All three Charlotte Mellow Mushrooms are celebrating American Heart Month in February by starting the celebration now.
For each order of featured heart pretzels, $2 will be given to the HEARTest Yard, founded by Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers.
The HEARTest Yard helps children born with congenital heart defects. Olsen’s son was born in 2012 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, leading he and his wife, Kara, to found the charity.
Marc Kieffer, part of the Charlotte Mellow Mushroom ownership team, said, “Giving back is part of Mellow Mushroom’s mission. We are happy to start the year off with a tasty promotion that will raise money for one of our favorite causes.”
Kieffer lost his sister to HLHS when she was 11 weeks old.
The heart pretzels are heart-shaped Mellow dough basted with honey butter, baked and sprinkled with powdered sugar, then served with cherry/cream-cheese frosting.
Pretzels are $5.99 for three or $8.99 for six. Purchase the heart pretzels at all three stores through the end of February: 255 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.; 14835 Ballantyne Village Way; and 2820 Selwyn Ave.
Learn about the HEARTest Yard at www.receptionsforresearch.org/programs/the-heartest-yard. Details about Mellow Mushroom: www.mellowmushroom.com.
To kick off the new year, McAlister’s Deli is offering a Lite Choose Two menu with more than 250 low-calorie options.
The menu pairs existing items for customers who want lighter, healthier choices with fewer than 600 calories. Choices include a turkey melt served with tomato bisque (430 calories), a garden salad and cheese spud (580 calories), a McAlister’s Club and turkey chili (560 calories) and a Reuben with fire-roasted vegetable soup (450 calories).
Visit www.mcalistersdeli.com for locations.
Midwood Smokehouse plans to open a second Charlotte location this spring.
The restaurant will open in the former Sticky Fingers in Ballantyne, at 12410 Johnston Road in Toringdon Market. Midwood Smokehouse is known for its Texas-style barbecue: slowly smoked with hickory chips in a wood smoker that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Ribs, brisket, sandwiches, pulled pork and chicken are served with sides including macaroni and cheese, baked beans and banana pudding.
Plans are to open sometime in March.
1401 Central Ave.
A new winter menu is at The Asbury in The Dunhill Hotel uptown.
“As we developed this menu we wanted to honor the past, specifically our past,” chef Chris Coleman said.
“The Asbury will be open a year Jan. 27, and we want to showcase how our food continues to evolve and change. We took our opening menu and tweaked some of our favorite dishes with new techniques; we added new farmers and staff.
“We feel the new winter menu is our best yet, and we look forward to what 2015 has in store.”
Highlights include Springer Mountain Farms Chicken + Dumplings, a new rendition of the popular dish paired with a lighter gnocchi and Harmony Ridge Farm baby vegetables.
Also on the menu is a Border Springs Lamb Shoulder with braised beans, bacon, sweet-potato puree and a maple balsamic onion jam, as well as their well-known small plate offerings, including barbecue caramel popcorn, deviled eggs and squash hummus.
The Asbury will celebrate its one-year anniversary Jan. 23-31. Each guest will receive a free dessert. Guests can take a photo of the dessert and post it on Twitter or Facebook for a chance to win a dinner for four.
235 N. Tryon St.
Tupelo Honey Café
New menus are in place beginning Jan. 28 at Tupelo Honey Café in the South End.
It includes small plates for sharing and entrees including pan-seared sea scallops with spring-pea risotto and grilled lamb chops, with black-eyed peas and French green bean salad. Tyler Alford, formerly of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, taking over the bar program to offer new drinks.
•Tupelo Honey Café
1820 South Blvd.
The Flipside Café
Chef Jon Fortes, formerly of uptown’s Mimosa Grill, is now chef/owner at The Flipside Café in Fort Mill with his wife, Amy.
The restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and considers itself “the best brunch in Fort Mill.”
Fortes’ menu incorporates fresh, local ingredients into dishes such as lobster omelets, biscuits and gravy, meatloaf mac and cheese, pimento grilled cheese and sheperd’s pie made with braised short ribs.
Small plates, soups and salads are offered, as are daily specials. Catering services are available; expect to see cooking classes soon. Jon and Amy Fortes plan a second Flipside location in spring in Rock Hill’s Old Town at 129 Caldwell.
•The Flipside Cafe
3150 U.S. 21 North
Fort Mill, 803-802-1711
Suarez Bakery, in the Park Road Shopping Center is selling King Cakes for Mardi Gras season.
The cakes represent the three kings, the wise men who brought gifts to the Christ child. The cakes are glazed, then sprinkled with gold, green and purple sanding sugar and filled with cinnamon and brown sugar. Cakes can also be ordered filled with apple, cherry, blueberry, cream cheese or raspberry filling.
All King Cakes at Suarez are made with the traditional plastic baby baked inside; notify the bakery if you would prefer the doll be left out.
According to tradition, whoever gets the piece with the baby in it has to buy the cake the following year. King cakes can be ordered with or without filling in a 1-pound size that feeds eight to 10 or 2 pounds that feeds 12-15. Call to order in advance.
4245 Park Road
Polka Dot Bake Shop
Polka Dot Bake Shop is also selling King Cakes this season.
Similar to cinnamon-swirled sweet bread, its cakes are glazed, then topped with Mardi Gras-colored sprinkles of gold, purple and green. The plastic baby comes on the side in the box with each cake. Cakes serve 12-15 people based on 2-inch slices and are $29.95 each.
Orders are required with 48-hour notice; cakes are available through Feb. 17 (Fat Tuesday).
•Polka Dot Bake Shop
1730 E. Woodlawn