A longtime restaurant manager and music supporter with ties all around Charlotte and Belmont is making plans to open his own small restaurant near Belmont’s busy Main Street.
Scott Blackwood announced Wednesday on Facebook that he’s bought the building at 102 Davis St., a block of Main Street behind Piccolo Market, that had been the bagel cafe Pearlee & Cilles. The house, built in 1948, was originally the home of one of Belmont’s past mayors. He’s partnering with Gabe Sawhney, an executive for a Charlotte food company.
“This is my first time ever owning a restaurant,” Blackwood told The Observer. “I’m not trying to win a James Beard award. I just want a cool spot people feel comfortable in.”
Blackwood says his experiences include general manager of Rivermen Brewing Co., several positions with The String Bean in Belmont and time at 5Church. Until six years ago, Blackwood’s family owned a recording studio and music business, and he and his brother, DJ Justin Aswell, have been involved in popular music events at Snug Harbor in Plaza-Midwood.
Blackwood plans to call the restaurant The Bottle Tree, after the tradition of using the branches of a tree to display empty bottles.
“It spoke to me,” he said of the name and the image. “It’s an African concept that landed in the South and has become a Southern icon. The bottles catch the bad spirits, so there’s nothing left but good spirits.”
While Blackwood hasn’t yet teamed up with a chef, he plans for the menu to be what he calls global street food with both Southern and international influences. He also has background in wine and beer, so he plans to do that at the new place.
The house is about 2,000 square feet and will have about 40 seats, plus an outdoor area with a fireplace. He plans to use the space for pop-up dinners and parties through the holidays, then begin renovations in January and February before reopening sometime in the spring.