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Sur La Table plans relocation, culinary program at SouthPark

Cooking school fans may have a new option later this spring at SouthPark Mall.

Cookware retailer Sur La Table announced that it plans to move into another space in the Dillard’s wing at the mall with a possible opening date of May 7. The relocation announced Friday includes 6,000 square feet, 20 full- and part-time employees, and a culinary program. The current store, near Nordstrom, was estimated at 5,500 square feet when it opened in 2003.

Although Sur La Table stores in many cities have cooking schools that frequently bring in well known chefs and cookbook authors, the SouthPark location has not had that. When the store was originally announced, the company cited high mall rents for space, the difficulty of venting cooking equipment inside the mall and evening classes that would end after the mall closed.

Over the years, when the Charlotte store has hosted book signings with very popular authors such as Paula Deen and Emeril Lagasse, tables sometimes have been placed outside the store in the mall to accommodate crowds.

Sur La Table is based in Seattle and has 115 stores, with cooking classes available at more than 50 locations, making it the country’s largest hobbyist cooking school. A nearby competitor, A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, has recently begun expanding, with a new location near Charleston, and has announced that it is seeking a space to open a store in Charlotte. Whole Foods also offers cooking classes at many locations, including its SouthPark store.

The announcement Friday did not specify the new location within the SouthPark complex, although a spokesperson said it would be in the mall. Building permits filed in January show renovations will cost $689,000. Staff writer Ely Portillo contributed to this story.

Purvis: 704-358-5236
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