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7 hours ago, kayman said:

I'm loving the restaurant scene is reflecting the rapidly growing racial diversity of the Charlotte metro area. Especially, those of the African and Sub-Saharan African and East African (both are considered black) diaspora relocating here in droves.  

I agree! More options all across the board!  You may have to drive to other parts of the metro but if you name pretty much any country, chances are there is at least one restaurant or supermarket in the metro area that offers products representing that country or region of the world. 

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I vehemently disagree. Given our pop the choices are surprisingly low. The grocery stores are especially terrible. The "international" section is comprised mainly of hard taco shells and rice. ;-)

Off topic, but I used to be really impressed by the micro brew selection at Publix and HT. In the past year or so though I'd swear micro shelf space is down 50% replaced by crap like Miller light with mango and a huge selection of hard seltzer.  I'm hoping it's driven by the economy ($12 six packs are tough to take) and not a permanent change in user preference?

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Outback Steakhouse reinventing itself??? I do believe their first Charlotte area restaurant was in the Dilworth area back in the 1990's!

Outback Steakhouse chooses Charlotte market to debut new prototype

http://media.bizj.us/view/img/12264793/outback-steakhouse-bar*304xx2776-1851-0-116.jpg
OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE

The bar at Outback Steakhouse has been streamlined to improve the restaurant's efficiency.

Outback Steakhouse has a new prototype — and one of the first restaurants of that design recently opened in Charlotte's Steele Creek area.

Two others — in Fort Worth, Texas, and Polaris, Ohio — have opened this year.

The Australian-themed, casual-dining chain plans to build 75 to 100 additional restaurants in the U.S. It also will begin refreshing its existing restaurants to incorporate elements of the new prototype, says Brett Patterson, president.

“The evolution of Outback is very visible in the new prototype,” he says.

The new layout allows Outback — part of Bloomin’ Brands (NASDAQ: BLMN) — to continue to grow its off-premise business, but also elevate the in-restaurant dining experience, Patterson says.

“The smaller size also allows us to bring restaurants to areas where larger units may not have been possible,” he adds.

Prototype ideation started in early 2020 but was derailed by the pandemic. Plans ramped back up that summer, with a focus on design, technology and cooking platforms.

“We had some real estate deals we had done. We said let’s test this,” Patterson says. “It’s just been a tremendous success so far.”

The new prototype trims the restaurant’s footprint to roughly 5,000 square feet — a nearly 17% reduction.  

Expect a more contemporary and vibrant color palette with edgy art pieces and a chandelier reminiscent of the Southern Cross constellation — allowing diners to enjoy dinner under the stars. A graffiti mural draws inspiration from Aussie surf culture and one of Australia’s most famous landmarks, the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Charlotte artist Lindsey Jenneman was tapped to add locally inspired art; one wall features a koala wearing a crown that says "Queen City."

That resonates more with Outback being part of the community,” Patterson says.

The dining room has been revamped with the addition of a straight bar versus a U shape. The dining room and bar seats 187 guests — down by a handful — but Outback has maximized its seating efficiency to better use that space.

Upgrades include new kitchen technology to drive efficiency and accuracy. Servers use tablets to take orders and a team service model is used.

The menu has been updated at prototype locations with options such as the smoked porterhouse, served on a wood platter under a dome of hickory smoke, or the caramel mustard-glazed pork chops.

A bump out has been added to handle off-premise and delivery business. Outback is adding catering as well.

Another added perk of the new design? It costs 20% less to build than the former restaurant model, Patterson says.

The Outback brand has been around for 34 years. The first Charlotte restaurant opened in Dilworth in 1991. Today it has 14 restaurants in the Charlotte market.

“We do just very well. The brand resonates with the consumer in the Carolinas,” Patterson says.

He sees opportunities for additional locations here as Charlotte’s population climbs and the city’s reach expands.

“You haven’t seen our last opening in the Charlotte market,” he says. “We continue to see opportunities in some of these markets that were really green a few years ago.”

The company is committed to growing at 3% annually.

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Australia adjacent information: I recently learned that straight line air distance from Beijing, China to Sydney is greater than Beijing to London. Almost 500 miles further, so not a minor difference. I went to a globe to confirm this measurement and it is true. As is said of Oz, the tyranny of distance is their destiny. 

(Commerce can call anything Australian because so few people have been to Oz and know the truth of the place. I have not, thus my ignorance demonstrated above.)

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22 hours ago, rancenc said:

I've been to the location in Atlanta, so I'll definitely support another of the rapidly growing number of black owned businesses in Metro Charlotte.

Speaking of Total Wine & More considering they have a South Carolina presence and much more lax alcohol and beverage regs, why haven't they opened a location in York or Lancaster counties yet in either Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay, or Indian Land ? It's strange there are only 4 locations of Total Wine & More in the metro area when other regions smaller than us, like the Triangle, have already have 5 locations.  It's also easier to operate a private liquor, spirits establishment in our SC counties.

