Journal a Day June 20-24: Mama’s Birthday


My dear Mama’s 78th birthday was June 21. I traveled to Belmont to  be a with her and my daddy and the rest of my family. It was a particularly joyful reunion, as last time we were all together, we were navigating a health crisis. We are so glad our MAMA is still around to see her 78th  birthday

We celebrated at the newly opened Nellies Southern Kitchen in our little town of Belmont. The remarkable Jonas family opened the restaurant as a nod to their hometown and their mom, grandma and great grandma, Nellie.

We had an excellent dinner. Nellies biscuits were light and buttery and served in a bread bucket instead of a basket. The Pimento Cheese with crostini was divine. We were happy to hear these and other Nellies treats will be available for take out along with pastries and other breakfast fare when Nellies opens their morning service.

The food was simple, elegant and unabashedly southern! Homemade mac and cheese was served in an individual size iron skillet. Green bean casserole was served in another individual skillet. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, drunkin collards, barbecue, and shrimp and grits were beautifully served and delicious.


The serving plates were gorgeous, the glasses, napkins, silverware all beautifully designed but so distinctly southern grandma’s kitchen. Nellies decore is stunning.  A massive cotton bole, metal and glass, hung over the bar and the space featured huge paintings of southern landscapes. The chandeliers are white and showcase thebirds of North Carolina.An entire wall is dedicated to Nellie, and features a giant painting of her, replete with an iron skillet and spoons hanging from her waist, cotton in her dark hair, and a hound dog at her feet.


And the MUSIC! The house band is phenomenal and waiters and waitresses routinely took the stage to sing. Butch and the band blasted out beach music, old gospel tunes, new country songs and greatest hits. We ate, we drank sweet tea, we danced and celebrated the joy of being together.

A restaurant can have a great chef, a great menu, a lovely setting, but without heart and soul it is nothing. Nellies Southern Kitchen has the sweetest atmosphere. Everyone is happy to be there. And that sweet spirit and warm love is palpable. It is evident Nellies Southern Kitchen has a perfect combination of downhome southern elegance, style, food, music, spirit, and soul!




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