What's In Store

Local restaurateur to open Mediterranean smokehouse in Dilworth

Work on another restaurant from a well-known local operator is underway in Dilworth.

Longtime Charlotte restaurateur Martin Sprock will open up a Mediterranean-inspired barbecue smokehouse in the former Tijuana Flats space on East Boulevard.

Sprock told the Observer this week he hopes to open the yet-to-be-named restaurant in September.

Tijuana Flats, a fast-casual Mexican chain, closed its doors in March at 1608 East Blvd., an approximately 2,800-square-foot space Sprock bought several years ago.

“I inherited the building back as the landlord,” when Tijuana Flats closed its doors, said Sprock, whose other ventures include RuRu’s and Leroy Fox. He also co-founded the popular chain Moe’s in 2000.

Sprock said he will manage the business side of the new restaurant. On the food side will be Georges Brasserie’s chef Giorgio Bakatsias, whom Sprock calls a “fantastic fellow” and one of the “best operators in the state.”

The concept for the restaurant is the first of its kind for Sprock. He plans to feature barbecue menu items like pulled pork, smoked butts, chicken and lamb – all with a Mediterranean flavor.

A specialty grill that uses hickory wood will be the focal point of the restaurant, which he plans to adorn with distressed wood and copper trim. The restaurant will also have a bar and an approximately 1,000-square-foot patio.

“We want to try to be creative and do something a little different,” Sprock said.

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Twitter: @katieperalta