North Carolina boasts its fair share of Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence, but there's never been one awarded to a restaurant in Gaston County until The String Bean Fresh Market & Deli in Belmont received the honor this month.
Gaston County may not have much to offer in the way of culinary prestige, but the String Bean is a delicious place to start. The restaurant offers about 300 types of wine from Europe, South Africa, Australia and the U.S. Owner Chad Hutcheson said they plan to add 100 more within the next year. And, in addition to an amazing wine selection, the restaurant boasts a large variety of craft beers, an on-site butcher shop, fresh seafood flown in daily and a menu utilizing fresh local ingredients.
Hutcheson announced The String Bean had received the Award of Excellence Monday night during a VIP wine tasting at the restaurant where guests were treated to an array of wines from around the world, poured by experts eager to share the history of each one.
As he thanked his staff and customers, he also spoke about the importance of supporting local businesses, pointing out that only 21 restaurants in the Charlotte region had received the distinction this year, and out of those 21, only six are independently owned.
Hutcheson brought the event to a close by sharing how he came up with the name for The String Bean. It was inspired by memories of his family members sitting around and talking while stringing beans from their garden. He said he wanted to build a place where families and the community could come together and share that same kind of worry-free togetherness he took for granted as a child.
Judging by the outpouring of community support on this night and the friendly, positive vibe shared by employees and patrons alike, I'd say he has achieved his goal.