The Charlotte Observer Entertainment & Things to Do July 6, 2007

Air Conditioning Not Required
Top 5 Outdoor Places To Eat

BY HELEN SCHWAB
RESTAURANT WRITER

Dining outside in the summer, to my way of thinking, requires what Buddhists call “monkey mind.” This is the mind that jumps from thought to thought like a monkey through the trees, resisting existing in the moment. Sure that’s a bad thing when you’re trying to meditate. But it’s a boon when you’re trying not to notice how hot it really is. So I’m encouraging the monkey mind with five places to dine in summer’s heat that offer some distraction. You’ll hardly notice the sweat.

3. The Landing Restaurant at Lake Norman Motel
It’s got a certain out-of-the-way dive-ish cachet, and if you’re not from around there, you’ll feel triumphant just finding the place (did you even know Lake Norman had a motel?). But the real triumph is sitting on the long corrugated-metal-roofed patio, complete with grass-roofed tiki bar at one end. The lake view’s nice at one end, but the breeze is pretty consistent all the way through, and the best moment was watching a truly enormous dragonfly light on the shoulder of a dining companion. Get the onion rings; even though one or two were uncooked, the rest were salty, battered piece of bliss, and the fish sandwich is the size of your head. Ostrich burgers taste better than you might think (yes, they’re lean, but with a nice bit of char), and with Robert Johnson blues on the radio, this is a relaxing place to let the mind bounce.
4491 Slanting Bridge Road, Sherrills Ford; 828-478-5944

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