Hickory, North Carolina’s Top Restaurants

The Hickory Metro restaurant landscape is rich in long-tenured offerings, but creative culinary prospectors regularly mine new gems for the region’s diners. Unique new additions to Hickory’s menu since 2015 breathe life into abandoned spaces to serve up choices for restaurant-goers of all tastes and budgets.


Fourk rekindled a stylish restaurant inside a site centrally located near neighborhoods surrounding Hickory’s downtown and Viewmont areas. Unexpected ingredients and combinations make the menu’s familiar American fare enticingly new. Portions are ample – entrees large enough to share on date night – and prices are comparable to Hickory’s other “upscale” options. Booths await romantic diners or business-minded professionals, and there’s enough space for group functions. A 10-foot tall water feature secludes a bar area where tenders earn praise for their advice on creative specialty drinks. Outdoor patio space welcomes during warm weather months, especially on “Mondays with a twist” when food and appetizer specials make the restaurant a destination for the after-work crowd. The restaurant’s position among Hickory’s locally owned restaurant fold makes it a destination worth exploring. Fourk’s attention to detail, fresh flavorful menu offerings and friendly staff make it a place you’ll visit again.

Fourk is located at 1410 4th Street Drive NW in Hickory.

The Fresh Depot

Situated in downtown Hickory’s busy Union Square, The Fresh Depot relies on fresh and organic ingredients often sourced as locally as the city’s nearby farmer’s market. Soups, salads and sandwiches make this gastropub an affordable new downtown lunch option during the daily mid-day schedule. For the evening hours, a dinner menu is loaded with modestly priced entrees not found in neighboring dining options, including bison dogs, elk burgers and other meat and vegetable selections. An on-site bakery overflows with fresh-baked breads and rolls, and the dessert cooler is filled with cakes and cupcakes alongside ever-present saucer-sized cinnamon rolls. Stop in and pick-up a fresh-baked surprise from the front-of the-house that’s usually open even between lunch and dinner schedules. Expect to find the owner and executive chef on-site, often coaching new culinary school graduates forging food service careers. Nestled inside the home of many failed restaurants, The Food Depot’s reliance on local produce – for both menu and staff – make it a venture that earns the diner support needed to give it a permanent place in downtown Hickory.

The Fresh Depot is located at 220 Union Square.

House of Nom Nom

House of Nom Nom replaces an abandoned sandwich shop with one-of-a-kind Asian fusion cuisine that combines American favorites with Pacific Rim flavors. The menu of burgers, wings, sandwiches and salads is quickly prepared while diners wait in the small dining room or on the patio. Unique ingredients made on site, such as Korean Kimchi, guarantee that lunches and dinners are always fresh. Try a bubble tea smoothie – a Nom Nom hallmark that combines fruit smoothies with fruit jelly flavor balls. Centrally located in Hickory’s largest shopping district, House of Nom Nom offers both a perfect respite from the crowded mall and a great dinner choice ahead of movie night at the nearby theater. Family owned and operated, Nom Nom’s friendly staff works hard to inspire first-time visitors to become regular guests in the house. Darken the doorway once and diners quickly discover why a growing Hickory fan base loves to call Nom Nom home.

House of Nom Nom is located at 2101 Catawba Valley Blvd SE.

Kickback Jack’s

Wholesale renovations to a site in Hickory’s restaurant row and commercial retail district created the city’s newest sports bar and grill. Situated near I-40, Kickback Jack’s is a convenient stop for passing motorists and a popular choice for regional residents. With a menu standard to the bar and grill restaurant scene, Kickback Jack’s doesn’t aim for surprises, and affordably priced familiar favorites helps it score crowds – especially on the weekends. The bar boasts an enormous craft and domestic beer selection, as well as daily drink specials, and a large heated patio allows outdoor fun all year. Stop in on Wednesday night to show off your karaoke skills. High-definition TVs spreading wall-to-wall and sports memorabilia hanging from the rafters make this a great environment for the big game, while the restaurant’s quick service of universal menu items means it is a safe bet for any lunch or dinner.

Kickback Jack’s is located at 1187 Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd SE.

American Honor Ale House & Brewery

One of Hickory’s growing community of beer pubs, American Honor Ale House is home to a Blowing Rock Brewing Co. outpost that produces beer for on-site sale and distribution around the region. The newest addition to a project that converted a 1930s mill into a dining, event and retail venue, American Honor’s character mirrors the industrial spirit of nearby manufacturing operations. Meanwhile, appetizers like deviled eggs, boiled peanuts and pimento cheese hint at the Southern soul that steeps the pub’s sandwiches, soups and other offerings. Of course, there’s craft beer, including rotating selections both from the brewery and outside providers. A schedule of regular concerts ongoing at The Crossing event space upstairs and music performed in the covered patio space outside on Tuesday and Sunday evenings, enhance the appeal of American Honor. Craft beer, good food and live music are a recipe that makes this a destination.

American Honor Ale House and Brewery is located at 883 Highland Ave. SE.

Sacramento’s Top Restaurants

In Sacramento, remodeled 19th century firehouses are some of the best places to grab a meal. However, in 2015, 32 new restaurants were opened or began construction in Sacramento, so if you are the type of restaurant patron who enjoys new experiences, it’s time to order your palette-cleansing beverage of choice and start sampling. For most of these restaurants, it is recommended to call and make a reservation in advance.

