Monday, November 22, 2010

Sir Ed's returns

Sir Edmond Halley's reopened tonight for dinner, serving until 10 p.m., with the bar open until 2 a.m. Look for the kitchen to stay open that late, and for lunch, after Thanksgiving. 4151 Park Road; 704-525-2555.

New, updated Thanksgiving (and pre-)

Harvest Moon Grille will offer a family-style local Thanksgiving Day meal featuring local heritage turkey and pork, chestnut-sausage stuffing, collard green salad, roasted root vegetables and more. Seatings are at 1 and 3 p.m., with private dining offered for parties of 10 or more.
$39.99 per person plus tax and tip; $12.99 for those younger than 9.
At the Dunhill, 237 N. Tryon St.; 704-332-4141.

Soul Gastrolounge offers "Get-Ready-for-Thanksgiving" specials Nov. 24 (that's Wednesday), including creamed Brussels sprouts and mushrooms with crispy fried onion rings; new potato croquettes with giblet gravy filling; pan-fried sage sausage stuffing cubes; turkey noodle kugel and more for $5 to $8.
Soul will also be open 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Thanksgiving Day for a "Vicious Thanksgiving" -- sushi only, plus house music by DJ Johnny Vicious. 1500 Central Ave.; 704-348-1848.

All drafts go for $3 Thanksgiving Eve at The Pizza Peel. 4422 Colwick Road; 704-714-8808.

Nov. 22 is the last day you can order a pick-up Thanksgiving spread from Stratos Restaurant Group (Nolen Kitchen, ilios noche, Big View Diner): $195 buys you a meal for 8-10, and you can also get desserts a la carte. Pick-up is Nov. 24 before 4 p.m. 704-544-0313.

The Mac's Speed Shop location on South Boulevard hosts its first annual Thanksgiving Eve party Nov. 24; patrons can pick up their smoked turkeys, hams and sides from 2-6 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. on, there'll be live rock 'n' roll and half-price pints. 2511 South Blvd.; 704-522-6227.

Lulu will be open Thanksgiving 11 a.m.-6 p.m., with specials and the regular dinner menu. 1911 Central Ave.; reservations: 704-376-2242.

Upstream , at Phillips Place in SouthPark, will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. for a traditional dinner. $34.95, $14.95 for those 12 and younger. Reservations required; 704-556-7730.

Passion8 Bistro offers three courses for $48 (kids 6 and younger are free and 7-12 half price) from 4-8:30 p.m. Or you can get Thanksgiving platters to go: main dishes, hors d'oeuvres, sides, etc. 3415 Highway 51 North in Fort Mill; 803-802-7455.

New South Kitchen will be open, as well as offering complete take-home dinners. Dinner will be served noon-5 p.m., with traditional Southern dishes on the menu, for $30 per person. For takeout, including turkey, sausage cornbread stuffing, collards, sweet potato casserole, bourbon-soaked bread pudding and more: 704-541-9990. 8140 Providence Road;

GadoGado will serve a traditional dinner (all-natural turkey and honey-glazed ham, sides, dessert) noon-6 p.m. for $27. 157 N. Trade St., Matthews; 704-844-8686.

Harper's at SouthPark offers complete to-go dinners with choice of traditional Southern roasted or oven ready turkeys, plus trimmings. 704-366-6612.

Villa Antonio at 4707 South Blvd. offers a meal for 6-8 people for $135; 704-523-1594.

More takeout options: The VanLandingham Estate (2010 The Plaza) and The Morehead Inn (1122 E. Morehead St.) offer pickup and a wide menu. Go the their websites: and And Mimosa Grill, at which you can pick up a turkey and sides the day before or day of Thanksgiving, for $24.95 per person. (Yes, they'll also be serving dine-in here; see below.) Details: 704-343-0700.

Both Red Rocks Cafes will do buffets 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. $23.95 for adults, $10.95 for 12 and younger; reservations are required; or via phone (Birkdale Village in Huntersville: 704-892-9999; Strawberry Hill, 4223 Providence Road; 704-364-0402).

Mimosa Grill hosts a family-style dinner 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for $24.95. 327 S. Tryon St.; 704-343-0700.

Mez will host Thanksgiving brunch 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., with salad and carving stations, breakfast dishes and traditional sides such as sweet potato casserole and cornbread stuffing, plus a dessert display including pumpkin, apple and chocolate chip pecan pie. $18.95; 210 E. Trade St. at the EpiCentre; 704-971-2400.

The Liberty offers a three-course dinner 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for $19.95 ($5.95 for those 7 and younger) and includes an all-you-can-eat dessert bar. 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830.