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On 5/21/2022 at 2:05 AM, elrodvt said:

I vehemently disagree. Given our pop the choices are surprisingly low. The grocery stores are especially terrible. The "international" section is comprised mainly of hard taco shells and rice. ;-)

Off topic, but I used to be really impressed by the micro brew selection at Publix and HT. In the past year or so though I'd swear micro shelf space is down 50% replaced by crap like Miller light with mango and a huge selection of hard seltzer.  I'm hoping it's driven by the economy ($12 six packs are tough to take) and not a permanent change in user preference?

The new Super G should help, but my secret hope is that it reveals pent-up demand and a bigger player like H-Mart or 99 Ranch decides they should expand here.

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4 hours ago, asthasr said:

The new Super G should help, but my secret hope is that it reveals pent-up demand and a bigger player like H-Mart or 99 Ranch decides they should expand here.

H-Mart's expansion to Charlotte is coming. We're an extremely diverse market that doesn't get the proper amount of international supermarket choices as our rapidly growing .peers

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New restaurant option coming to the Southpark area!

Frank Scibelli snaps up prime SouthPark space for Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria

http://media.bizj.us/view/img/12049257/calle-sol-mk014*304xx5562-3708-0-0.jpg
MELISSA KEY/CBJ

The original Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria is in the former Penguin Drive-In space in Plaza Midwood.

Veteran restaurateur Frank Scibelli has signed a deal to bring Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria to SouthPark.

He intends to open a 3,800-square-foot restaurant in early to mid-2023 at Apex SouthPark. It will be next to the Hyatt Centric, and have dual entrances via the hotel and from the street.

That $185 million development is by Childress Klein and Denver-based real estate private-equity group Ascentris.

“We think it will be a great spot for us,” Scibelli says.

He expects to invest between $1.5 million and $2 million into that venture.

The SouthPark expansion for Calle is a natural fit; his FS Food Group already operates Little Mama's, Paco’s Tacos and Yafo Kitchen there.

“They’re all really, really successful. It’s a great submarket for Charlotte,” Scibelli says.

This marks Calle Sol’s second location, following one in Plaza MidwoodIt serves classic fare from Cuba to Peru, with flavors from Latin America. 

“We think it’s a concept that has good legs,” Scibelli says. “It just has an opportunity to grow. You just have to do one at a time and see where it leads you.”

Expect that space to have a lively atmosphere, with Caribbean color schemes.  A large patio is planned.

Executive chef Paul Cruz — a longtime FS Good Group Employee with Latin roots — will oversee the Calle Sol location. He will be joined by Peruvian-born executive chef Juan Albrizionm, who spent 14 years in Miami, Oakland, California, and Lima, Peru, cooking his homestyle food for upscale restaurants.

Expect the locations to have similar menus — with new additional items from both chefs in the future. The menu will feature a variety of Peruvian ceviches and options such as ham croquetas. There will be entrees such as the Vaca Frita — braised shredded beef crisped with garlic, onions and fresh lime — and Shrimp Mojo — where Argentinian red shrimp are sauted in a dry white wine with diced tomatoes, cilantro mojo and butter.

Chino-Latino dishes — those that follow the emigration of Chinese workers to Latin America — offer a fusion of cuisines with options such as Chaufa, a Peruvian stir-fried rice. There’s also Lomo Saltado where stir-fried strips of marinated sirloin are combined with French fries, white rice and spices.

Rum-based cocktails will be highlighted, with plans for a 15- to 20-seat bar.

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New restaurant chain entering the Charlotte market with two proposed locations.

 

Piada Italian Street Food will crack into Charlotte — and the Carolinas — with its first restaurant next month.

The Ohio-based fast-casual concept will open July 7 in the Cotswold neighborhood at 336B S. Sharon Amity Road.

 

“We are super excited to finally make it to Charlotte and know that Cotswold is a great central base that we can grow from, starting first with serving our neighbors in the surrounding area,” says Lance Juhas, chief operations officer and steward of guest experience.

A second restaurant is planned at University Place at 8932 JM Keynes Drive.

Piada draws inspiration from roadside family-run street food carts and markets in Rimini, Italy.

Its first restaurant opened in 2010. It now has locations throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota and Texas.

Cotswold marks the 45th location for the brand.

The menu is centered around the piada — a thin-crust Italian flatbread that is baked on a stone grill and filled with Italian-inspired ingredients, before being hand-rolled.

The restaurant dishes up made-to-order meals. Guests are able to customize piadas, pasta bowls or chopped salads with a variety of grill items, vegetables, cheeses, sauces, dressings and toppings. Vegetarian options are available as well.

