Wise Guy's reopens at new Statesville site

Wise Guy's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria reopened June 9, with its same gourmet Italian menu, in a new location on West Front Street near Interstate 40.

Wise Guy's operated for 20 years on Mocksville Highway (U.S. 64 East) before founder/chef Jarbas DeAlmeida closed it last year to recuperate from two heart attacks.

DeAlmeida has his longtime staff back, including brothers/chefs Carlos "Charlie" Castillo Gimenec, who has been with Wise Guy's for 15 years, and "Puchin" Castillo Gimenec, who has worked there for 13 years. DeAlmeida trained both chefs.

Also returning is server/manager Cathy McClintick, an eight-year Wise Guy's veteran.

"I wanted to get back so bad," DeAlmeida said last week in an interview at the 60-seat restaurant.

He said he got that chance thanks to investor Richard Goranowski, the new owner of Wise Guy's. Goranowski was a loyal patron of a second, former Wise Guy's on Williamson Road in Mooresville.

Everything on the original Wise Guy's menu is back at the new location, including customer favorites Lasagna Imbottita Individuale, Cannelloni Del Buongustaio, Filet Mignon Alla Pietro, Pollo Francese, Polo Saltimbocca, Chicken Florentine and Zuppa Di Pesce Alla Cioppino.

Popular appetizers include clams casino and the baked mushrooms with lump crabmeat in a cream sauce.

Lunch and dinner items are available for take-out. Catering is available in-house and to-go.

DeAlmeida said he eventually plans to expand to the restaurant's basement level and add an outdoor bar area in back.

Wise Guy's: 2015 W. Front St., Statesville; 704-873-4454; 704-873-4425.

Zoës Kitchen opens in Birkdale Village

Zoës Kitchen opened its sixth N.C. location this month in Birkdale Village, off Interstate 77 Exit 25.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., Zoës Kitchen features a Mediterranean-inspired menu. Signature dishes at the "fast-casual" eatery include shrimp, salmon, chicken kabobs, steak, chicken rollups, fresh hummus and veggie pita pizza. Beer and wine are also served.

Founded in 1995, Zoës Kitchen has 36 locations throughout the South. The Birkdale Village location has about 100 seats and an outdoor patio. Take-out and catering are also offered.

Zoës Kitchen: 16735 Cranlyn Road, Suite D, across from Regal Cinema; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 704-655-2636;