Food & Drink

Get ready, Asheville: One of South End’s hot spots is branching out

With dishes like pork tonkotsu, with a pigs-feet broth, pork belly and a poached egg, this ramen house quickly became one of South End’s hottest restaurants.
With dishes like pork tonkotsu, with a pigs-feet broth, pork belly and a poached egg, this ramen house quickly became one of South End’s hottest restaurants.

Futo Buta, the ramen shop that’s tucked away beside the Lynx light rail line in South End, is getting ready to head in a new direction: Asheville.

Owner Michael Shortino says he’s planning to expand with a new location at 121 Biltmore Ave. in Asheville in mid- to late summer. The new location will be in the space that had been Bartaco, across from the concert venue The Orange Peel. Bartaco closed last fall after the company was bought by the steakhouse company Del Frisco.

Shortino upped the game for ramen in Charlotte with popular dishes like tonkotsu ramen, made with a 48-hour broth of pigs feet and crisp Brussels sprouts topped with bonito flakes and kecap manis (a sweet soy sauce). The name “Futo Buta” roughly translates to “fat pig.”

Other notable ramen shops have since opened in the Charlotte area, including YUME Bistro on South Mint Street and Ramen Soul in Mooresville.

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Last year, Shortino expanded his kitchen, opening the food shop Lincoln’s Haberdashery at 1300 South Blvd. with a kitchen that joins with the Futo Buta space at 222 E. Bland St., and adding a Japanese-made machine to make its noodles.

Charlotte Observer food editor Kathleen Purvis has more than 25 years of experience in writing about food., cooking and Southern food culture. She also covers restaurant news (openings, closings, trends and food finds) and she knows where to find the best fried-chicken breakfast in town.
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