Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rock, Blues, and Beer Gardens

A couple of weeks ago, M and I drove up to Charlotte to see Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at the Fillmore.  If you've never heard GPN, I suggest you check them out.  The show was awesome - excellent music, excellent vibe, and excellent crowd.  But since this is a food blog and not a music blog, we'll move on.

I think the Fillmore is a great place to see a show.  Partially because the venue itself is really nice, but also because of the surrounding area.  The Fillmore is part of the North Carolina Music Factory.  There are a handful of venues, both inside and out, clubs, and restaurants.  And - this might be the best part - FREE parking.  Right?!?!?  When was the last time you had free parking for a show?

At any rate, the restaurants were what interested me.  M and I met up with a few friends of ours who live in Charlotte (and who were kind enough to let us spend the weekend) for dinner before the show.  Since we were a little pressed for time, we decided to hit one of the restaurants near the Fillmore.  K, our resident Charlotte tour guide, took us to VBGB, a Beer Hall and Garden.

M and I placed our orders after checking out the menu. Then we wandered outside to hang out and sample the beer that K had picked out for us.  Both of us had the Foothills Oktoberfest, which was spectacular.  Nice choice by K right there.  We sipped our beers and caught up with friends while sitting outside at a wooden picnic table.  I loved the atmosphere of this place.  Very cool, very laid back.

After a bit of a wait, our food arrived.  M kept it simple and ordered a cheeseburger with a side of shepherd's salad.  It was a pretty good sized meal.  M said the burger was tasty, but the star of the show was definitely the salad.  The salad was simple - just tomatoes, cucumbers, and dill in a red wine vinaigrette.  But I have to agree with her.  It was awesome.  I was a little jealous that I hadn't ordered it.

Definitely a good sized meal.
And a close up of the salad.  Looks like there were some red onions in there as well.
I figured, since we were at a beer garden, I should probably stick to good, traditional beer garden fare.  So I ordered the chicken, spinach, and feta brat with a side of onion rings.  I love onion rings, but never seem to remember to order them when I go out.  They were a great complement to the brat, so it worked out well.  The brat was perfectly cooked, and the tang of the feta mixed with the spinach made for some great flavor.  The onion rings were crispy and gigantic.  I'd order this meal again in a heartbeat.  Although I may also add the shepherd's salad.  Not because I needed more food, but because it was so good.

The chicken sausage was a nice alternative to pork.
I wish we had had more time to spend at VBGB before the show.  As it was, we ended up back there for a couple of more drinks after the show ended, which was a great way to cap off the evening.  Bottom line?  If you're looking for a quick bite to eat and a great beer selection, pop into VBGB.  I'll probably head that way again the next time that I hit a show at the Fillmore.

Final Rating

You can find VBGB on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web

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