Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Emeril closing in uptown Charlotte

e2 emeril’s eatery and e2GO will close April 26, the company announced this morning. "It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of e2 emeril’s eatery,” chef Emeril Lagasse, owner and executive chef of the restaurant, says in a statement. The concept, at 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, opened in 2012 and was a departure for the celebrity chef, who was one of the first Food Network stars (catchphrase: "Bam!") and first came to prominence with his New Orleans restaurants and food from that region. He eventually branched out to everything from burgers to steakhouses, in places from Bethlehem, Pa., to Las Vegas. Here, the menu was eclectic.

The Week quoted him in September as saying: "I have nowhere to go, really — other than broke" at an event to promote a TNT reality series, saying the industry was becoming increasingly difficult. The show's website seems to be not functional, and its Facebook page hasn't been posted to since December.

The Charlotte restaurant announced its closing on both its Twitter account ("The restaurant was never able to achieve the volume projected when we came to Charlotte" and its Facebook page.

It will maintain regular hours of operation for lunch and dinner through April 25. 704-414-4787;

Coming to Ayrsley

Look for Piedmont Social House to open in the Ayrsley area this spring, if all goes according to the plans of New Forum Inc., one of the area's developers. Described as "a restaurant/entertainment venue," it's slated to have "a modern menu influenced by traditional Southern flavors," along with bowling, darts, billiards, ping pong, corn hole, shuffleboard, bocce ball and more. It'll also be huge: 21,000 square feet of indoor space, plus a 5,000-square-foot patio. 2135 Ayrsley Town Blvd.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wine dinner explores N.C.

"State of Spring" is the title for a March 5 dinner at 7th Street Public Market, with seven courses from Local Loaf chef Adam Spears and wines from N.C. winery Jones VonDrehle, via Assorted Table Wine Shoppe. The lineup includes roasted corn and fennel ice cream, a cheeseboard from Orrman's (at the market), spicy shrimp wonton, fish and chips with Roquefort tartar sauce, rosemary and Brussels sprout risotto cake, duck confit, lamb sliders and "a sweet finish." $90; reservations: 704-277-3234 or email 224 East 7th St.

OMB tries to summon spring with Fruh Bock

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery will release the seasonal Früh Bock (say froo bock) Feb. 27, and since its name means "early" in German (and is short for Frühling, which means "spring"), maybe warm weather will immediately ensure. The brew is described as malty sweet with almost citrusy notes, and is 6 percent alcohol by volume (its Copper is 4.8).

Also coming up at OMB: a St. Patrick's Day party March 14, a sixth-anniversary celebration March 28 and a Louisiana Spring Crawfish Boil April 18.

4150 Yancey Road;

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Downton Abbey tea plus St. Patrick's Day specials)

The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge will offer "Downton Abbey Tea" from 1 to 5 p.m. March 11-14, with "Countess of Grantham’s favourite tea savouries and sweets." You can opt out of the actual tea part and opt into Spanish sherry for $8, or Brandy Alexanders for $10. And you can also dress up: The hotel says "Attendees are encouraged to dress in 1920-1930s period clothing." $36 ($18 for "junior patrons" 5-12); reservations required: 704-248-4100.

Also coming up: Irish Whiskey specials for St. Patrick’s Day at the hotel's Gallery restaurant.

10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway;;

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Harvest Moon beer dinner

Harvest Moon Grille will hold its first beer/dinner pairing Feb. 26, with brews from Howard Brewing of Lenoir. On the menu: salt and vinegar popcorn (from Laughing Owl Farm), caramel popcorn balls with sorghum molasses hops, and miniature corn dogs; meatball sliders; mini-brat dogs with chili and cheese; jalapeno cheese poppers with sweet red pepper jam; black-eyed pea falafel; and ice cream floats made with stout, and Coke-brined peanut brittle. $40 and by reservation only: 704-735-4199. 331 E. Main St. in Lincolnton.

Beard semifinalists out: 3 Asheville chefs, 3 chefs and 2 bakers from Triangle ...

The James Beard Foundation announced semifinalists for its restaurant and chef awards, the 25th anniversary edition of those recognitions. It adds a new one this year, Outstanding Baker, and the Carolinas placed three people in that national list of 25: Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery in Durham; Lionel Vatinet of La Farm in Cary; and Lauren Mitterer of Wildflour Pastry in Charleston.

Also making the first cut:
Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston in the Outstanding Chef lineup.
Edmund’s Oast in Charleston in Best New Restaurant.
Hominy Grill in Charleston in Outstanding Restaurant.
Charleston Grill in Outstanding Service.
Both FIG and McCrady's in Charleston in Outstanding Wine Program.
Ari Kolender of Leon's Oyster Shop in Charleston in Rising Star Chef.

And the Best Chef: Southeast list of 20 includes:

North Carolina:
Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville
Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani in Asheville
John Fleer of Rhubarb in Asheville
Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston
Scott Howell of Nana's in Durham
Matthew Kelly of Mateo in Durham
Aaron Vandemark of Panciuto in Hillsborough

Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh
Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder
Jason Stanhope of FIG

The rest:
Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow, Atlanta
Todd Ginsberg, The General Muir, Atlanta
Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur, Ga.
Kathy Cary, Lilly's, Louisville
Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville
Damian Heath, Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, W. Va.
Daniel Lindley, Alleia, Chattanooga
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville

Semifinalists in the 21 categories come from a list of more than 34,000 online entries (it's an open call). A committee then reviews the list and chooses semifinalists. That list goes to a volunteer panel of 600 judges across the country, which picks both the finalists (five in each category) and the winner. Finalists will be named March 24 and winners May 4 at an event in Chicago.
More info: