by Molly Reitter

DAVIDSON – If you were blindfolded and taken to Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse, it’s a sure bet you’d think you were in New York City.

It feels like a quaint bistro on the Upper East side – the kind that are on every corner up there.

But this restaurant is in the heart of Davidson, although it is no wonder it has the NYC vibe. The owners took the name from the iconic triangular skyscraper in Manhattan that distinguished the Flatiron district. However, a closer peek showcases the eclectic, original Davidson atmosphere nudging through with an on-site herb garden, craft cocktails and Southern accents.

Four investors opened Flatiron in July 2010 with manager Earl Gillon at the helm. Gillon has 20 years’ experience in the restaurant business working his way up from host to manager in country clubs, fine dining and fast casual venues. He has an associate degree from Kings College in business management.

This restaurant feels like home.

“The community is great in Davidson,” Gillon said. “We have really felt supported here.”

The genre of food is well thought-out and labeled as American style. The restaurant’s motto is “Where Creativity Meets Comfort.”

It is more like American Style with a Southern twist. For example, the menu includes chicken and waffles. But the thick waffle is herbed and savory. The chicken is poached and then dredged in a homemade seven-spice mix and lightly fried. Then it is served on a sweet potato and Granny Smith apple hash. Creativity meeting comfort, indeed. Server Dennis Stracener is a big fan of that chicken and waffle dish.

“The chicken will literally melt in your mouth,” he gushed. “Everyone I serve it to just loves it.”

The mind behind such masterpieces is Chef Anthony Ascanio, who has been the head chef for a year and a half. Ascanio has garnered excellent feedback since his start.

“We have happy, happy customers who return again and again,” Gillon said.

Ascanio attended Central Piedmont Community College’s Culinary Arts Program. He is a perfect creative fix for the restaurant. The onions on the burger are cooked for 2 hours in 2 quarts of beer until the liquid is almost completely reduced. The onions come out with a rich, malty flavor that meld well with the beef.

The restaurant is rigorously local. From the beer to the ingredients used in the food, the restaurant tries to use as many regional goods as possible. And often what they cannot get locally, they make and create in-house.

An herb garden is in its first stages on some land behind the restaurant. Fresh herbs and produce from this garden will be used in daily specials and cocktails.

One of the owners also has a craft cocktail bar called Single Brothers in Winston-Salem, where they make their own bitters in flavors such as maple, cardamom and peychauds and ships them to Davidson. Flatiron is now infusing vodka on-site premiering with a lavender lemon flavor.

“America used to be the cocktail capital of the world,” Gillon said. “We are just getting back to our roots.”

The use of local and regional items creates some menu changes about twice a year.

“We try to keep some favorites on the menu, such as the Waygu beef burger,” Gillon said. “But because we try to stay seasonal, the menu will have changes on it.”

You don’t have to hit New York City to get creative cuisine and atmosphere. Flatiron is a taste of the big city right here in Davidson.

Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse

215 S. Main St., Davidson