The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge offers brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with seasonal salads, displays, carving stations with regional sides, and desserts. $55 ($28 for children ages 5-12, free for those 4 and younger); 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway; reservations required at 704-248-4100 or

BLT Steak wins the prize with earliest announcement of Thanksgiving Day plans. The place, at the Ritz-Carlton in uptown (110 N. College St.), will do a three-course prix fixe turkey dinner by chef de cuisine Ben Miles, offered for $68 from noon-8 p.m. Among the entree options: organic turkey with chestnut stuffing; prime rib with caramelized onion and bacon popovers; seared Scottish salmon with braised fennel. Reservations: 704-972-4380.

Panera en route to Uptown

Panera Bread is slated to open at 201 S. College St. (that's the Charlotte Plaza building) Dec. 13. The chain offers fresh baked breads, an emphasis on organic and natural ingredients and a bakery/cafe menu. Hours will be 6 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. 704-972-9822.

Coming up, and spotted around

Gospel brunch at an unlikely venue 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 27: Bruce Julian Clothier, at 8128 Providence Road. Look for shrimp and grits, ham biscuits, chicken and waffles, Bloody Marys, Mimosas and sales through the store for this "first annual" event. 704-364-8686.

Georges Brasserie hosts a Chimay chef’s tasting dinner Nov. 30. On the menu: sweet potato beignets with savory caramelized onion and pecan butter, with Chimay Red; crispy pork belly with Chimay Triple; and braised short rib with sautéed exotic mushrooms, shoestring boniato and Chimay Blue. $45; 4620 Piedmont Row Drive; 980-219-7409.

Sighted Saturday: The guy above right, holding a sign for Kickstand (the new burger place next to Loco Lime at 1101 Central Ave. In case you can't read it, the top says "PENGUINS WELCOME! AT Kickstand".

Red Mango is slated to open a store in Huntersville Dec. 4, serving self-serve frozen yogurt and smoothies. On opening day, customers get free yogurt 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 9918 Knockando Lane in the NorthCross Shopping Center.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bits and crumbs

Steven Roth, a Johnson & Wales grad who served an apprenticeship with at star chef Thomas Keller's French Laundry and was formerly with Villa Antonio in Charlotte, is the new executive chef at Andrew Blair's. 1600 Montford Drive; 704-525-8282.

New at Fran's Filling Station: Four additional taps for draft beer (going from two to six total), with more on the way, and a plan for rotating the selection -- current offerings include Two Hearted Ale, Duck Rabbit Milk Stout and Highland Gaelic. Also offered now: call-ahead seating, "Thanksgiving on a plate" (house-roasted turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potato and vegetable) nightly, and reservations for holiday catering, both in the restaurant (for example, reserving it between lunch and dinner for a group) and in-home. 2410 Park Road; 704-372-2009.

Nolen Kitchen does an all-day-Monday happy hour menu that offers all the following for $3 each: zucchini chips with lemon-infused yogurt, smoked salmon and caper dip with pita, half-orders of Buffalo wings with housemade sauce, grilled cheese with bacon, Kobe beef sliders, chile-rubbed babyback ribs and more. 2839 Selwyn Ave.; 704-372-1424.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New spots all over

Newk’s Express Café is slated to open its second Charlotte location Nov. 21, at 101 N. Tryon St. It's a fast-casual concept created by the founders of McAlister's, and offers made-to-order salads (that's "Newk's Favorite" above), oven-baked sandwiches, California-style pizzas, soups, cakes and more. A third is planned for summer 2011, in Huntersville or SouthPark, and the company press says it'll open two locations a year in the Charlotte area for the next five years.
The new site will host a Newk's-Komen "Survivor of the Month" dinner for the Charlotte affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure on its opening evening; that's an event for which women are nominated and one is chosen to have a celebratory dinner, usually with 50 guests. (Want to nominate? E-mail to

The Charlotte Convention Center now has Delish food court, a space comprised of Buon Cibo (selling brick-oven pizzas, panini and salads), Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Bojangles'. It's open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, and is on the ballroom and meeting room level of the center, 501 S. College St.

Kennedy's Premium Bar & Grill is open at 7th and North Caswell streets in Elizabeth, with Irish whiskey, Guinness, burgers and wings, Celtic Caesar wraps and fish and chips, and shepherd's pies. 704-375-0218.

Thanksgiving help

The King’s Kitchen and Rooster's, both of Jim Noble Restaurants, will be involved with serving the hungry this year at Thanksgiving, with food prep done at Rooster's and serving on Nov. 25 done at The King's Kitchen, a not-for-profit restaurant whose proceeds go to hunger relief. Food will also be delivered to several local ministries. Bojangles has donated turkeys for the event, says Jim Noble, who adds that diners also can purchase cards that benefit The King's Kitchen efforts. They then receive a greeting card to give, or they can ask that the Kitchen mail the card directly to the recipient. Details: and

Special dinners

Both locations of Cosmos Cafe offer a $20 menu through November, with a $20 wine list as well. On the food lineup: choices of marinated pork loin, catfish meuniere, pesto grilled chicken over angel hair and more. 300 N. College St.; 704-372-3553; 8420 Rea Road; 704-544-5268.

Tria Terra offers live music and a three-course dinner for $32 Nov. 20, including choice of salad, tapas or antipasto; black lobster ravioli, short ribs in Barolo sauce or grilled salmon with portobellos; and cheesecake or tiramisu. 7707 Pineville-Matthews Road; reservations: 704-541-2924 or

The Wine Shop at Foxcroft hosts a Nuevo Latino South American wine dinner with Alfredo Bartholomaus on Dec. 7 for $65. Bartholomaus has been called one of the 20 most influential people in wine by Robert Parker's "Wine Advocate" for introducing the wines of Chile and Argentina to America. Here, he'll be with guest chefs Graham Giacobbe and Zack Gadberry and a menu that includes Argentinean stew with chorizo and boar, served inside a roasted squash, with 2007 Cousiño-Macul Finis Terrae; flatiron steak with 2006 Catena Alta Malbec; and more. 7824 Fairview Road; reservations: 704-365-6550.

McNinch House is getting dressed for the holidays, with owner Ellen Davis decorating the 120-year-old Queen Anne Victorian in uptown's Fourth Ward, and chef Chris Coleman creating a menu for the season, including hanger steak, N.C. black grouper and a Burgundy- and spice-marinated venison tenderloin. Diners choose among three fixed-price multi-course menus, including a midweek four-courser for $59. 511 N. Church St.; 704-332-6159.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Links of the week

Here is one reason eGullet can be worth checking: An entire thread devoted to "obsessive coffee fetishes," beginning with (and it is JUST the beginning) how the the lid should go on takeout coffee: with the opening exactly opposite the cup's seam. (Because the seam leaks, and this way you can sip without looking.)

From Salon comes the intriguing sentence: "I decided to tackle the project of painting all the presidents with ham."

Sign of the apocalypse: Rolling Stone Restaurant & Lounge opens Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. “(This) captures the essence of the magazine and is the ideal extension of our brand," said Jann Wenner, founder and publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine. Says the press release: "The 10,500-sq. ft. space is distinguished by a 'vintage chic' design, a facile interplay between 19th-century European bohemia and modern American bravura." The menu includes small plates, snacks such as soft pretzel knots with beer cheese fondue; "mini sandos" (sandwiches?); entrees such as pan-roasted wild striped bass and organic herbed chicken; and an emphasis on "American preparations, and flavors infused from Asia and Europe."
I give it six months.

New menus

Paco's Tacos has added chimichangas at both lunch and dinner, along with smaller portions of dishes such as fajitas and shrimp entrees. Also new: sandwiches at lunch time, including a brisket sandwich and one with chicken, jalapeno-pepper-bacon and avocado on Texas toast. 6401 Morrison Blvd.; 704-716-8226.

Growlers Pourhouse has added panini sandwiches and pimento cheese to its menu, along with a new Reuben. 3110 N. Davidson St.; 704-910-6566.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What'll be on new Sir Edmond Halley menu?

Svend Deal confirms Sir Edmond Halley's will reopen, on the back side of Park Road Shopping Center, later this month if all goes according to plan. Deal, an original partner in the British-accented restaurant and freehouse (think pub), had left the business in 2002, he says, and has now put together a new ownership group. (That includes Lane Jefferies, a college friend of Deal's who used to work at McZ's and East Blvd. Bar and Grill "back in the day," as well as former -- and original -- Sir Ed's head bartender Jeff Roberts.)

The well-loved place closed in July after about 15 years in business; original chef-partner Tobin McAfee is not part of the new business.

Expect a menu that gets back to basics, says Deal -- among dishes the regulars have pleaded for, and will get, are Hong Kong eggrolls, ostrich meatloaf, Guinness stew, bangers and mash, and Irish potato cakes. There'll be fewer specials and the standard menu will now include a steak, a fish dish and a vegetarian entree. Kitchen staffing is not finalized. Former employee Helen Marie White will be general manager.

Other notes: The Stammtisch will be there; the new owners bought this "regulars' table" at auction and returned it to its original spot, complete with sign and bell to ring when someone wants to buy a round for the table. A new tap system is installed, adding four new taps for a total of 12, and Deal says they'll have most of the draft beers the place carried before.

Deal notes the powerful role social media has played in this story, saying he gets Facebook posts and e-mail every day about the place (the latest was a heartfelt plea for the Jamaican jerk chicken nachos...).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Uptown gets (more) new

Saying, "We want to be that friendly neighborhood place people visit daily," Pierre Bader announced he's turning Pie Town into FRANKIES 710; the trattoria will open Nov. 12 for dinner in its new incarnation.
Look for new colors, table settings and a generally more casual feel -- "It was a little bit too stiff for a pizza joint," says Bader -- along with a menu that now focuses on scaloppine dishes such as chicken Marsala and piccata and veal parmigiana, saltimbocca and pizzaiola, along with other casual Italian fare: pizzas, pastas and salads. Peter Reinhart is no longer a partner in the venture.
Lunch ($7-$14) weekdays; dinner (about $9-$18) Monday-Saturday; 710 W. Trade St.; 704-379-7555.

Drink out, do good

Getting clean water to the more than 1 billion people without it is the goal of Wine to Water (take a look here or here). If you want to see the presentation he gave at TEDxCharlotte, start here).

To that end, Soul Gastrolounge and TEDxCharlotte sponsor a Wine to Water Social at Soul Nov. 11 from 5-8 p.m. Wine to Water founder and president (and N.C. native) Doc Hendley will be there. Donate $20 and you'll get wine and "nibbles," and all proceeds go to Wine to Water. A compelling fact or two: More children die from water-related illnesses than from AIDS, malaria and measles combined, says Hendley, and $30 can get a filter in Haiti that gives a family clean water for up to five years. (So throw in that extra ten-spot at the door, if you've got it!)

Beer, Beaujolais, Bourbon (not together)

Whiskey Warehouse hosts an Olde Mecklenburg beer dinner Nov. 17, with Allison Stoltz from the brewery on hand. The menu includes hand-pulled barbecue chicken over cheesy grit cake with Copper Altbier; pot roast with Bauern Bock Doppelbock Lager; and more. $25; 1221 The Plaza; 704-334-7005.

The Palm offers a Woodford Reserve bourbon dinner Nov. 17. Among the courses: choice of veal osso buco braised in Woodford bourbon, on saffron risotto, or pan-seared Atlantic salmon with bourbon reduction over Yukon Gold whipped potatoes (each with Woodford Reserve neat), and warm buttermilk donuts with bourbon praline glaze. $90 ($75 for 837 club members); Phillips Place; 704-552-7450.

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! Well, it will have arrived Nov. 18 at Blue , which hosts a wine and food pairing to celebrate the midnight release of the 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau. Five dishes will be offered, including pan-seared scallop with roasted beet and beurre rouge; and Moroccan spiced breast of squab over almond basmati rice. $34.95; Hearst Tower at College and 5th streets; reservations required; 704-927-2583.

BLT Steak at the Ritz-Carlton uptown will also celebrate that release, with a special three-course menu and Cru Beaujolais pairings for $50 Nov. 18-23. The menu includes thyme-basted venison loin, chevre custard and more, and a special charcuterie place paired with Cru Beaujolais varietals will be offered at the bar for $10 each day. 704-972-4380.

Harper's at Carolina Place hosts an Olde Mecklenburg dinner Nov. 19 for $30. 11059 Carolina Place Parkway, Pineville; 704-541-5255.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dine/drink out, do good

Paco's Tacos & Tequila hosts a four-course Milagro tequila dinner Nov. 17, benefitting Pat's Place Child Advocacy Center. Milagro expert Lauren Nguyen will be on hand to discuss cocktails and a flight with diners. $40; 6401 Morrison Blvd.; reservations required: 704-716-8226.

Johnny’s Red Bowl plans a Water (for Troops) Into Wine event Nov. 5-12: Bring a case of water (24 bottles minimum, in 12-ounce plastic bottles) to the restaurant and you'll be able to buy bottles of wine at the "WIW" price, posted on the wine list. Examples: G. D. Cru du Beaujolas Moulin-A-Vent $5, Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay $13; 2009 Cartlidge & Browne Chardonnay $6. 10822 Providence Road; 704-814-7777.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Links of the week

In preparation for Thanksgiving, check out the "winning technique" on turkey-cooking here. (PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT suggesting this. I am AMUSED by this.)

