Thirteen restaurants and food businesses from across the state have been selected to participate in the first-ever “Dig into Local” Best Menu NC contest. The competition highlights businesses that feature locally sourced ingredients on their menus.
“The farm-to-table movement has expanded significantly in the past few years to include restaurants and entrepreneurial companies of all sizes,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “In addition to 11 restaurants, the list of participating businesses also includes two companies that deliver pre-packaged meals.”
Those two companies, modPALEO and Zone 7 Foods, both of Charlotte, will join a lineup of restaurants to see which establishment has a menu that best reflects the bounty and diversity of products available in North Carolina.
Menus will be judged on several criteria, including: clearly identifying N.C. agricultural products, farms and manufacturers; highlighting seasonal produce; identifying items with unique regional connections; offering N.C. wine, beer and spirit selections on the menu; including multiple courses featuring N.C. ingredients; and offering a good balance of N.C. products across protein, grain and produce categories.
The following establishments have been selected to compete in the contest:
- Artisan Restaurant, Charlotte
- Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe, Nags Head
- Bonterra Dining & Wine Room, Charlotte
- Chestnut Grille, Blowing Rock
- Gravy Restaurant, Raleigh
- Harvest Moon Grille, Lincolnton
- Heirloom Restaurant, Charlotte
- Heritage Food & Drink, Waxhaw
- Madison’s Restaurant, Highlands
- modPALEO, Charlotte
- Over Yonder, Valle Crucis
- Sitti, Raleigh
- Zone 7 Foods, Charlotte
“We encourage consumers to visit these and other restaurants that source agricultural products from North Carolina,” Troxler said. “If restaurants don’t make it clear on their menus, consumers should ask. They may be pleasantly surprised to see where the food on their plate comes from.”
Judges will visit each location between June and September. The top 10 menus will be recognized in October, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top five restaurants.
The “Dig into Local” Best Menu NC contest is part of an expanding array of foodservice programs offered by the department through its Got to Be NC and Savor NC marketing programs. More information about the contest is available at www.gottobenc.com/DigIntoLocal.