It was very refreshing to shake off the cold of last winter, step into warm weekend and spend an evening in downtown Fort Mill — of all places!
If you haven’t had the chance to get to what was formerly a sleepy Main Street, it is now a bustling hotbed of destinations. While Local Dish and Hobo’s have increased traffic over the past few years, two newcomers, Amor Artis and Southern Sugar, have really added an extra jolt. Amor Artis is a new craft brew pub with an excellent atmosphere, a wide selection of wine and beer, and a rotating fleet of food trucks around back,where the pub has a deck with tables and chairs.
Southern Sugar is a bit more complicated to describe. It is a mix of a bakery, café/coffeeshop, bar and restaurant. So many choices if you want a quick pastry and mocha or come for weekend brunch. Add in the Towne Tavern Express as a place to get wings and sandwiches, not to mention the soone-to-open Improper Pig for some tasty BBQ, and downtown is a destination to visit, shop, eat and drink.
When I look back at the aftermath of Tony’s Pizza burning down in 2007, Main Street may have been at its lowest point then. There was very little reason to go there, especially in the evenings. I think Hardee’s was literally the only business open past 6 p.m.! By 9 p.m. last Saturday night, we had already had drinks and appetizers at Southern Sugar, stopped at Amor Artis for some Caribbean fare from a mobile eatery and some tasty beers. And as we were leaving to go home, both Local Dish and Hobo’s had people still waiting to get a table.
The area has done a complete 180-degree turn.
I wrote a column recently about often going to Charlotte for eating and activities, and that has been rapidly changing. Did you know there's an art gallery on Main? There’s nothing better than supporting local places, and we are starting to have numerous options to be able to do that. The town even opened a new park in the past couple years and several retail locations are thriving as well.
With the weather finally rounding into form, staying outdoors is an option at many of the locations as you have patios, decks and lawns to take up a spot and enjoy the food, company and people watching.
Kudos need to be given to the business owners who have helped revitalize the area and the locations that have been there for years have persevered and are now also getting the benefits of more traffic. As a growing community, I look forward to more destination areas being developed in the coming years!
Scott Cost: firstname.lastname@example.org