Here's a serious moment: How to keep kids healthy.

And fun again: An amazing glimpse: I've watched it eleventy-thousand times today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Uptown gets another new one!

Halcyon: Flavors from the Earth is the name of the newest spot coming to uptown, from the folks at Something Classic.

It’ll be in the new Mint Museum (the balcony to the left if you’re looking at the front of the museum), and will open for lunch Thanksgiving weekend, then for dinner the following Tuesday, Nov. 30. Jill Marcus of Something Classic says chef will be Marc Jacksina, formerly of Lulu and Andrew Blair’s, and that the menu will be “farm to fork, seasonal and local … peasant … but very signature him.” Details to come ...

Expect dinner entrees in the $17-$23 range, lunch in the $8-$13 slot. You’ll be able to pull up to a 16-seat chef’s tasting table (of curly maple) for special menus or get a burger of house-ground meat, grab-and-go with a Something Classic sandwich at lunch if you’re pressed for time, dine out on a 35-seat patio (with the best view in all of Charlotte, says Marcus) and get drinks from a full bar.

Halcyon will be open beyond museum hours (daily for lunch; dinner Tuesday-Saturday) and is a collaboration – Marcus says she’s worked on the idea with the museum for about four years – but a stand-alone restaurant. Museum members will get a 10 percent discount at all meals. Parking is available off First Street in the Duke Energy deck.

For those of you keeping score at home, Halcyon joins Vapiano going into South Tryon Square, Harvest Moon Grille going into the Dunhill (formerly Monticello), the Midnight Diner arriving on Tryon, Vida opening at the EpiCentre, and several more spots on tap or in development.

Bits and crumbs

The third annual Taste of the Panthers will be Nov. 15, a spinoff of the Taste of the NFL, which raises money for and awareness about community hunger. This event, in the Bank of America stadium, will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Cost: $150 regular admission, $250 VIP (you get in an hour early, too). Participating restaurants include Aria, Bonterra, Chima, Encore, Enso, Kalu, McNinch House, Mimosa Grille, Paco's Tacos, Rooster's, Ruth's Chris, Sunset Grille and Zebra. Tickets:

Lava Bistro & Bar will begin Nov. 12 offering a kids' feature: all children up to 8 years old eat free, all day, every day, with the purchase of one adult entree. Also beginning Nov. 12: half-price select bottles of wine each Friday and Saturday night. 8708 J.W. Clay Blvd.; 704-549-0050.

Among the dishes on the fall/winter menu at ilios noche: a ground-in-house lamb burger with Greek seasonings, feta, caramelized onion and tzatziki sauce; pappardelle wtih wild mushrooms and chicken; burrata Caprese (fresh cream-filled mozzarella with tomato and basil; and seasonal fish. 11508 Providence Road; 704-814-9882.

Coming up: wine, coffee, wine, opera

Del Frisco's hosts a Palm Bay International wine dinner Nov. 4, with master sommelier Laura DePasquale presenting each wine. Among the pairings: house-cured salmon with caviar over English cucumber with Gossett "Grand Rose" Brut; and filet mignon with sauce Diane, seasonal roasted vegetables and 2004 and 2007 Jean-Luc Colombo "Terres Brulees." $125; 4725 Piedmont Row Drive; reservations (required): 704-552-5502.

This year, bagel chain Bruegger’s is adding a perk to its Bottomless Mug Club. That's the plan in which the owner gets free, limitless refills of coffee, tea or soft drinks through the following year. This year, a portion of proceeds from each mug sale goes to Children's Miracle Network. Kickoff for the sale is Nov. 10, when everyone can get a free cup of coffee at all Bruegger's (the hope is that you'll donate what you would have paid to CMN). Cost of the Bottomless Mug is $139 in Charlotte.

Aria and Sonoma uptown will offer a three-courses-for-$30 dinner Nov. 16 in conjunction with a Pinot Noir tasting (ostensibly to help you pick a wine for Thanksgiving) at Founders Hall arranged by the Wine Vault. The tasting will offer more than 20 Pinot Noirs, including small producers from California, Oregon, New Zealand and France, and will cost $25 (waived if you buy a case). The restaurants will offer three-for-$30 from their regular menu choices to tasting attendees, and will not charge them corkage fees. Reservations for the tasting: 704-548-9463.

Rudy’s hosts an opera night Nov. 16, with two sopranos, two tenors and a pianist, along with a $40 dinner menu that includes lobster bisque, risotto with shiitakes, filet mignon or sea bass and dessert. 6414 Rea Road; 704-544-4949.