Dave and Fran’s A Taste of Southern Cooking
Charlottean Dave Cook got his start in the food-service industry at a very young age.
One of eight children in a family with little money, Cook began working at BBQ King on Wilkinson Boulevard at age 12. His job was simple: make and serve Cherry Lemon Cokes and Cherry Lemon Sun Drops, drinks still served at the restaurant today.
Upon graduating from high school, Cook enlisted in the Marines, earning the rank of sergeant – one of the youngest sergeants to serve in the Vietnam War.
Following his time in the service, Cook went worked in various roles in merchandising and food service. In 1994, Cook met Mark Richardson, of the Carolina Panthers organization. At the time, Cook was managing a merchandise kiosk with Atlantic Coast Conference gear in Greensboro, and the Panthers were a brand new team.
Cook and Richardson hit it off, leading Richardson to hire Cook in a food-service position at Bank of America Stadium. The job? Feeding the construction workers building the new NFL stadium.
Richardson made sure Cook, and now his wife, Fran, had even more business. The couple opened two barbecue stands and 12 lemonade and pretzel stands in the Panthers’ stadium.
When an opportunity arose to bid on the corporate catering contract at Bank of America Stadium, Richardson encouraged the Cooks to bid. They won the contract, as well as a food-service contract with the PGA Tour, becoming one of the highest-ranked minority catering companies to hold the position.
Been to Time Warner Cable Arena? The Cooks are food subcontractors there as well.
They opened Dave and Fran’s A Taste of Southern Cooking in SouthPark mall when the opportunity arose. Guests will immediately notice the employees: they are required to wear red, white and blue, a nod to Dave’s time in the service.
Pulled pork made with a special sauce Fran Cook makes every day, beef brisket cooked with apple, pecan and hickory wood chips and plenty of fried chicken are on the menu at Dave and Fran’s.
For the holidays, the eatery will offer honey-glazed hams, deep-fried turkeys, smoked turkeys, sweet-potato pies and cakes. Various catering options are available.
A 10 percent discount is offered daily to teachers, firefighters, medical personnel, police officers, veterans and active military.
•Dave and Fran’s A Taste of Southern Cooking
• 4400 Sharon Road
Piedmont Town Center’s Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse will open for Festive Friday lunches Dec. 12 and 19.
“Throughout recorded history, after working hard all week, people have celebrated the arrival of Friday and that’s especially true during the holidays,” General Manager Rick Cheesman said.
A special Festive Fridays menu includes Del’s steaks, seafood and prime burgers. A prix fixe menu is featured for $25 per person, offering a choice of Del’s salad or a cup of smoked chicken gumbo paired with a choice of a 6 ounce filet mignon or 8 ounce sauteed salmon.
Del Frisco’s is available for private lunches other days of the week in December. Dinner is served 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 5-9 p.m. Sundays.
4725 Piedmont Row Drive
Morton’s uptown will offer a full lunch menu Dec. 10-12 and 17-19.
Also offered those days will be a special three-course prime lunch menu for $29. The menu includes a choice of soup or salad, a choice of a 9-ounce ribeye steak, crab cake BLT or honey-chili-glazed salmon fillet as an entree and either double-chocolate mousse or cheesecake for dessert. Morton’s will be open during lunch for private parties in December.
227 W. Trade St.
The Duke Mansion
The Duke Mansion will host its Holiday Tea and Shopping from 2-4 p.m. Dec. 14.
Shop for gifts from some of Charlotte’s best boutiques. Tea service complete with scones, tea sandwiches and canapes will be served at 3 p.m. in the living room of the mansion. Following the tea, guests are encouraged to stroll the grounds of the mansion, a Colonial Revival Estate on the National Register of Historic Places.
•The Duke Mansion
400 Hermitage Road
Beef & Bottle
Southend’s Beef & Bottle will offer a holiday gift-giving promotion.
Buy a $100 gift certificate and receive a $50 gift certificate free for use on a future visit.
Beef & Bottle, open since 1958, is known for steaks and seafood.
•Beef & Bottle
4538 South Blvd.