We were visiting friends in Winston-Salem and had heard fantastic things. We drove over to Hickory specifically to eat at Highland Avenue. The space is an old textile mill that has been converted into restaurant and retail space, and they did an excellent job. It's very architecturally interesting, with a mix of the old--windows, ceilings--and the new. As you walk in they've got a massive chalkboard listing all of the local farms that supply the restaurant, which was a nice touch. As we were seated, the server explained that they change the menu frequently, and that this was the first day of the new menu. Our group ordered some local beers (PBR on tap was also a favorite) and a couple of different wines by the glass, so we didn't really test out the capabilities of the bar, but the selection of beer and wine was good. We got a bunch of starters, including crab ravioli, scallops and a few salads. The bacon on the house salad was amazing! Super crispy. We also shared the chef's board which featured house-made pickles, house-made relishes and mustards, in-house cured meats, and local cheeses. It was outstanding. For entrees our group had steak, pork chops, and pork shoulder. We passed plates around and everything was really high quality and done right. We also shared house made brown-butter ice cream and some fruit-torte type desserts--all really good. At the end the chef came out and we talked with him for a while. He mentioned some of the in house meat-curing techniques. They dry age their bacon for four weeks to get it crispy. The pork is also heritage breed pigs from Virginia. You could really tell a lot of heart and soul is going into the food at Highland Avenue, and it was an exceptional meal.
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