• Charlie Leonard

Walk Down Main Street: Belmont's beautiful downtown makes for a perfect day out

It’s impossible to picture the growth of Gaston County without looking to the city of Belmont. Situated directly across the Catawba River from Mecklenburg County, and only 20 minutes from Uptown Charlotte, Belmont has almost doubled in size since the year 2000 due to intentional planning and its proximity to Charlotte’s rapid growing population. It’s an excellent location for people and businesses looking for a quieter alternative to Charlotte without sacrificing a high quality of life.

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

Belmont has always played the role of a naturally peaceful town throughout its history. Named “beautiful mountain” after nearby Crowders Mountain, Belmont thrived off a focus on the land. While cities like Gastonia and Charlotte grew larger during the textile revolution, Belmont was a much more agriculturally centered town. When the Stowesville Cotton Mill opened nearby in 1853, Belmont finally began a textile pivot to align with the rest of Gaston County. In 1871, the railroad that split downtown Belmont in half was built, which set the stage for the Belmont of today.

Chronicle Mill - Photo Courtesy John Clark, Gaston Gazette

Shortly after the railroad arrived, three major milestones occurred. The old Caldwell Plantation was donated to the Benedictine monks, transforming the location into what is now Belmont Abbey College. In 1895, the town of Belmont officially gained incorporation, leading to an official government structure. Finally, in 1901-1902, the Chronicle Mill–which will soon be redeveloped–became the first textile mill within the newly incorporated town’s city limits. The modern day Belmont had officially taken shape.


In the not so distant future of 2030, a new railway is set to be built. The LYNX Silver Line, a proposed light rail line operated by the Charlotte Area Transit System, has set its final westbound station in Belmont off Wilkinson Blvd, which could lead to even more growth and transformation.

Stowe Park - Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

Today, a mix of old and new business developments, a proximity to multiple nature areas and green spaces, and an overall high-rating in key data metrics have transformed Belmont into one of the trendiest places to live in the Charlotte area. At the heart of it all is Main Street, the vibrant epicenter of a “quiet town” with more than enough to say.


Shopping & Services


Belmont’s Main Street stretch is a retail haven full of great art, antiques spaces, and just generally cool places that give you the goods to live your lifestyle.


AR Workshop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

65 Glenway St.

Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday 10am.-2pm, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Wood painting and wine drinking converge at AR Workshop, one of Gaston County’s art spaces. Run by the designer duo of Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, the AR Workshop specializes in wood pallet painting classes and other DIY options, but you can also order pre-made pieces through their custom order form. Check their website for the most up-to-date information on workshops and events for adults and kids.


Ballard’s Barber Shop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

200 N. Main St.

Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.


In 1949, William Henry “Bill” Ballard opened Ballard’s Barber Shop in “East End” of Belmont, and they’ve been going strong ever since. The barber shop replicates the modern, small town vibe of Belmont while pursuing “all things dapper.” This means quality haircuts and high quality shaves that come with a hot towel, pre shave oil, and a hot lather with a cold towel to finish. Book your appointment to hang out, catch up, and start looking as dapper as you’ve ever been.


Belmont Yoga

Photo Courtesy of Belmont Yoga

37 Glenway St.

Hours TBD


Finding a wellness community is crucial for your mental and physical well-being, and Belmont Yoga is one of Gaston County’s newest wellness options. Belmont Yoga offers a wide variety of classes in multiple yoga specialties such as runners yoga, kids yoga, power flow, deep stretch, and more. Their store also sells yoga gear, CBD and wellness products and locally-made art and jewelry.


Catawba River Outfitters

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

6 N. Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.


If you’re looking to visit one of Belmont’s multiple green spaces and trails for some outdoor fun, look no further than Catawba River Outfitters. Whether you’re an outdoor novice or an experienced adventurer, Catawba River Outfitters has you covered with camping gear, clothing, hammocks, chairs, and other outdoor accessories. Stock up for your next outdoor excursion.


Jolie Boutique

Photo Courtesy of Jolie Boutique

33 N. Main St.

Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


Established in 2005, the Jolie Boutique is a female fashionista’s paradise with a rotating selection of women's clothing and accessories that are Instagram approved. Jolie Boutique offers free shipping on all orders over $100 and sales are featured on a regular basis.


Meraki Flower Shop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

35 N. Main St.

Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.


We all know that cool little shop that’s aesthetically pleasing and vibrant like a piece of art. Meraki Flower Shop fits that bill with a space filled with one of a kind floral arrangements hand curated by owner Erica Steppe. “Gift Good Vibes” with a Meraki arrangement for everyday moments, weddings, and all events.


The Mercantile Barber Co.

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

6 N. Main St.

Monday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesday 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.


For an “old school” barber shop experience, visit the Mercantile Barber Company located in the back of the former Belmont General Store building. Owner Jamie Price’s Mercantile Barber Company honors the heritage of Downtown Belmont while forging their own path as a place to get a quality haircut or shave.


