by Katie Orlando



DAVIDSON – Restaurants stretching from Griffith Street to the Cornelius border are complementary steps on a culinary journey that a new business is bringing together.

Winston-Salem resident Lisa Schnurr sees potential to use her food tour experience in Davidson.

“I love Davidson,” Schnurr says. “This is my dream town.”

Her dream town happens to meld with her profession. Schnurr has coordinated seven downtown Davidson restaurants for the Tour de Food. Schnurr will lead the Davidson Tour de Food two Saturdays a month. Groups of up to 12 will start at the Cotton Mill building outside Brickhouse Tavern on Delburg Street, and Schnurr will guide tours through the historic downtown, giving tidbits of local history between larger tidbits of local food fare.

Schnurr tells the story of the beginning of Davidson before the tour digs in at Toast Cafe.

Manager Patrick Burchill sat the first tour group June 2 on the café’s patio, shaded by trees laced with white lights.

The first course of the tour is appropriately breakfast: a raspberry-walnut pancake and cheesy hashbrowns with a slight kick. A surprise walnut crunch shows up in every few bites of the sweet, fruity pancakes, complemented by real maple syrup.

The Soda Shop’s array of signature dishes are waiting just a few doors down, taking the tour back to basics. The egg salad sandwiches were the only meal the Soda Shop served in its earliest days in 1951, when it was the only local restaurant and competition didn’t drive customer service. The Soda Shop doesn’t make customers assemble their own sandwiches anymore, though. Tour-goers are treated to the original recipe, along with chicken salad, fried green beans, sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Strawberry, black-and-white and banana pudding milkshakes provide a sweet ending to the Soda Shop experience.

“I’ve never had a fried green bean,” inaugural tour guest Ann Wilson says. “It’s really great.”

Another short walk down to Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse brings the tour back to the culinary future. Chef Anthony Ascanio presents Maryland style crab cakes with arugula pesto and cream sauce with a sweet spice. Ascanio’s individual incarnation of shrimp and grits involves gouda-grit cakes and tasso gravy made with reduced beer.

That twist on a southern classic is a smooth transition to the one food-less stop on the tour – Davidson Beverage Company. Proprietor John Baker says he tries to maintain variety in the beers he keeps on tap.

“I want to have something local, seasonal, maybe some limited release,” Baker said.

Restaurant X serves up dessert – banoffee and chocolate mousse. Banoffee is not the ethnic mystery the name evokes, but rather banana slices on top of creamy toffee with a ginger snap crust, the brainchild of owners Chris and Christina Phillips. Chris Phillips makes everything on the menu from scratch, including signature daily soups.

Next, Campania Café serves eggplant rolatini. Then it’s back to Brickhouse for thick ribs over home-made cole slaw.

It’s a convenient final stop back at the guests’ cars, with the option of killing time at the Brickhouse bar in case diners are too stuffed to move.

Schnurr says she couldn’t find a food tour in the Charlotte area and jumped at the chance to fill a void.

“When I go on a trip now, a food tour is the first thing I look for,” Wilson said.

Want to go?

What: Tour de Food Davidson

When: June 16, 1:30 p.m.

Where: begins at Brickhouse Tavern, 209 Delburg St.

Cost: $45

Reservations: TourDeFood.net, 336-406-6294, info@tourdefood.net.