About Highland Avenue
Highland Avenue changed the culinary landscape of Hickory, North Carolina when the farm-to-table restaurant opened in 2013 and has garnered regional and national praise for locally sourced foods. On any given day, farmers and purveyors are walking through the back door, arms loaded down with produce, cheese and meats from their North Carolina farms.
Highland Avenue, is quickly becoming a destination for people who love good food. Located on the second floor of the beautifully renovated former Holler Hosiery Mill in the up and coming Southeast District of Hickory, Highland Avenue pays homage to the city’s rich manufacturing history while focusing on New American cuisine. Appalachian trout, pork belly, shrimp and grits, scratch made breads and pasta, and house cured meat are a few of the popular items you’ll find on the menu. The restaurant offers stunning, seasonal fare and provides guests with a taste of true Southern hospitality.
As a part of the management team at Highland Avenue, Robert Locke is passionate about providing guests with the highest standards of southern hospitality. His innate desire to serve, enthusiasm, and level head make him an essential part of the Highland Avenue team. A 2012 graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he studied history and political science, Locke has worked in food and beverage since he was 15. The opportunity to work in an environment that combined his love for family, hospitality and history immediately drew him to the Hollar Hosiery restoration and Highland Avenue. Locke devotes time to his hometown community of Hickory through numerous boards and organizations including the Lake Hickory Rotary Club and YMCA of Catawba Valley .When not at the helm of Highland Avenue Restaurant, Locke enjoys spending time with his dog Jacks and playing Ultimate Frisbee.
Chef Sam Stachon grew up on a self-sustaining farm in Northern Michigan. Sam and his family enjoyed cooking and baking together and they also preserved their own foods, raised animals, and tapped trees for maple syrup. Sam began his culinary career at a young age when he went to work in his cousin’s restaurant where he bussed tables and eventually worked his way to the stove. Sam worked at many different restaurants in Michigan before moving to North Carolina to attend Johnson & Wales University. After graduation Stachon joined Nobles Restaurant Group where he worked his way up to sous chef and opened The King’s Kitchen in Charlotte. As time passed Sam was promoted to Executive Chef over The King’s Kitchen and The King’s Bakery. Sam was thrilled when the opportunity arose to relocate to Hickory, NC and join Carolina Moon Hospitality, working at Highland Avenue Restaurant. He is committed to providing excellent food and hospitality to our guests.
Pastry arts has been a driving force of passion for Hannah, from baking cakes for weddings at her home to modern dessert plating for hotel service. Hannah Woociker moved to Hickory, NC from Orlando, FL, where she graduated with Associates of Arts degrees in Culinary and Pastry from Valencia College and adventured to Italy for her Culinary Internship. She has perfected her talents at places like Walt Disney World and Hyatt Hotels. Hannah is excited to show her creativity here on her new journey with Highland Avenue Restaurant.
Max Evans was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio where he got a head start on his culinary career by attending a vocational high school focusing on culinary arts. After graduation, Max moved to Charlotte, NC to attend Johnson & Wales University. During his education he had a variety of work experience ranging from catering companies and hotels, to fine dining restaurants. After earning his Associates in Culinary Arts, he accepted a job as Sous Chef at The Flipside Café In Fort Mill, SC. He was later approached by Carolina Moon Hospitality and has worked his way up to Sous Chef of Highland Avenue. He’s proud to be a part of the management team and to have a hand in the growth of Highland Avenue and Hollar Mill.
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