Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nan and Byron's getting closer

With Marc Jacksina (above, left, from a Twitter feed) coming on as chef de cuisine at the upcoming Nan and Byron's (Jamie Lynch, right, is executive chef, as he is at sibling 5Church), look for a menu soon. Construction at the place should finish mid-September if all goes according to plan, says Alejandro Torio of MAP Management. Nan and Byron's will be an American place in the former Vinnie's in South End at 1714 South Blvd.; you can take a look at some plates being played with on its Facebook page here. Maybe we can have a contest with readers guessing the exact number of square inches tatted on these two ...

Photo by

Maters at Harper's

Harper's restaurants (in Charlotte at Carolina Place and SouthPark) are doing their 14th Annual Tomato Fest for as long as the crop lasts. Locally grown tomatoes go into all sorts of things, from summer tomato bisque with sea salt, basil and cornbread, to parmesan-crusted trout with lemon butter and fresh tomato succotash.

Harper's Steve Seitz said, "Even with the rainy weather this year, which has made it a difficult growing season for farmers, our longstanding relationships with local growers have enabled us to still bring some of the very best tomatoes to our guests... We are proud to serve tomatoes from farms throughout the Carolinas, including Beaverland Farms, Whitaker Farms, Lowland Farms, Simpson’s and WP Rawl and Sons."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tune in to WFAE Wednesday at 9 a.m.

I and my restaurant writer co-- let's say co-conspirators -- will be chewing the virtual fat with the ever-gracious and garrulous Mike Collins on "Charlotte Talks."

Got something you want us to discuss? Let me know now, and tune into 90.7 FM at 9 a.m. (you can live stream it, comment, email and more here.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sunday brunch at Q

Queen City Q now served Sunday brunch, including Burnt Ends and Grits (that's brisket) and pork belly eggs Benedict. The meal is served 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and dishes range from about $5 to $12, at 225 E. 6th St.; 704‐334‐8437.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wine, beer, all kinds of dinners ... and magic!

"Magic & Wine" (for adults only, I'm told) happens July 28 at ilios noche: wine and appetizers and magic tricks from Chris Hannibal. $60; 11508 Providence Road; 704-814-9882.

Roosters Uptown offers a New Town Farms dinner Aug. 1 for $65. As the farm's Sammy Koenigsberg put it, "We are excited about this dinner because Jimmy Noble's restaurants have been our best customer at New Town Farms consistently for many years... (Roosters downtown) chef Joe Kindred is a particularly zealous supporter of the farms in our area." On the menu: Whynot Farms Berkshire salumi with fried New Town Farms pickles; New Town Farms heirloom tomato gazpacho and carpaccio; Red Bro chicken (a French heritage breed, pasture raised), fig tart and more. 150 N. College St.; 704-370-7667.

Lulu hosts a J. Lohr brunch tasting at noon Aug. 3 for $45, with the Wine Vault. On the menu: chicken liver pate with Bay Mist Riesling; creme brulee French toast with Arroyo Vista Chardonnay; Fogs Reach Pinot Noir; a merguez omelet with South Ridge Syrah, and more. 1911 Central Ave.; resrvations: 704-548-9463.

The Crepe Cellar hosts a beer dinner Aug. 5 for $50, with beers from Allagash, including a bourbon-barrel-aged black and two aged sours. The menu ranges from oysters on the half shell with Allagash Blonde to N.C. striped bass with White, to confit of duck with Golden Brett, and more. 3116 N. Davidson St.; reservations required at 704-910-6543.

B.Y.O.B. at Upstream is Aug. 9 for $55: You bring your own wine and chef Tom Dyrness does a four-course meal. 6902 Phillips Place; reservations required: 704-556-7730.

Capital Grille gets Generous

Through Sept. 1, The Capital Grille offers its Generous Pour wine event: For $25 (and purchase of an entree), you can get pours of any of seven wines. The list: Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc; La Crema Pinot Gris; Freemark Abby Chardonnay; Hartford Court Pinot Noir; Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Merlot, Taylor Peak; Atalon Cabernet; and Arrowood Syrah, Saralee's Vineyard. All were chosen by the chain's George Miliotes. 201 N. Tryon St., 704-348-1400.

The restaurant will host a drawing for Generous Pour, in which a winner will get one of only 200 Double Magnum (3L) bottles produced and signed by the La Crema Pinot Gris winemaker, Elizabeth Grant-Douglas.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tupelo Honey: It's official

Tupelo Honey's Elizabeth Sims confirms officially:

The Asheville-based restaurant will open in early December, if things go according to plan, in the former Pewter Rose spot in South End. Coolest detail? They're adding an elevator, so diners won't have to climb those intimidating steps (and those who can't climb will be able to go).

The menu will be the same as the original's, but the decor will aim to be Charlottean, said Sims, marketing director for the business, owned by Steve Frabitore. He bought the restaurant (which opened in 2000) in 2008 and has since opened a second Asheville location (on the south side) and ones in Knoxville (2012), Greenville (S.C., in June) and plans to open in Chattanooga in September.

"We try to take the fun, whimsical essence of our brand into the new market," said Sims. "We want to be a Charlotte Tupelo Honey (and) we are honored to be in (the former Pewter Rose) location."

