Saturday, May 31, 2014

29th Showmars opens, in Rock Hill

Showmars has opened its 29th location, in the Milwood Shopping Center at 305 Herlong Ave. in Rock Hill. This one has an outdoor eating area with retractable walls, that can be heated and cooled. It's also got several menu items offered only at this location, including the "OMG (Oh My Greek) Feta Pita" (gyro meat, feta, provolone, tzatziki) and Folly Beach Shrimp Pita (Calabash shrimp, tartar sauce and lettuce).

There'll be grand opening celebrations noon-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with prizes and men specials.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Negroni Week at Soul

Soul Gastrolounge hits Negroni Week (yes, that's a thing, started by Imbibe magazine) June 2-8 with four versions of the classic cocktail, and part of the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood's Charlotte Health Center.

The traditional version of this drink (and if you, like I, eschew the sickly sweet, this is something you must try) is equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, garnished with orange peel.

Bar manager Andy Maurer's four:

The Tony Negroni: Topo gin (from Chapel Hill) with Campari and Dolin Vermouth de Chambery (which doubles down on the herbals anyway, but has also here been infused with basil), plus celery bitters, orange peel and basil for garnish. This is aged, in-house, in a charred oak barrel and served "on tap."

Aye, Negroni: The Botanist gin (from Scotland) with Campari and Primitivo Quiles Vermouth (it's Spanish), with a mist of Ardbeg (single malt Scotch) and some grapefruit peel.

Lemongrass Negroni Bianco: Bluecoat gin (it's ... American) with Campari and lemongrass-infused Dolin Vermouth Blanc (the one above is a Rouge), with a twist of lemon.

Negroni of the Mountain: Cardinal barrel-rested gin (Kings Mountain!), with Campari and Punt e Mes, which is an Italian vermouth with bitters added.

1500 Central Ave.; 704-348-1848.

Miro at StoneCrest closing

Spanish stalwart Miro at StoneCrest will close after serving dinner July 11, operating partner Phong Luong emailed today. He and Tri Luong have been on the restaurant scene since 1983, when managing defunct but not forgotten Tio Montero. Phong Luong said they're looking at a possible new location for Miro, a 15-year-old venture. Their Zen Fusion in Dilworth remains open; Sole and Ole Ole were their others. UPDATE: Apologies: I blanked on Ballantyne, and commenters corrected: That is the location that is closing.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New at Stagioni: Summer menu

Chef Larry Schreiber's got new dishes on the menu at Stagioni, such as: pork belly with balsamic glaze and pickled rhubarb; grilled octopus with pickled onion; clam and mussel pizza with cauliflower, bacon and housemade ricotta; gnocchi with chicken, summer truffles and fava bean; quail with pancetta; and more.
715 Providence Road;; 704-372-8110.

Yet another fine name for a Charlotte food event

"Swigs, Swine & Shade" is what The King's Kitchen will put on, starting at 7 p.m. June 10. Fifty dollars gets you grilled pork skewers, steamed buns with pork belly, St. Louis ribs and more (including posset! that's honey-curdled cream, here with jalapeno, lime and bacon brandy snap), each course paired with local beers from NoDa Brewing. Reservations: 704-375-1990; 129 W. Trade St.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cool Charlotte food event of the month (maybe the summer)

Bacon, beer, cars and chefs: The Piedmont Culinary Guild has zeroed in on something for everyone as it kicks off something called the Bacon, Brews & Cruise-in 2014 on June 29.

Held at Atherton Mill & Market in South End, it will offer a bacon cookoff, a beer brewoff and a classic car showoff (so this event has a merry plentitude of cool phrases to play with), from 3-7 p.m., and will benefit the Guild. That's a collective of chefs, farmers, teachers and food artisans in the area who aim to "connect and strengthen the food chain" (see? another great word play).

Participating chefs doing interesting things with bacon will be: David Quintana of Southminster; Ben Philpott of Block & Grinder; Clark Barlowe of Heirloom; Trenda Boone and Brandon Cress of modPaleo; Blake Hartwick of Blackthorne; Chris Coleman of The Asbury; Luca Annunziata and Matthew Krenz of Passion8; Marla Thurman and Terra Ciotta of the Art Institute; Alyssa Gorelick of Chef Alyssa's Kitchen;
Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill; Paul Verica of Heritage; Marc Jacksina of the upcoming Earl's Grocery; Geoff Blount of CPCC; and Greg Collier of The Yolk.

