Whenever I head to a restaurant for the first time, I Google the name to get the address and the hours. And, obviously, to scour the menu.
But there are a bunch of restaurants in Charlotte that are named after people. I don’t always stop to wonder who they are, or to find out. And a couple of phone calls I made while writing this revealed that some people who work at these places don’t stop to do that, either.
This week, I did. Let’s take a look at some of the people behind local restaurant names:
Named after: Sole proprietor Jim Emad’s wife, Kay. It’s her family name.
What to expect here: A menu featuring classic French dishes that are prepared and presented at the table with a gueridon, a mobile cooking cart. Dinner menu items include Caviar with Tuna Tartare, Roasted Tiger Prawns and Escargot Bourguignon.
27th Floor Charlotte Plaza, 201 South College Street
Named after: Fran Scibelli, the owner. Scibelli first ventured onto the Charlotte culinary scene in 1994 when she opened her first restaurant, the Metropolitan Café. Then came the artisan bakery Metropolitan Bakery and, of course, Fran’s.
What to expect: Fresh food, simple elegance and service “capturing the essential meaning of hospitality.” Dinner menu items include Caramelized Onion, Ham and Gruyere Flatbread, Five Cheese Mac and Cheese, and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad.
2410 Park Road
Also commonly known as Al Mike’s Tavern.
Named after: The original bosses of now-owner Steve Casner. Casner was manager of the restaurant when it first opened in 1983 and his bosses (and then owners) were Alexander Copeland III and A. Michael Troiano, Jr. Casner became the sole owner in 2004.
What to expect here: A local American tavern atmosphere serving “fresh, unpretentious food.” Dinner menu items include Shrimp Marsala, Feta Chicken and 4th Ward Stroganoff.
401 W. 9th St.
Named after: … Not a person. Barrington’s was named for chef Bruce Moffett’s hometown, Barrington, Rhode Island. This was Moffett’s first restaurant in Charlotte, opening in 2000. Now Moffett Restaurant Group has three concepts in the city.
What to expect: An intimate, bistro-style space with upscale American cuisine. Dinner menu items include Alaskan Halibut, Maple View Farm Duck Breast and Handmade Parmesan Gnocchi.
7822 Fairview Road
Named after: Owners Jon and Kim Dressler (Fun fact: They met 15 years ago while working at the same Charlotte steakhouse.) They opened Dressler’s in Birkdale Village in 2003. In 2010, they opened their second location at Metropolitan.
What to expect: An atmosphere inspired by warmth and family. Dinner menu items include: Thai Peanut Calamari, Sauteed Salmon and Filet Mignon.
1100 Metropolitan Ave #125 and 1A, Birkdale Village, 8630 Lindholm Dr, Huntersville
Named after: Also … not a person. Greg Auten said that when he and his partners Andy Cauble, Dave Rhames, Brian Rowe and Jimmy King were sitting around trying to come up with a name that had the same roll-off-the-tongue appeal as his previous restaurant, The Penguin, “somebody spit out ‘Pinky’s.'” Auten said that was it — the name stuck. And now he’ll even answer to that name if someone says, “Hey Pinky.” (Auten and Cauble are the only remaining owners of Pinky’s.)
What to expect: A loud, laid-back vibe. Dinner menu items include the Ding Dong Chicken Sandwich, The Jive Turkey Burger and The Tahini Salad.
1600 W.Morehead St. and 9818 Gilead Rd. ste B-101, Huntersville
What to expect: Good ol’ Southern fried chicken available for takeout from this bustling little storefront. Dinner menu items include Fish Dinner, dark and white chicken, and hushpuppies.
1614 Camden Road
Photo: Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer, Gary O’Brien/Charlotte Observer