Stamp Mill Cafe harkens to Gold Hill's heyday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

By Robin Perry
For the Salisbury Post
Have you been to Gold Hill lately? If not, it is certainly worth the drive down N.C. 52 to the village — things are “cookin’ ” there, including the Stamp Mill Café with new owners, Linda and Billy Dean.
The Deans traveled to Gold Hill last Memorial Day for a “day trip.”
“We fell in love with the town and the people, and didn’t go home,” recalls Linda. They saw two vacant buildings in the village that they envisioned as the perfect place to open a Tea Shop and stained glass-jewelry shop.
Linda had previously worked with a tea shop and had her own Internet tea business. They stayed overnight so they could meet with the landlord the next day, and signed a lease. They opened the two quaint shops, connected by a peaceful garden area soon afterward.
The restaurant next door to their new shops, Gold Miner’s Daughter, became available in January. After much deliberation, they decided to open it as the Stamp Mill Café.
In gold mining days, five stamp mills operated in Gold Hill. A stamp mill is a machine that crushes material by pounding for extraction of metallic ores. Their menu has a pen and ink drawing by Vivian Hopkins, especially for the restaurant, of one of these stamp mills during the heyday of gold mining there.
So Linda got a team together and opened up their new venture on Feb 23.
Chef Aloise Vandereet is a major part of the team, originally from the Netherlands; he has practiced his culinary art over 20 years from France to Germany to Switzerland to South America. He came to Gold Hill by way of Adams in Ballantyne. He enjoys creating comfort foods for the lunch hour and a variety of specialties for dinner.
We tried the lunch special — shepherd’s pie ($8.95) and it was delicious — rich beef with seasonings and gravy topped with perfect whipped potatoes. Reminds me of my mom’s Shepherd’s pie — very good.
Other specials that day included fish ’n’ chips and stuffed red peppers with sweet Italian sausage (both for $8.95).
Regular menu items include their burger — an 8 ounce hand pressed beef patty on a Kaiser roll with your choice of cheese ($8.95) and a Rueben that have been quite popular.
Appetizers ordered most often include the chips and salsa — made to order chips and fresh salsa ($3.95) or the quesadillas: with chicken, barbecue chicken or vegetable ($8.95). There is a daily soup such as beef vegetable or turkey and rice ($4.95) and tasty salads such as Caesar ($6.95), fruit salad or Baha grilled chicken salad ($8.95).
The menu has regular entrees, plus dinner specials. cornish game hen and pork tenderloin provencal (both $13.95) are customer favorites as is the 12-ounce rib-eye with garlic butter ($18.95). With the specials, Chef Aloise is trying to make the lunch time more comfort foods, and the dinner specials a little more international in flavor. He has offered chicken picatta and fish of the day to name a few.
And we can’t forget dessert! The crčme brule was the best I have tasted — melts in your mouth. They also have pecan squares, cheesecakes and a wonderful apple pie ($4.95 each). All will more than satisfy your sweet tooth.
They plan to start serving Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. that will offer a carving station, omelet and waffle stations, salads and delicious desserts.
Linda’s desire was to have a quality restaurant with a good balance of prices and choices — from tasty sandwiches to a fine dinner with wine. She does that along with friendly service and a great atmosphere from fresh flowers on the tables to the historic pictures on the walls and antique décor.
They cater and can accommodate private parties also. The Canasta Hand and Foot Club were there recently, eating lunch at the café followed by some serious canasta over at the Tea Room. These ladies meet once a month and were certainly enjoying their afternoon in the Village of Gold Hill.
Linda reports all the rental spaces are filled now in Gold Hill and they have formed a merchant’s association.
“We can feed the village, so the village can grow,” she says. “The people here are wonderful and the area has a lot to offer.
“We want to be here for the long term.”
She and her husband are looking to relocate to Gold Hill from Mint Hill, where they live now.
“We just love it here.”