Oakhurst locals create popular Messy Madison popup


(L) Justin Rawlings writing up orders. (R) Professional Chef, Kelly Slade

Messy Madison is Monroe Road’s newest pop-up, and we ordered ALL the things on Saturday to be able to give you a full report.

Justin Rawlings has lived in Charlotte since ‘03 and specifically Oakhurst since 2010.

We want to add something to the food scene that you can’t get anywhere else in Charlotte—a regional type of food.

Messy Madison co-creator, Kayla Witmore, was born in Charlotte and grew up in Monroe, NC. She’s a talented artist and stylist. All of the images on the menu are original works of digital art by Witmore.

After weeks of successful test runs, Chef Kelly Slade and team decided they were ready to go. On the back patio of Monroe Road’s newest brewery, Vaulted Oak Brewing, Messy Madison premiered their mouthwatering menu of Baltimore Pit Beef, Vegan Sloppy Faux, and Chesapeake Bay Boardwalk fries.


Messy Madison Menu

The Pit Beef Sammy, hailing from Baltimore’s east side, is stacked with all NC-local ingredients. Tender, sliced top round from Mills Family Farm, house made tiger sauce, Smoke Show BBQ sauce, topped with shaved white onion on a Kaiser roll from Geraldine’s Bakery in Asheville. We heard the word “perfection” tossed around among the crowd.

Just when you think nothing can compare, the pendulum swings to the Vegan Sloppy Faux (braised lentils on Verdant Bread with shaved white onion and pickle chips). This sandwich is no afterthought. It’s packed with flavor and satisfaction, all powered by plants.

The Chesapeake Bay Boardwalk Fries are standouts as well. Hand-cut russet potatoes, fried in peanut and corn oils, finished with sea salt, Old Bay seasoning, and apple cider vinegar.

Pair it all with housemade coleslaw, or add a butterscotch pudding for dessert.

Chef Slade’s drive for quality of food and production plays across each menu item. He tries to source as locally as possible with sustainability a top priority. While the menu offerings will evolve each time, the Oakhurst crew’s commitment to quality is steadfast.


Where to find them

Feeling hungry? Messy Madison says they’ll be back at Vaulted Oak Brewing in a few weeks (which personally, feels like a long time to wait.) Keep your eyes on their social accounts: FB and IG. The first time around, they did take pre-orders here.


Monroe Road Advocates (MoRA) is grassroots group of volunteers from Monroe Road neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, and schools. We’re connecting community in the corridor from Lupie’s/7th Street to NC-51.