A Happy Milestone

21 Jan

Bonfire Grill in Indian Trail  celebrated its one year anniversary on January 19.  Reaching the one year mark is a big deal for any new restaurant, but this particular anniversary is exciting to us.  You see, until 2009, Indian Trail residents couldn’t order liquor by the drink.  As a result, our culinary offerings in “the IT” included a bevy of fast food restaurants, lots of “country cooking” establishments, and half a dozen pizza restaurants (all offering NY Style pizza and pasta).  To order a beer or a glass of wine with our dinner, we had to drive 15-30 minutes to Matthews or Charlotte.

So when the referendum to offer liquor by the drink passed in 2009, Jason and I celebrated the potential for “real restaurants” to come to town.  Not only would this make going out a little more convenient, it would allow us to spend our money in our community.    Indian Trail’s population is booming, but commercial growth has not matched residential growth, so we’ve been missing out on amenities that other towns enjoy (parks, sidewalks, pot-hole free roads!).  It’s heartening to see commercial and entertainment growth finally start to pick up, and Bonfire seems to be taking the lead from the restaurant angle.  Soon we’ll have a 50+ acre shopping and entertainment complex directly behind Bonfire, bringing even more revenue to our community.

We’ve been going to Bonfire from the start, literally.  We first stopped in during a soft “friends-and-family-only” opening one weekend.  We didn’t realize it was for friends and family only, so we walked in, sat down at the bar, and ordered a beer and some wings.  It took a few minutes for the bartender to realize we weren’t technically on the guest list, but the manager invited us to stay anyway and made us feel at home. 

Bonfire serves casual food that’s prepared well.  They initially offered house-made ketchup (loved it!) but it was voted down by the mass-produced-condiment-addicted majority.  Pity.  We bemoaned the loss of the gourmet ketchup, but appreciate Bonfire’s desire to please their customers.  And there are still interesting items on the menu which we enjoy, like fried oysters and calamari fries, and of course, a burger with an egg on it.  Bonfire’s food makes us happy, even if we have to dip our French fries in Heinz or Hunt’s. 

I see Bonfire Grill’s anniversary as something our whole town should be celebrating as a sign we’ve turned a culinary corner.  The owners of Bonfire took a chance on us by opening an establishment that offers food not slathered in gravy or designed to play to a NY/NJ pizza stereotype.  Even without gourmet ketchup, they’re still the best restaurant in “the IT” and we look forward to many more dinners and drinks with them!

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