Tickets are $35 for beer and bacon; add $15 if you want to enter your classic car for a chance to win $500.

New at the N.C. Music Factory

Texicali Taco & Tequila Bar opens Thursday, if all goes according to plan, at the N.C. Music Factory, the latest from Alex Myrick and chef Gene Briggs, of Blue and Osso, plus banker Mike Harmon. This, in the spot The Saloon used to be, will offer Tex-Mex and Gulf shore cuisine, says Myrick in a press release: "Our decor is Day of the Dead, hotrods, 1950s rock-a-billy, and tattoo artistry.” Seating will include a replica of a 1934 Ford, being built in Monroe, murals by area artist Chris Davis, and other art.

Tequilas and "creative tequila drinks" will be on hand, and chef Carlos Rangle, originally from Mexico City, will be chef de cuisine.

On the menu: queso fundido (cheese, chorizo, onions and red pepper); carne asada fried (skirt steak over fries with sour cream, guacamole and cheese); tacos of smoked brisket, grilled mahi and chicken tinga; green chile pork burritos; pork carnitas; achiote salmon and more.

900 N.C. Music Factory; 704-716-2327;

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wine dinners coming up

Global hosts a four-course Spanish wine dinner June 3, with guests David Kemmerer and Joshua Lavis on hand. On the menu: smoked diver scallop ceviche with 2012 Hermanos de Villar “Oro de Castilla” Verdejo; braised pork cheeks with 2009 Baron de Magana Red Blend; and more. $65; reservations required: 704-248-0866; 3520 Toringdon Way.

Osso plans a "World Cup" food and wine pairing June 11, with five countries represented in the vineyard end, and five courses of Italian food paired with them. On the menu: soft shell crab succotash with fava beans and 2012 Joseph Drouhin, Mâcon-Villages (France); lamb rack and crisp lamb belly with 2009 Renato Ratti Barolo(Italy); and more, including South Africa, American and Argentinian wines. $65; reservations required: 704-971-0550; 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Copper River salmon in

The Red Rocks Cafe at 4223 Providence Road is offering nightly features of the fish starting with dinner May 20. 704-364-0402.

Copper River salmon (the photo above comes from, which offers more info about it) has become heralded as "the filet mignon of salmon," as a chef in this Seattle Weekly story puts it. That story also gives a brief history of the marketing push for the fish, and reasons for its being prized (and, of course, quotes a few naysayers).

Who else is serving it? Give me a yell.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Charlotte's Four Friends Brewing stops production

Four Friends Brewing, which began selling craft beer to the public in Charlotte in 2010, announced on its Facebook page today that it's is bidding "a fond farewell to the Queen City," and closed operations as of April 30.
Fans of the i77, an American IPA, which head brewer Jon Fulcher called its flagship brew, will be sorry to hear it, but the posting does mention these spots as where you can get "what will be the final glasses of 4FB product on the planet":

Common Market, VBGB Beer Hall & Garden, Midwood Smokehouse, Joe Hooper's Beverage and Sandwich Exchange, Taco Mac Sports Grill, Blackthorne Restaurant & Bar, CharBar No. 7, The Brickhouse Tavern, The Wine Shop at Rivergate, Queen City Q, Charlotte/s Jocks and Jills, Carolina Beer Temple, Custom Home Pubs, Kristophers Sports Bar & Restaurant, World of Beer in South End and Harry's Grille & Tavern.

New butcher & prepped foods at 7th Street Public Market

Look for meatball parms and other sandwiches in June from butcher Vic Giroux at What's Your Beef, which will go into the old Meat & Fish Co. (which is moving) at the 7th Street Public Market. Food editor Kathi Purvis has more at This Saturday (May 17), several spots will be serving up Giroux's bacon -- Orrman’s Cheese Shop will have a bacon grilled cheese sandwich, Pure Pizza a bacon vinaigrette salad and bacon blue cheese pizza, and Local Loaf a “bacon bits” pancake, special BLT and bacon burger. At Cloud 9 Confections: maple bacon cupcakes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Villa Antonio closes South Blvd. site; Ballantyne open

Villa Antonio has closed its South Boulevard location, confirmed general manager Charlene Teiro, so the Ballantyne location -- at 14825 Ballantyne Village Way -- is its sole restaurant now. "We just didn't want to have to run two locations anymore," she said, noting the longtime original closed "just a few days ago." (That opened in 1987, next door to the Silver Cricket and next to Pier 1, the latter of which is still open.)
Menus were identical at the two, so nothing changes there, and Teiro said all staff who wanted to relocate did.