Details to come. And just so I'm not the only one humming for the rest of the day: This.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sankey's opens July 25

Sankey's Taproom and Grille is scheduled to open formally July 25 in Matthews, a pub from the Custom Home Pub folks, aimed at offering local beer and locally sourced food. On the tentative menu: sliders, housemade chips, an assortment of salads and sandwiches, ranging from the signature Sankey (roast beef or grilled chicken with fries between grilled sourdough bread with slaw and cheese) and cheesesteaks to burgers and BLTs. Prices run about $5 to $10.

The beer selection, says partner and GM Andy Tritten, will focus on N.C. and Charlotte breweries, and the place invited breweries to hire local artists to paint canvases that decorate the place. Among those: Birdson, Noda, Foothills, Carolina Brewery and Lone Rider. The place will offer 10 on draft. (By the way, a "sankey" is a coupler that taps kegs of draft beer.)

11416 E. Independence Blvd. in Matthews; 704-847-0464;

Free pizza; more waffles and dogs

Libretto's opens its third Charlotte location -- at ParkTowne Village, 1600 E. Woodlawn Road -- at 11 a.m. July 26. But the first 100 paying guests on July 27 will get free pizza for a year: That means each will get 52 coupons for two slices of pizza, which Libretto's value at more than $250 total. Libretto's, which has a location in New York City, offers third-generation, family-style Italian food, from calzones to desserts;

Cast Iron Waffles now has a second location, at Piedmont Town Center near SouthPark; the first is in Ballantyne. Signature dish: Belgian liege waffles, made on a cast-iron waffle press;

Meanwhile, JJ's Red Hots has also got a second location going. The original is in Dilworth, and the new one is in Ballantyne Commons, at 15105 John J. Delaney Drive, scheduled to open, serving the same hot dog menu specializing in the Buffalo native Sahlen's Smokehouse dog, on July 31.

'Cue on Parade(.com)

In case you missed it, Sunday's Parade magazine (inserted in the Sunday paper) featured a cover story about barbecue by food writer John T. Edge, plus a list of places opened in the past five years or so in several cities across the country -- and "for once," as a reader said on Twitter, it's "a list that doesn't only include places in Austin and NYC!"

Parade says it has a circulation of 33 million and readership of 63 million - so maybe the word will actually get out ...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lumiere coming from The Liberty partners

Formal French dining -- can it make a return to Charlotte? Matthew Pera and Tom Condron think so, and plan to open Lumiere in the fall, in the Wolfman-Pizza-turned-Einstein-Bagels spot by the Myers Park Harris Teeter, at 1039 Providence Road.

"There's really no upscale French anymore," said Pera, who with chef Condron opened The Liberty, a South End gastropub, after both had worked in finer dining venues in and out of town. (Pera had GM'd the French Marais, for one thing, and the British Condron had been exec chef for the Harper's group, and has cooked with Joel Robuchon, Daniel Boulud and Jean-Louis Palladin, among other French stars.) Both recall the Charlotte era of Marais, Pastis, Patou and Etienne's Townhouse. "You had all these really good French restaurants, and now? Not so much," said Pera.

"We want to do a real fine dining (French restaurant). Tom will be able to touch every plate at 55 seats... We really want a real French restaurant where you can really feel special... We feel like things aren't 'back,' but at 55 seats, we can really put the spotlight back on French food."

Wagner Murray will do the design of the new space, Pera said. Expect dinner only with entrees $25 to $35, and a menu that's about "65 to 70 percent" modern, "the same way Le Bernardin or Eleven Madison Park are modern; we're not taking test tubes to the table." The place will have some old school French dishes, because "that's fun," and will do dinner-only at first, perhaps adding Sunday brunch. Wines will be mostly French, with some California and old world additions. Web:

Friday, July 5, 2013

More (lots more!) from chef Ashley Christensen

Chef Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner and more is expanding in Raleigh -- which you'd think would be opening a new place, right? Well, no. THREE new places. Here's the scoop from The Raleigh News & Observer. (Photo of the chef at Poole's by the N&O.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Week -- and PlateShare! -- approach

Charlotte Restaurant Week’s headed our way again, July 19-28, and the website is live at Cool new development: PlateShare debuts.

That’s a new mobile app that lets you help feed the hungry: It rounds your restaurant bill up to the nearest dollar and donates the difference, in this case to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Katie Levans of Charlotte came up with the micro-giving startup, designed for restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores or any other time, and there’s an app for both iPhone and Android.

You set up a profile and create or link to your PayPal account. Then you enter a bill total into the app and let it calculate the rounded-up donation and complete the donation. You can also connect with other users and let more people know about the effort through social media.

Charlotte’s Tattoo Projects is doing the development and design. “Nothing was outsourced,” Levans said in a press release, “because we have the resources and the talent to pull this off right here at home.”

Participating restaurants in the Week will encourage diners to download and donate.

Queen City Q is the first point-of-sale partner for PlateShare, meaning that the uptown barbecue restaurant’s bills will offer a PlateShare round-up option on receipts, beginning July 5.
More info at or PlateShare on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Harvest Moon Grille restaurant folks opening 2nd

The Harvest Moon Grille folks will be opening a second restaurant in Lincolnton, in late September if all goes according to plan. It will be called Farmer-Baker-Sausage Maker, and will be a more casual spot, the restaurant's folks say, open at first just for lunch, probably. The menu is still in the planning stages, and construction began yesterday.