Monday, April 27, 2009

Uptown restaurant gets new identity

ARPA, the tapas place and wine bar that is part of Harper's Restaurants, will become Harper's Grill the first week of May, if all goes according to plan.


The menu will include diner favorites from the Harper's chain, dishes from the Harper's Blue Ribbon BBQ (BR BBQ) and specials from corporate chef Tom Condron and current ARPA chef de cuisine Sam Diminich.

The company closed Harper's BR BBQ, also uptown, April 1. In Charlotte, the restaurant group's Harper's ToGoGo, offering takeout only, remains open in locations uptown and near SouthPark, along with Mimosa Grill and Zink American Kitchen uptown; Upstream in Phillips Place, M5 near SouthPark and two Harper's (Carolina Place and SouthPark). It also has Harper's in Columbia and Greensboro.

Says Harper's president Tom Sasser: "We really felt this was a great lunch spot and could not get uptown Charlotte to buy Spanish at lunch. The Harper's price point and more comfort-oriented menu is obviously a good thing in this economy for lunch and dinner.

"We hope to bring (ARPA) back in the future, at a different location and as a Spanish tapas, dinner-only restaurant."

The location, at 129 W. Trade St. (at the corner of South Church Street), has long been a fixture on the uptown dining scene, having first housed Sonoma a decade ago.

ARPA, which will serve its last meal May 2, moved into the spot, in a shuffling of uptown restaurants, in 2005.

Harper's Grill will be open weekdays for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch. Prices will range from $6-$14 at lunch and most dinner entrees will run $12-$19.


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

ARPA was too expensive and inconsistent...I predict Harper's Grill never opens.

Anonymous said...

Whatever it is, I hope it stays non-smoking.

Anonymous said...

They never should have moved from the old building, used to be a great place.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's that folks uptown won't 'eat Spanish' I think it's that folks won't eat at Arpa because of the post above...expensive and inconsistant.

Easy to blame the patron - not so easy to blame the concept.

Anonymous said...

You underestimate Tom Sasser if you think it won't open. He has the resources and motivation to pull off a successful restaurant (although I think it could use a new name).

Anonymous said...

Oooh! I know we will miss it! I know it was our favorite restaurant and made leaps and bounds with amazing food and service over the past several years, hope to see you back

Anonymous said...

looks like its Charlottes loss, great restaurant

Anonymous said...

People in Charlotte are not used to eating different styles of foods. If it's not chicken fingers or steak, they pass on it. No real culture here to sustain places that cater to curious palates. ARPA is a bit expensive but that shouldn't be the only defining factor for it's demise. Well, at least uptown gets yet another "classic" American eatery.

Anonymous said...

If I want uninspired & overpriced Harpers food, I can walk over to Zink.

"In this economy" what needs to happen there is having Arthur's open back up.

Second choice would be for Sonoma to "de-Modernize" and move back in. I like SM but it's just a little too tragically hip for me to go there on a consistent basis.

I'd like to see Bader open a French Bistro but something smaller scale than what used to be in Zink such that its menu would not have to branch out.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte once again shows it has no taste for something different. How backwards!

Anonymous said...

Bring Harper's to Raleigh!! Near Crabtree Mall would be a GREAT market.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Anonymous...I've lived in Charlotte all my life and noticed that we don't have enough people interested in international dishes. We have too many steak resturants. I wish I had known that Arpas served Tapas. I thought it was the same concept as Sonoma so I never bothered to go. Why would I want to dine at Harper's when there is one already in SouthPark? I don't work uptown but I'm a resident. If I wanted to eat at a chain resturant then I'd live in Ballantyne. I also agree that Zink is a waste of money. The service is horrible and the food is average. I don't mind spending more when I can afford to do so. Bentley's on 27 is the place to go when you have some money to spend. Had my wedding reception there and it was fabulous. I also recommend the resturants in Plaza-Midwood and NODA.

ashelockhart said...

ARPA was great. We always had good service, good food and help from the staff on learning the menu. Sam Diminich did an excellent job with the menu. I'll miss ARPA, but I'll go to Harpers downtown because they have good food (albiet different from ARPA).

Anonymous said...

Las Ramblas is the only true tapas restaurant in town. Arpa was never really that good and the prices and portions were unimpressive to say the least. As far as a regular Harpers going in there I would have to say that I will never eat there. But it should be a big hit with the boring ass bankers at lunch time. Harper's comfort food= Southern crap. Now Zink's gormet meat loaf on the other hand is decadent comfort food.

Anonymous said...

What a sad day for dining in uptown Charlotte. We frequented Arpa on a regular basis whether it be for a few tapas after work or an evening meal before a show. People may be a bit behind the times as far as understanding tapas, all I can say is that Arpa will be missed.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have so many great memories. It was our date night restaurant. We hope it returns soon.

Anonymous said...

I went to Arpa's a few times...good location, nice atmosphere, but the food was only ok. Las Ramblas is the place to go for tapas...the food is outstanding!!

Anonymous said...

Why can't people admit that Arpa's just plain sucked? A restaurant should not gouge you by providing poor food/atmosphere at high prices. The Charlotte diner's are savvy when it comes to value and seeing places like Arpa folding is not a vindication of the viewpoint that Charlotte does not like international food, but that it does not like to be ripped off. If the former were the case, then no international restaurants would be successful here. I'm in favor of the entire Harper's chain imploding and I can't really figure out why that hasn't happened yet based on my dining experiences.

teff said...

ARPA was my favorite "night out" place. I am a picky eater, and the servers were always very thorough in describing and helping me select my plates. I can't remember a time I was unhappy with my choices for the night. Sam did an excellent job. He came out to speak with us one time and I loved his enthusiasm and knowledge of food. He certainly takes his art seriously.

Anonymous said...

We were in twice last week, once for the wine dinner, easily one of the best meals I have ever had. I am a bit confused over the misconception of Arpa being overpriced. A lovely restaurant, and Las Ramblas is good also, but Arpa is our favorite! Charlotte needs you back soon.

Anonymous said...

I had heard Las Ramblas is changing it's
theme to a sports bar. : (

Anonymous said...

I have been a regular with the Harpers group and love all of their restaurants. Arpa was my wife's favorite of them all as well as mine. If people find happiness in a restaurant changing its concept to accomodate the economy then thats probably an unhealthy equation to make. From what I undertand all the uptown restaurants and restaurants in general are suffering, Arpa was an mazing restaurant and will be missed

Anonymous said...

Arpa was a wonderful restaurant. I have enjoyed many meals, bottles of wine, cooking classes and wine dinners there. It was a great place to have a drink with the girls or a nice dinner. If Chef Sam is there, I will give the new concept a try. However, I agree with others that uptown needs more diverse dining options such as Arpa. I hope it reopens soon.

Anonymous said...

Ok I've already commented on Arpa, but people keep bringing up Las Ramblas.

Las Ramblas is "ok" for a "tapas" restaurant, but it is actually the overpriced one. Most of the food served there is very pedestrian and overrated. The dishes they have that try to emulate Spanish versions usually pale in comparison (or they are noticeably different in ingredient or preparation). Not to mention they are named after a street that is known more for tacky foreign-owned souvenir shops than anything authentically Catalan. And I say this even though I will eat there. I want it to be everything it aspires to, but it falls short.

I wish some Charlotte restauranteur would realize a lower-priced tapas menu could be wildly successful, even if they only offered it during limited hours or during the week. Nevermind, I think I found the concept for my new place.