5 chefs, 5 courses: Charlotte chefs collaborate May 20

Check out five chefs doing five courses for $125 in a chefs' collaborative dinner May 20 at Block & Grinder, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the Piedmont Culinary Guild. North Carolina brews and wines will be paired with each course.

Those are:

First course, from Heirloom's Clark Barlowe: Lucky Clay's red vein sorrel with Heritage Farms house-cured tesa (bacon), Kwong Tung black soy sauce and foraged honeysuckle.

Second, from The Asbury's Chris Coleman: “Shrimp and Grits” with Royal Red Shrimp, Anson Mills rice grits, local oyster mushroom, radishes, spring onions, sunburst tomato confit and popcorn bisque.

Third, from Passion8's Luca Annuziata: Charlotte Fish Co.'s day-boat catch with fresh tortellini.

Fourth, from Block & Grinder's Ben Philpott: A napoléon of Salem Hills Farm Beef, Small City Farms Swiss chard, Anson Mills cornmeal pancakes and veal demi glaze.

Fifth, from Heritage's Paul Verica: strawberries, balsamic, goat cheese, mint and anglaise.

Reservations: 704-364-2100 or 704-364-2133.

Dine out, do good

Bonterra hosts winemaker Todd Anderson May 17 in its vintner dinner series, and each ticket purchased (they're $150) pays for one patient's care for one year at the Free Cardiac Resource Center, according to the HeartBright Foundation. 1829 Cleveland Ave.; tickets here.

Wolfgang Puck Pizza | Bar will donate 10% of its proceeds from Memorial Day (May 26) to the Wounded Warrior Project, a veterans service organization that offers aid and resources to injured service members. 6706-C Phillips Place Court; 704-295-0101.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Free ribs for first 100 -- in three spots

Shane’s Rib Shacks do their annual Rib Giveaway this year May 17, with the first 100 diners at each location on that day getting a free half-rack of babyback ribs, a drink and a T-shirt. Addresses: 9330 Center Lake Drive; 440 E. McCullough Drive and 10092 Charlotte Hwy in Indian Land.

Friday, May 9, 2014

5Church turns 2

5Church will celebrate two years in business with complimentary wine and beer during dinner hours May 15, and will offer a five-course tasting menu by chef Jamie Lynch that night, too. Among the fare: Prime steak tartare; pan-seared tuna, ribeye done sous-vide, and more. (The regular menu will be available also.)

Live music and "celebratory surprises" (!) will be on hand as well, and a portion of the proceeds from the night will go to the Levine Children's Hospital.

704-919-1322; 127 N. Tryon St. (but the entrance is at 5th and Church streets).

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dine out, do good: A classic!

Six top area chefs collaborate May 31 on a six-course "Local Food Spring Feast" to benefit the Matthews Community Farmers' Market, with the dinner held at stalwart purveyor New Town Farms.

New Town owner/farmer Sammy Koenigsberg explains in the invitation that these chefs, "longtime supporters of a local food system" wanted to help rebuild and upgrade the market site, after damage done by winter weather.

The chefs: Luca Annunziata of Passion8; Joe Bonaparte of the Myrtle Beach Culinary Institute; Tim Groody of Fork!; Joe Kindred
 of Rooster's; Bruce Moffett of Barrington's/Good Food on Montford/Stagioni; and Paul Verica of Heritage Food and Drink.

One hundred seats will be available, and there'll be a silent auction and live music. Tickets are $150 per person, and available at

4512 New Town Road, Waxhaw.

More for Mom's Day (updated), and a freebie

Mother's Day plans? (It's May 11):

Brioche French toast topped with farmer’s market berries and lobster Cobb salad are two options on the BLT Steak brunch menu, plus a signature cocktail called the Campi Di Fragole. Breakfast 7-11 a.m. and brunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; reservations: 704-972-4380; 110 N. College St. in the Ritz-Carlton.

