Helen Schwab

Growlers Pourhouse does BOGO lunch; more bits

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.

10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway; www.theballantynehotel.com; www.gallery-restaurant.com.

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:

North Carolina:

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

Charleston:

Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh

Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder

Jason Stanhope of FIG

The rest:

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.

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