Piccolo Antique Mall

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

134 Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.


Antique hunting is a timeless tradition that's equal parts fun and practical. At Piccolo Antique Mall, there's over 22,000 square feet of antique picking space to work with. Showcasing over 70 shops worth of art, furniture, records, books, and more, shopping for your next big find just got a lot easier.


South Main Cycles

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

4 N. Main St.

Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


South Main Cycles is the place to gear up before cruising down Belmont’s many trails and bike paths. The bike shop located in the old Piedmont & Northern Railway Depot offers quality bicycle sales and service and features some of the best bicycle brands like Giant, Pivot, and Santa Cruz. With regular discounts and passionate staff who are cyclists first, come get your personal cycling journey started today.


Surprise Me

140 N. Main St.

Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


If you need a gift for any occasions, Surprise Me is bound to do what their name entails. The shop has a rotating inventory of unique, “must-have” items like candles, stationery, note cards, and other accessories. Surprise Me is great for finding that special gift for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, or just your own little treat.


Dining & Bakeries


The gastronomical offerings of Belmont keep growing by the day, with an ever expanding portfolio of certified cult classics, coffee and cocktail joints, perfect patio dining, wine spots, and so much more.


Belmont Specialty Foods

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

35 N. Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.


Belmont Specialty Foods is the perfect all-in-one deli and grocery store for whatever you may need. Their deli features fresh sliced meats, cheeses, and sandwich curations, while their bakery offers a wide variety of pies, cakes, and other sweets. There’s also a wide selection of fresh provisions, preservatives, and other ingredients that you may need. Shop here today, or stop by for lunch and check out their heated patio.


The Bottle Tree

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

102 Davis St.

Wednesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


Gaining its name from the many blue and green bottle trees across the South that reflect the light and “leave nothing but good behind,” The Bottle Tree restaurant strives to provide a culinary experience that leaves patrons “in the highest of spirits.” Executive chef, Colleen O’Hare, merges Southern classics with global flavors that reflect the growing trend of new-American cuisine. The Bottle Tree also houses a spacious and multicolored patio outside that’s as diverse and inspired as the food inside.


Cherub’s Cafe

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

23 N. Main St.

Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-5 p.m.


Since opening in the late ‘90s, Cherub’s Cafe has become one of Belmont’s most widely adored classic restaurants. In conjunction with the Holy Angels, Cherub’s offers differently abled adults an opportunity for meaningful employment. The cafe is known for their pecan chicken salad in a variety of formats, but they also serve breakfast items as well as desserts made Tony’s Ice Cream, Gaston County’s unofficial ice cream. If the weather permits, their patio next door is the place to eat.


Cotton Candy Factory

21 N. Main St.

Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


The Cotton Candy Factory is one of three businesses in downtown Belmont that’s run by the Holy Angels, an organization that’s dedicated to helping the differently abled. Inspired by Belmont’s cotton mill history, the store sells regular and organic flavors of cotton candy goodness and candy by the bulk all while providing employment opportunities to differently abled individuals.


The Everyday Market

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

7 S. Main St.

Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


If you love coffee, wine and baked goods, then you will definitely enjoy the exceptional coffee, wine, and made-from-scratch food that The Everyday Market has to offer. Taking inspiration from the iconic cafes of Europe, owner and pastry chef Majid Amoorpour offers a community space for relaxation and really good homemade pastries and sandwiches and coffee to pair. If it’s wine you’d prefer, The Everyday market features wines from all over the world. Lounge inside or enjoy their street-facing patio with a view of Stowe Park


Glenway Premium Pub

Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

55 Glenway St.

Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.


The Glenway Premium Pub is a classic sports bar and tavern that’s just off Main Street. With a comfortable covered patio outside and a casual atmosphere inside, Glenway Premium Pub is an excellent place to watch a game while enjoying the classic pub fare of wings, burgers, fish and chips, craft beer and more.


Heirloom

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

33 Glenway St.

Tuesday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-8:p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.


Relocating to Belmont in the summer of 2021 is Heirloom, a farm-to-fork restaurant that was widely considered to be one of Charlotte’s best restaurants. After Patrick Murphy, the head chef of Heirloom, learned about the town of Belmont from his neighbor Rob Florio, the general manager of The Bottle Tree, Patrick visited Belmont and convinced his parents, owners Scott and Linda Murphy, to relocate. Delayed an entire year due to COVID-19, Heirloom is finally set to bring their “locally sourced, globally inspired” cuisine to Belmont’s Main Street in the not-so-distant future.


Honeycomb Cafe


Recently announced by the owners of Heirloom, the Honeycomb Cafe will also be opening in Belmont in 2021. The Honeycomb Cafe will serve locally sourced and driven food just like Heirloom but with a focus on breakfast.


