Want to know how to make the owner of a new food business laugh? Ask them when they think they’ll open.
Inspections, construction delays, endless rigamorole around signing leases and getting a Certificate of Occupancy? You can slap a couple of months or six onto any target date when you hear about a new place.
With that, let’s check in on the list of new restaurants and food businesses I’m most excited about this fall and winter.
First, though, let’s stop one rumor: With so many nationally known names coming into Charlotte (hello, Ford Fry of Atlanta and New York’s Shake Shack), there have been persistent reports of a Charlotte location by Stephen Starr, the New York and Philadelphia restaurateur behind major spots like Buddakan and Le Coucou. Not true: Starr says he has no plans to come to Charlotte.
How do I know? When I was in Philadelphia recently for the Association of Food Journalists’ annual conference, Starr was a speaker on one of the panels. When I approached him after the session, he noticed my nametag, grinned and immediately said, “No, I’m not coming to Charlotte.” His organization has gotten several calls about those rumors, and he says he definitely has no plans here in the foreseeable future.
So, what are the updates on some places I’m tracking?
1. Flourshop, by chef/owner Trey Wilson of Customshop. The Back Lot area of Park Road Shopping Center is becoming a real destination for food. Everytime I drop by Dot Dot Dot, I try to peek in to the Flourshop site across the parking lot, where the construction is well under way. Wilson says he’s shooting for mid-November.
2. Haymaker, by Asheville chef/owner William Dissen, in Ascent Uptown, 225 S. Poplar St. across from Romare Bearden Park. Dissen hopes to get a certificate of occupany in December and open in January.
3. Hello Sailor, Joe and Katy Kindred’s new seafood restaurant on Lake Norman. It was expected to open in early fall, but construction delays have pushed that to November or December.
4. Paul Verica’s new restaurant at 7th and Pecan. We still can’t give a name for it – The Stanley or the Colonial, in honor of the old grocery, are both floating around – but Verica has been posting layouts and color schemes on Facebook. He’s still on track for early 2018. Heritage in Waxhaw closes at the end of the week so Verica can concentrate on getting the new place ready. (There’s no word yet on finalized plans for the same complex by Chapel Hill star mixologist Gary Crunkleton, who says he’s still in lease negotiations.)
5. Superica, in the Design Center of the Carolinas, 101 W. Worthington Ave. Speaking of Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry, his Tex-Mex restaurant Superica in the Design Center had been expected “early” in 2018. But now that’s going to be spring, possibly March or April. There’s more Ford coming later in 2018, with El Felix coming to the rebuilt Strawberry Hill at Providence and Fairview Road.
6. Lincoln’s Haberdashery, 1300 South Blvd. The paper is still up on the windows at Michael Shortino’s new market and kitchen extension for Futo Buta. Shortino plans to open quietly in late October. He says he’ll start with mornings, to focus on the barista bar and pastries, then will add hours and more features (wine bar, take-out, lunch) as he learns what the South End neighborhood will support.