue to expand. The String Bean, a popular restaurant located just outside of Charlotte, is opening its second location in Uptown Shelby. These new venues join Ni Fen Kitchen, Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille, Joe’s Place, Mi Pueblito and Uptown Sweets & Treats, among other hotspots for local and international fare, in Shelby’s growing restaurant scene.
Nothing pairs with a glass of wine or craft beer quite like live music — and Cleveland County is the place to enjoy both. The latest addition to our growing craft beverage scene is Newgrass Brewing Company, a local brewer that draws inspiration from Shelby’s music heritage. Newgrass specializes in hand-crafted, small-batch beers brewed with ingredients from North Carolina and around the world. The Shelby venue features a stage for live music, an outdoor beer garden and events like “Picking Around Pints,” a weekly jam session for local bluegrass musicians.
Cleveland County is also home to two wineries — Owl’s Eye Vineyard & Winery and Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard and Winery — providing beautiful settings for wine tastings, special occasions and outdoor events. Shelby’s Dragonfly Wine Market offers free beer and wine tastings, often paired with live music.
Our restaurants and shops further contribute to the local craft beverage scene in Cleveland County. J Bird’s Deli and Ales features numerous bottled craft brews and Ni Fen Kitchen serves local craft beers on draft.
For even more opportunities to try specialty beverages, visit Asheville and Charlotte’s craft brewing and malting companies, some of which use specialty grains grown by farmers right here in Cleveland County.