BLT Eats: Lunch at Vine American Kitchen

Vine American Kitchen
13735 Conlan Circle

As the name suggests, the concept and menu for Vine American Kitchen is inspired by the food and drinks sourced directly from vines to be enjoyed in a communal open kitchen setting. Opened in December 2012 by seasoned restauranteur Bill Freeman, Vine American Kitchen is working to deliver fresh, local, in season and organic dishes to the customer. Local, sustainable fare offered in a warm, open setting in the busy Ballantyne Corporate Park area is a welcomed concept that should equal a recipe for success. As with any newly opened restaurant, Vine’s menu is evolving and being adjusted. On a recent visit, the server was kind enough to guide us away from several of the menu selections, because he felt they were not “quite there yet”. One of the highlights on the menu, as recommended by the server, is the Fried Green Tomatoes, they were perfectly crisp and not overseasoned or greasy. The other items we ordered, salads, were not particularly memorable. The salmon was thin and overcooked and the rotisserie chicken was not at all tender or juicy. However, is happy to welcome Vine American Kitchen to Ballantyne. We are rooting for the locally owned restaurants that are focused on delivering local food and supporting local farmers. We will definitely revisit Vine and look forward to growing with them.

Community House Road Improvement Project To Be Implemented In Phases

The Community House Road improvement project will be implemented in two phases. The decision was made to split the project due to immediate concerns surrounding the intersection of Ardrey Kell Road and Community House Road. Specifically, the concern involves pedestrian safety and traffic flow in the increasingly congested intersection. The first phase will begin soon and last approximately 9 months. Plans include the extension of sidewalks south of Community House Road and a designated left turn lane from Community House onto Ardrey Kell. The second phase applies to the planned roundabout at the intersection of Community House and Bryant Farms. Continually changing traffic patterns are forcing city planners to reconsider the existing plans to adjust for more volume in the area. Read more here.

The Ballantyne Breakfast Club Invites Community To Annual Public Priorities Meeting

As reported by Jessica Milicevic in The Charlotte Observer:

Charlotte residents have a chance to speak to public officials about the issues confronting the region.

The Ballantyne Breakfast Club will bring together elected officials, and police, school and transportation representatives for its annual Priorities Meeting.

This year’s meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge.

The location moved to the hotel, which will provide small rooms for discussion, something Ray Eschert, president of the Ballantyne Breakfast Club, believes will help the meeting run smoothly.

Another key element to this year’s meeting is the format change.

Instead of each official and employee taking turns discussing their priorities one at a time in front of a large crowd, each will have an individual table to talk about their particular issues.

“In the past, there have been folks who have gotten a hold of the mic and not put it down,” said Eschert. “By setting it up like a trade show, the public can discuss the issues that are important to them directly with the elected official.”

Eschert says this meeting could be one of the most popular yet, due in part to many contentious issues: the addition of an Uptown streetcar, the $125 million renovation of the Panthers stadium and the future of the Eastland Mall.

Representatives from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools also will be on hand to discuss changes such as the possibility of year-round schools.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will address the rise in crime.

And Charlotte Area Transit System and Charlotte Department of Transportation will discuss issues such as the extension of the light rail, bus routes, and road and bike lane improvements.

There also are several issues that affect the public at the county and state level, such as property tax valuation, voter identification, and economic growth.

Representatives will be there to speak with the public on an individual basis and answer questions.

Eschert said it’s vital for members of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to attend the meeting.

“There are going to be a lot of changes because of what the election brought us,” Eschert said. “It’s reached the point where we need to have a place where people can come and speak directly with someone who has some responsibility in these matters.”

District 7 City Council Member Warren Cooksey hopes the location of the meeting doesn’t deter people from across Charlotte.

“These are issues that affect us all, not just the people of south Charlotte,” Cooksey said. “If you pay taxes, or drive, or have kids who go to school in Mecklenburg County, then these issues affect you.”

At-Large Charlotte City Council Member Beth Pickering said she will be at the meeting and encourages the public to attend.

“The meeting is a rare opportunity for neighbors to have access to so many elected officials – city, county and state, as well as other civic leaders,” Pickering said. “As a council member, it’s a great way for me to hear what’s currently on the minds of neighbors. I guarantee that anyone who attends the meeting will walk away feeling more informed, more plugged into their community and more familiar with their elected and non-elected public officials.”

Read more here.

GO: Matthews Community Farmers’ Market

Matthews Farmers Market

Prolific farmers and organizers keep the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market, on North Trade Street in Historic Downtown Matthews, going year-round. Yes, even in winter. The Saturday winter market is only open a few hours from 8am-10am (through March 30), but still we are lucky to have access to locally grown cold weather crops, meats, and other farm products. Downtown Matthews is only a few short minutes from Ballantyne, let’s support our neighbors and local farmers!

For more information on the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market and for a sampling of offerings at the Market this weekend, click here.

Something For Everyone: Check Out Free Programs At Your Local Library

Local Library

Your Local Library:
South County Regional
5801 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
(704) 416-6600

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday: 10am – 8pm
Friday-Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 1pm – 5pm

The public libraries of Charlotte and Mecklenburg have endured several difficult years of budget constraints that have resulted in many libraries closing or reducing hours and staff. In Ballantyne, we are fortunate to have a regional library up the road that continues to offer 7 days of operation and a bountiful schedule of free programs and events for all ages. Click here for a full list of programs and events offered in the next 45 days. Program types include: Art/Photography, Books/Literature/Writing, Computer Skills/Technology, Ecology/Environment, Education Support, Gaming, Movies/Films, Parent/Caregiver/Teacher Education, Performance/Dance/Music, Sensory Programs and Storytime.

CMS Invites The Community To Particpate in Budget Survey


From CMS:

“Dear Parents, Staff and Community Members,

Last fall, the superintendent shared his 100-day report, “The Way Forward: Listening, learning, and the case for change,” based on information shared by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools community, including teachers, staff, parents and students. The report made a case for change, while providing a plan for how best to move forward.

It is important that everyone join in this critical conversation about how best to determine budget priorities for school year 2013-14 and beyond. We are at the beginning of the process to prioritize and develop a budget for the significant programs and initiatives outlined in the report. Changes in programs and initiatives require open and candid conversation about our priorities and how to allocate limited resources. CMS is committed to aligning the budget to the newly-outlined strategic goals of the district. We need your input. “

Survey questions include important topics such as school security and class sizes. Please click on this link go to “Budget Survey Community Input” and share your thoughts and opinions on how to improve our district.


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