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Modern, affordable uptown spot

Zink American Kitchen

201 N Tryon St.; 704-444- 9001. Monday and Tuesday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday 11:30 a.m.-midnight. Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m.). www.zinkamerican.com.

Fresh off its kitchen renovations, uptown's Zink American Kitchen is now open with a slightly revamped menu, and décor seems little changed. A member of the Harper's Restaurant group, Zink offers everything from burgers and barbecue to scallops and pub-style fish and chips. It's a familiar uptown spot for and is open late on the weekends for night owls.

THE SCENE: Zink's interior has a modern feel, decked in red, silver and black. It's inviting and comfortable. Tables are covered in white-and-brown construction paper and topped with a box of crayons, begging diners to sketch. A narrow dining area is closest to the door, while another dining room and bar sit to the left. There's also an upstairs seating area.

THE MENU: I dined with two uptown workers, Page Leggett and Lynsley Smith. Lynsley ordered roasted tomato soup, which was topped with a few pieces of popcorn – a novel idea, but it could use more popcorn. We also ordered the chicken Caesar flatbread salad, which was so-so. (It was not described accurately on the menu. Both of my dining companions thought it was going to be a pizza, not a salad, with chicken strips – with bread on the side.). The grilled chicken sandwich was better. I sampled the Zink burger, which was piled with maple bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and Thousand Island dressing. The burger and the grilled chicken came with Zink's truffle-parmesan hand-cut fries (served in what can only be described as a small plastic flower pot), which Lynsley called, “a little piece of heaven.”

THE CROWD: Most people at lunch were dressed in business casual. It's quiet enough for a business lunch. Zink's is open late on weekends for younger crowds.

WHAT THEY'RE KNOWN FOR: Zink has a great lunchtime burger bar, complete with a Kobe burger and sloppy Joe sliders. The fries are delicious. Try the lobster mac and cheese if you visit for dinner. No sweet tea, but there is a great alternative, dubbed “Zink tea.”

THE CHECK: Lunch is very affordable; most items cost less than $10. Dinner is a little pricier with entrees $10 to $24.

CASH OR CHECK: American Express, MasterCard, Visa and cash.

VEGETARIAN: Try the heirloom tomato quesadilla (goat cheese, basil and chipotle crema), baked mushrooms or a variety of salads.

KID-FRIENDLY: Zink caters to mostly business crowds, but I wouldn't be surprised to see children dining with their parents.

FOR HERE OR TO GO? Eat in or take away.

SMOKING, SMOKE-FREE? It's smoke-free.

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