There are also signature dishes such as the Avocado Piada, filled with pancetta, arugula, mozzarella, avocado, sweet corn and tomato drizzled with a basil aioli — or Piada’s greens and grains bowls and tossed pastas with sauces ranging from carbonara and basil pesto to Pomodoro.

Piada announced last year that it was targeting North Carolina — specifically the Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham markets for expansion.

“The feeling of community is at our core and we look forward to being a delicious option for the people of Charlotte and all of North Carolina in the coming years," Juhas says.

The restaurant will open at 10:45 a.m. on July 7, following a ribbon-cutting event. The first 25 guests in line will receive free Piada for a year.

Prior to opening, a number of tasting events will be held. Those include at Lenny Boy Brewing at 6 p.m. on June 22; Catawba Brewing at 5:30 p.m. on June 23; and at the Cotswold restaurant on July 2, 5 and 6.

Piada's regular hours will be from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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It is the Queens Feast this weekend and all next week aka Charlotte Restaurant Week.  Try some place new and local.  Here is my view from the Speedway Club in Concord which is participating and since this is a private dining club your only chance until the next restaurant week.   No testing or activity today but many days there is as I have seen it.   The food is really good and the setting is very quiet and nice. 

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  • 1 month later...

Summerbird at the Railyard:

1) Upscale Chickfla (double the prices, slightly more menu variety)

2) Chicken sandwich was well fried (Panko breaded I think), not greasy at all, but not much flavor to bird. Was significantly better cooked than Salted Melon's chicken sandwich  (only had one visit there)

3) Sauce and pickles were decent, but would have preferred more spice to the chicken and less emphasis on sauce...

4) This lifelong Southerner says that "Summer Street Corn" is not a thing (but they call it that anyway). This seemed to be an exact recreation of the  maux choux from Queen City Q plus some breadcrumbs on top. Was only OK.

5) Good tea

I'll go back since the location is very Blue Line convenient, but I was not wowed by it.

Edited by kermit
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22 hours ago, kermit said:

Summerbird at the Railyard:

1) Upscale Chickfla (double the prices, slightly more menu variety)

2) Chicken sandwich was well fried (Panko breaded I think), not greasy at all, but not much flavor to bird. Was significantly better cooked than Salted Melon's chicken sandwich  (only had one visit there)

3) Sauce and pickles were decent, but would have preferred more spice to the chicken and less emphasis on sauce...

4) This lifelong Southerner says that "Summer Street Corn" is not a thing (but they call it that anyway). This seemed to be an exact recreation of the  maux choux from Queen City Q plus some breadcrumbs on top. Was only OK.

5) Good tea

I'll go back sine the location is very Blue Line convenient, but I was not wowed by it.

Mostly the same but I found it a bitttt better than that. The tenders need to be more consistent but I think the sauces are excellent. The southern sandwich was great and I think they will improve over time. It is definitely great for the South End fast-casual scene. 

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On 7/24/2022 at 8:27 PM, tozmervo said:

Does anyone have a beat on how Amelie's is doing on reopening in uptown? 

I'm not sure, but I went to the newly relocated NoDa location a few weeks ago and was extremely disappointed to the point where I don't ever see myself going back there. 

The new location is quite modular and sterile with standard casual restaurant tables and chairs...basically akin to a fast food place. I've seen Paneras that were cozier. I miss the different seating options the older location had, and I miss the character that came with the older building. Food and coffee were terrible. I ordered an avocado toast and the avocado was this sour tasting pre-packaged goo that was smothered in balsamic vinegar. Our coffee was cold.

Sad because I have so many great memories at the original NoDa location. 

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6 hours ago, steve_o said:

Had the same experience.  Brought guests from out of town and was embarrassed.  It felt like a typical low end chain in a nondescript box.  Threw most of my food/coffee away. 

Yup, they not only lost the charm, they lost the quality. It is a real shame. I would love to see them get Uptown back open and make it the flagship.

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The original Little Village Grill (near JWU) is closing. So sad.  They opened another location near government center a couple years ago.  Although this closing isn’t necessarily because they weren’t busy, it’s moreso because of the aftermath of Covid: hard to find employees, cost of food and supplies etc etc :(

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On 9/16/2022 at 5:40 PM, Temeteron said:

The original Little Village Grill (near JWU) is closing. So sad.  They opened another location near government center a couple years ago.  Although this closing isn’t necessarily because they weren’t busy, it’s moreso because of the aftermath of Covid: hard to find employees, cost of food and supplies etc etc :(

And now we're down to like three decent quick lunch options in that part of Fourth Ward, including the Harris Teeter.

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Interesting. 

I haven't eaten beef in 10 years (and even when I did eat it I always hated burgers and steak), but I recall the burgers at Whataburger being quite good...my friends in Austin rave about it. Far and away better than the burgers at the infamous SoCal chain that shall not be named...

Edited by LKN704
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