Empress Tavern 1013 K St Sac, CA 95814 916.662.7694 empresstavern.com
Empress Tavern is the new restaurant located inside The Crest Theater. It has one of the highest ratings of all the new restaurants reviewed by The Sacramento Bee. Empress is also receiving raves on sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor praising its knowledgeable and charming staff. Empress offers what is being called a “meat-centric” menu and has an extensive assortment of rare beer brews.

Fish Face 1104 R St Sac, CA 95811 916.706.0605 fishfacepokebar.com
Sac News & Review gives Fish Face four 1/2 out of five stars. Foodies who enjoy the latest trends or who are tired of the bad service at Mikuni, may wish to try the fish poke style of cuisine that originally began in Hawaii. Fish Face is mainly a to-go bar. A customer chooses a salad size, selects their desired type of fish, and then adds one of the sauces.

Brasserie Capitale 1201 K St Sac, CA 95814 916.329.8033 brasseriecapitale.com
Brasserie Capitale is receiving pretty decent reviews from the media critics and from the clients online as well. The Sacramento Bee notes the intricate delicacy of the desert selections, detailing the delicious, caramelized sweetness of the dessert they ordered, so delicious that even the extended wait time melted away in their mouths.

Iron Horse Tavern 1800 15th St Suite B Sac, CA 95811 916.448.4488 ironhorsetavern.net
Iron Horse Tavern is one of the latest additions to the booming R St. corridor. The Sac News & Review states that Iron Horse Tavern is a little too much like TGIF, but the restaurant is earning enthusiastic reviews from clients for its innovative menu selections, like Asian Style Street Tacos, its friendly service, larger-size portions, and reasonable prices.

Cielito Lindo 3672 J St Sac, CA 95816 916.736.2506 cielitolindo.us
Everybody likes a good comeback/rebuild story. Cielito Lindo is now more popular than ever, since its reopening after the fire that destroyed its previous location last year. The Sac News & Review advises not to let the casual atmosphere distract from the fine dining experience of the cuisine. The Sacramento Bee gives Cielito three stars for food and praises the outstanding service.

Unique Restaurants in Amsterdam

One of the great things about exploring a new city is the number of different restaurants there are to try. Amsterdam is no exception. It is a city packed full of great eats. If the restaurant environment is as important as the food itself, look no further than these five unique restaurants to experience in Amsterdam.

Restaurant De Kas

What was once home to the American Municipal Nursery has been transformed into one of the city’s best restaurants. De Kas restaurant and nursery are housed in a set of greenhouses that date back to 1926. Believing that food is best served fresh, all of the herbs and vegetables used in the restaurant’s dishes are grown on site, and the remainder of the ingredients are locally sourced.

The great thing about dining at De Kas is that you never know what you’re going to get. The restaurant’s menu changes daily, built upon that day’s harvest. Depending on the weather, guests have the option to enjoy their meal in the breathtaking dining room or outside next to the herb garden.

REM Eiland

This restaurant may look like a sea rig, but that’s because it’s exactly what it was built for. The structure was building in the 1960s as a pirate radio and TV broadcast station but was shut down by the REM law (which the restaurant was named after) in 1964. Today, it has been converted to one of the most unique restaurants in the city.

Located 22 meters above the River IJ, REM Eiland invites guests to experience a meal with a view. In the warmer months, guests can dine and enjoy the breeze on the rooftop terrace that was once a helicopter landing pad. In the cooler months, guests can still enjoy the view, but from the warmth and comfort of rigs dining hall. Not surprisingly, seats at REM Eiland fill quickly, so to ensure a seat with the best view reservations are recommended.


Would you be comfortable eating a dish without seeing it first? For the adventurous foodies, Ctaste should be high on your list of dining experiences in Amsterdam. Ctaste specializes in a new restaurant trend called ‘dining in the dark’.

What makes Ctaste unique, however, is not simply that you’re eating your meal in the dark; all of the restaurant’s servers are blind or visually impaired. Upon arriving at the restaurant, your party will choose their dishes in a lighted lounge area, before being led to the darkened dining room. Your server is specially trained to serve in the dark and is there to guide you through the evening and make sure that you, and your party, enjoy a meal that you won’t forget. If you’re looking for a dining experience that will heighten your senses, book your table at Ctaste today.

Canal Dinner Cruises

A canal dinner cruise is the best way to see the magical lights of Amsterdam. With a canal dinner cruise, you can enjoy a fine dining experience while slowly making your way through the city’s numerous canals. Lasting about 2.5 hours, your cruise begins with a celebratory glass of sparkling wine after which you will be served a 4-course meal prepared right in front of you by the in-house chef.

A dinner cruise isn’t just about the food, though. As you make your way past some of the city’s landmarks, the cruise tour guide will show pictures and explain the history behind what you’re seeing. For those not interested in a traditional walking tour, a canal dinner cruise offers a delicious and relaxing alternative.


Once a retired tram hall, De Foodhallen as reopened to the public in the form of a food hall. De Foodhallen is the Netherlands first indoor food market where you can enjoy food and drinks from numerous vendors all under one roof.

De Foodhallen is the perfect place to go if your party can’t decide on the type of food they want. With everything from burgers to seafood to traditional Dutch food, De Foodhallen offers something for every taste. Even if you just come for drinks, there are dedicated wine, beer, and spirit vendors there that are guaranteed to help you quench your thirst. Outside of the hall, you can also shop the stores of the hall’s permanent vendors or visit the weekend market where local artisans come and set up shop.

A warning to potential diners: After eating your way through this list of unique Amsterdam restaurants, you may never be happy with a traditional sit-down restaurant again!