Bonterra offers a brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with entrees from $9 to $28. 1829 Cleveland Ave.; 704-333-9463.

The Conte Restaurant Group's Trattoria Antica (with three courses for $30, a $12 menu for those younger than 12) plus Toscana and Luce (each offering three courses for $35 and a $15 menu for younger than 12) will all be open.

Del Frisco will be open 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch and 4:30-9 for dinner, with a full menu, plus three courses for $39 at lunch (brunch entrees) and three for $49 at dinner. A kids' menu for $12 will also be offered. 4725 Piedmont Row Drive; 704-552-5502.

Dilworth Grille offers a buffet for $17.95 ($6.95 for 8 and younger), with an egg station, prime rib carving station, shrimp cocktail and more. 911 E. Morehead St.; 704-377-3808.

It's not usually open Sundays, but e2 emeril’s eatery will serve Mother's Day brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with a menu ranging from stuffed French toast (above) to blueberry crepes to Vegas strip steak with fried oysters. 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts; reservations: 704-414-4787.

Fahrenheit will be open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., serving a buffet with carving stations and sides from biscuits and gravy to Szechuan green beans, for $42.95 for adults, $24.95 for 5-18 and free for those 4 and younger. The full dinner menu will be offered 5–9 p.m. 222 S. Caldwell St.; reservations: 980-237-6718.

Gallery offers brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with seasonal entrees, seafood, salads, accompaniments and desserts, and live entertainment. $65 ($32 for 5-12, free for 4 and younger). Reservations required, at 704-248-4100; Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Harper's Carolina Place will open at 10 a.m., and plans specials in addition to the regular menu -- and you'll get a certificate worth $20 off the next visit (as long as you spend at least $50 on food). 11059 Carolina Place Parkway, 704-541-5255.

Kabuto's Lake Norman will have a combination hibachi special with a glass of Kendall Jackson wine (when time of day permits) for $29.95 (plus a $10 gift certificate for moms) 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Reservations: 704-655-0077.

Siblings The Liberty and Lumiere will be open: The first offers a special three-course brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for $29.95 ($9.95 kids 10 and younger), and the second will have its regular dinner menu that night. 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830; and 1039 Providence Road; 704-372-3335.

Mama Ricotta's will serve a buffet 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. with a carving station and a fresh mozzarella bar, for $29.95 ($12 for kids 7-12, free for younger)

Passion8 will serve brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., three courses for $38, and dinner, a la carte, 4-7 p.m. 803-802-7455; 3415 Highway 51 N, Fort Mill.

And the freebie: A free dish of frozen yogurt for moms at Samuel Batt's 16 Charlotte-area locations of TCBY. Those are at Colony Place, Blakeney, Birkdale, Wesley Chapel, Ballantyne Village, Baxter Village, Quail Corners, the University area and the Arboretum, as well as on Abbey Place and Piedmont Row Drive in Charlotte, and in Matthews, Rock Hill, Davidson, Huntersville and Waxhaw. Details at

Chocolate Evenings coming up

The Secret Chocolatier hosts "An Evening of Chocolate: Spring Twilight" on May 17, June 7 and June 21, with what it calls "elements of spring and summer." That means diners will get three chocolate-inspired dessert courses made with locally grown strawberries from chef Bill Dietz. The events will be held at the Ballantyne location: 11318 N. Community House Road. Tickets are $50 for a table of two; reservations: 704-323-8178, ext. 0.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

'Allure of Flowers After Hours' at Charlotte Mint

Tickets just went on sale for the Mint Museum's "Allure of Flowers After Hours," a five-course, food-and-art-themed dinner riffing on the Mint's "Allure of Flowers" exhibit and coordinated by Jill Marcus of Halcyon (at the Mint) and Something Classic. The Mint hopes to be able to serve it on the outdoor terrace -- that would be a first for the place. Also worth noting: Marcus is bringing in Maggie Ruppert to create the cocktails. Last year's food-and-art dinner sold out. Tickets ($120; $105 for Mint members) and info: here.