Growlers Pourhouse is now open for lunch Tuesday-Friday (and also serves lunch Saturday-Sunday as it has for awhile) and has a special going on throughout March: Each Tuesday is BOGO – buy one, get one – up to $12. “Basically,” says co-owner Jeff Tonidandel, “you bring a buddy in for lunch and one of you eats free.” The deal excludes oysters, alcohol and takeout.
Coming to Ayrsley
Look for Piedmont Social House to open in the Ayrsley area this spring, if all goes according to the plans of New Forum Inc., one of the area's developers. Described as "a restaurant/entertainment venue," it's slated to have "a modern menu influenced by traditional Southern flavors," along with bowling, darts, billiards, ping pong, corn hole, shuffleboard, bocce ball and more. It'll also be huge: 21,000 square feet of indoor space, plus a 5,000-square-foot patio. 2135 Ayrsley Town Blvd.
Downton Abbey Tea at Ballantyne
The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge will offer "Downton Abbey Tea" from 1 to 5 p.m. March 11-14, with "Countess of Grantham’s favourite tea savouries and sweets." You can opt out of the actual tea part and opt into Spanish sherry for $8, or Brandy Alexanders for $10. And you can also dress up: The hotel says "Attendees are encouraged to dress in 1920-1930s period clothing." $36 ($18 for "junior patrons" 5-12); reservations required: 704-248-4100.
Also coming up: Irish Whiskey specials for St. Patrick’s Day at the hotel's Gallery restaurant.
Beard award semifinalists
The James Beard Foundation announced semifinalists for its restaurant and chef awards, the 25th anniversary edition of those recognitions. It adds a new one this year, Outstanding Baker, and the Carolinas placed three people in that national list of 25: Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery in Durham; Lionel Vatinet of La Farm in Cary; and Lauren Mitterer of Wildflour Pastry in Charleston.
Also making the first cut:
Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston in the Outstanding Chef lineup.
Edmund’s Oast in Charleston in Best New Restaurant.
Hominy Grill in Charleston in Outstanding Restaurant.
Charleston Grill in Outstanding Service.
Both FIG and McCrady's in Charleston in Outstanding Wine Program.
Ari Kolender of Leon's Oyster Shop in Charleston in Rising Star Chef.
And the Best Chef: Southeast list of 20 includes:
Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville
Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani in Asheville
John Fleer of Rhubarb in Asheville
Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston
Scott Howell of Nana's in Durham
Matthew Kelly of Mateo in Durham
Aaron Vandemark of Panciuto in Hillsborough
Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh
Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder
Jason Stanhope of FIG
Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow, Atlanta
Todd Ginsberg, The General Muir, Atlanta
Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur, Ga.
Kathy Cary, Lilly's, Louisville
Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville
Damian Heath, Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, W. Va.
Daniel Lindley, Alleia, Chattanooga
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville
Semifinalists in the 21 categories come from a list of more than 34,000 online entries (it's an open call). A committee then reviews the list and chooses semifinalists. That list goes to a volunteer panel of 600 judges across the country, which picks both the finalists (five in each category) and the winner. Finalists will be named March 24 and winners May 4 at an event in Chicago.
More info: www.jamesbeard.org.