The Jailhouse Spirits and Lounge

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

23 S. Main St. Unit B

Wednesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m.-9 p.m.


What used to be the Belmont Jail is now The Jailhouse Spirits and Lounge serving arrestingly delicious cocktails and other libations. In addition to rare beers and high-end wines, The Jailhouse boosts an impressive 150 different whiskeys that add to an already impressive craft cocktails list and an upstairs humidor with cigars for purchase. Just as interesting as the drinks is the interior design, with a contrasting assortment of iron cells, a stainless steel bar, concrete clad room switch old photos, and leather booths with ceiling scripts of past prisoners. Come lounge in one of the most unique bar and cigar lounges around, and the only jail where everyone is free.


Jekyll & Hyde Taphouse and Grill

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

10 Catawba St.

Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.


Located in a historic building off Main Street with the theme to match is the Jekyll & Hyde Taphouse and Grill. With a breezeway filled with old books dating back to the 1800’s, victorian couches, and a hidden-door like entrance, the restaurant’s aesthetic seems straight out of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel. Their fare is a mixture of English, Irish, and American plates featuring dishes like shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and bread pudding along with burgers, steaks, and flatbreads. Grab a bite or grab one of their many house-brewed craft beers or signature cocktails to enjoy inside of outside on their picnic style patio.


The Lodge Tavern & Tap

Photo Courtesy of The Lodge Tavern & Tap

101 Kenwood St.

Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday 4 p.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


If you love the laid back atmosphere of a rustic game lodge with the food (including brunch) to match, then you must visit The Lodge Tap and Tavern. The mountain retreat/hunting lodge interior utilizes light and dark brown wood for the ceiling, walls, table, and chairs and showcases quirky cabin-like decorations such as lights hanging from antlers and wild animal decorations adorning the walls. The menu has that same eclectic feel with wild game offerings including venison, duck, and bison in a range of entree formats. Eat game while enjoying the game on their many flat-screen TVs and pair your fare with a beer, wine, or one of their classic cocktails.


Mugshots Coffee and Tea

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

4 N. Main St.

Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Another of Gaston County’s go-to coffee shops is Mugshot’s Coffee and Tea in the old Piedmont & Northern Railroad Depot. The staff at Mugshots are all proud coffee enthusiasts, providing traditional coffee drinks from direct source coffee from small farms and small farm coalitions. In addition to coffee, Mugshots also serves tea drinks and other homemade drinks like kombucha, as well as food options like muffins, scones, croissants, and other classic coffee shop treats. Enjoy your beverage of choice on their patio and pretend that you’re waiting for your train to arrive


Nellie’s Southern Kitchen

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

36 N. Main St.

Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


While Nellie’s Southern Kitchen is famously known as the restaurant the Jonas Brothers’ parents own and operate, the inspiration behind the restaurant was Nellie Jonas, Kevin Jonas Sr. 's grandmother who lived in Belmont until 2011. Nellie took pride in her homestyle cooking which included staples like chicken and dumplings and biscuits and gravy. Today, Nellie’s Southern Kitchen serves Nellie’s best Southern dishes and other Southern fare that includes classics such as shrimp and grits and fried chicken. In addition to the food, there’s also live music starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays.


Old Stone Steakhouse

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

23 S. Main St.

Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.


The Old Stone Steakhouse is an upscale steakhouse in the former Belmont Police Department building serving high quality steaks and seafood at casual prices. The steakhouse features classic cuts of USDA choice steak and the sides to match, plus other selections like shrimp and grits, crab cakes, pork chops, chicken, and ribs covered in their Cheerwine BBQ sauce. Dine al-fresco on their patio with a view of Stowe Park and the Carolina Thread Trail access just across the street, cocktail in hand.


Primal Brewery

Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

52 Ervin St.

Tuesday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 12:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 p.m.-8 p.m.


Primal Brewery’s second location that opened last year is in a multi-purpose mill redevelopment just outside of Belmont’s Main Street area. With a spacious interior and exterior, Primal Brewery is a great place to spread out and enjoy their delicious food and expansive selection of beers which earned Primal the NC Brewer of the Year award in 2015.


Sammy’s Pub

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

25 S. Main St.

Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.


Since 1994, the original Sammy’s Pub (with a second location in Dallas) has been serving casual comfort food in a casual pub setting. Sammy’s burgers, wings, appetizers, fried pickles, sweet tea, and bar atmosphere have all been recognized by the Gaston Gazette as being some of the best in Gaston County. Come in for brunch or watch the game or have a drink at the bar and see why Sammy’s is so highly loved by Belmont.


Station

Randy Rivera, Gaston Outside

4 N. Main St.

Wednesday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.


Sharing the same former Piedmont & Northern Railroad depot as South Main Cycles and Mugshots Coffee and Tea, Station specializes in craft beer and craft beer inspired food. With a pet friendly patio that ove