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Keeping it real since 1800

Seven things to do in Matthews before you die.



53. Marvel at new life at Renfrow's Hardware.

The old-timey Renfrow Hardware has been a part of the Main Street landscape for 107 years. Opened by gold mining engineer Jefferson "Captain" Renfrow, the store is now known for its extensive organic gardening supplies. In the winter time, owner David Blackley (a family friend of the Renfrows who took ownership in 1984) fires up the iron pot-bellied stove and roasts local peanuts for a soul-warming snack. In the springtime, Renfrow's is the place to be for an annual dose of cute: The store receives an influx of baby chicks for sale. Homesteaders and onlookers alike can stop in for a peep. 188 N. Trade St. 704-847-4088. www.renfrowhardware.com.

54. Ring in local food at the Matthews Community Farmers' Market.

Every Saturday, the market bell rings at 8 a.m. to signify the start of this hyperlocal "growers only" market. Chefs, local citizens and locavores flood the popular market to score produce grown within 50 miles of the square. Don't miss the incredible lineup of chefs who bring mad skills to market to demo the endless possibilities for farmers market groceries and your plate. www.matthewsfarmersmarket.com.

55. Pay homage to the gods of craft beer at the Carolina Beer Temple.

Located on Matthews Station Street, the "restaurant row" of Matthews, the Carolina Beer Temple boasts rotating taps that change almost daily, featuring some of the best North Carolina brews as well as a hearty selection of Belgian ales. Though the place doesn't serve its own food, it allows many of the eateries to deliver to the bar. Our recommendation? Get yourself a pint and then order a giant s'more crepe filled with marshmallows, chocolate chunks and crumbled graham crackers from the Royal Creperie next door. Beer and crepes, the answer to your drunken prayers. 131 Matthews Station St. #1C. 704-847-2337. www.carolinabeertemple.net.

56. Uncover a secret Greek grocery store by visiting Minos Imported Foods.

In a nondescript warehouse off Monroe Road, this tiny Greek grocery — dubbed "secret" by historian Tom Hanchett of the Levine Museum of the New South — sells incredible blocks of briny sheep's milk feta, aged in barrels direct from Greece, and salty, cured olives for those seeking real-deal Greek delicacies at nearly wholesale prices. The family-owned store sells wholesale to Greek restaurants and clients across the Carolinas, but decided to include a retail selection (cash only) to walk-in customers, because why not? Lucky us. Inside, discover Greek and Mediterranean imports from olive oil to pomegranate molasses, but the best finds by far are its incredible selections of cheeses and Greek olives. 11016 Monroe Road. 704-841-2808.

57. Discover the buried treasure of Korean food at Pepero.

Another treasure along Monroe Road is a tiny Korean grocery with a restaurant hidden inside. The sign for Pepero is easy to miss at first pass unless you can read Korean lettering. Try the bibimbap, a mixed rice bowl of seasoned beef and vegetables, along with a generous assortment of banchan, side dishes like kimchi and fresh bean sprouts, to accompany your meal. 10920 Monroe Road. 704-845-2107.

58. Gorge on bolinhos at Tropical Cafe and Bakery.

This Brazilian bakery serves fresh-baked breads for takeout and an assortment of fruity, custardy pastries and cakes. Head there during lunch for a decadent fritter stuffed with chicken and corn called a bolinho. The perfectly round orbs, with their crisp exterior and piping hot insides of sweet corn kernels and shredded chicken, make for a complete meal. Grab a fresh guava juice and call it a day. 11100 E. Monroe Road. 704-846-7654. www.tropicalbakerync.com.

59. Set trip over pork styles at Moe's Original Bar B Que.

Much is made of the Lexington and Eastern styles of N.C. barbecue, but Moe's shakes it up with the kickier Alabama-style rib. Owners Brian and Janeen's "Southern soul food revival" includes smoking all meats fresh, daily and on site, and plating them up with eight classic side dishes. Be there when the refreshingly spicy collard greens make an appearance as the daily special. Try the ribs and baked beans, natch, but venture beyond: vegetarians (and the simply curious) should sample the smoked tofu, which is both surprisingly good and, in a place like this, sadly pointless. If you've never gone beyond vinegar-based pulled pork, you're about to enter a whole new world. 111 Matthews Station St. 704-814-6637. www.moesoriginalbbq.com. (Emiene Wright)

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