The breakneck pace of restaurant openings didn’t slow in the final weeks of 2017. Since Christmas, two poke bars (Hi Tide in Dilworth and Umami PokeRito in south Charlotte), a walk-up doughnut window (Reigning Doughnuts in NoDa) and an upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge (Zeppelin in South End) all opened their doors.
So if you’re just coming out of your holiday hibernation, you’ve got some eating and drinking to do.
But you’ll have to hurry up because we’re already moving on to a new year with brand new openings, including some major non-food developments. Here are the biggest new additions coming Charlotte’s way in the first quarter.
Projected opening: 2018
It would be tough to overstate the significance of the first extension of the LYNX light rail system since the original Blue Line opened in 2007. The 9.3-mile Blue Line Extension (BLE) continues the line from 7th Street Station in Uptown to UNC Charlotte’s campus.
If you were around to see South End before the light rail rolled through, you understand the enormous change that’s coming — for better or worse — to Optimist Park, NoDa, University City and other neighborhoods along the new route.
#2 Shake Shack
Projected opening: March
Alright alright, it’s a fast food franchise. We get it. But Charlotte is still losing its collective mind over this cult favorite burger joint opening its first North Carolina location at Park Road Shopping Center.
Projected opening: April
Address: 400 E. Morehead Street
Charlotte’s busiest YMCA branch is undergoing a major renovation project that will add 40,000 square feet of space to the existing 140,000-square-foot flagship location. This includes new yoga and barre studios, a Sports Performance Center with a certified CrossFit gym and a rooftop fitness deck.
The addition will open in April followed by interior renovations to the existing building, which will wrap up in October.
Projected opening: February/March
Address: 225 S. Poplar Street
Chef William Dissen, known for The Market Place in Asheville, is opening an Appalachian-inspired, farm-to-table restaurant on the ground floor of the Ascent, a new luxury high-rise in Third Ward.
Projected opening: Q1, we hope
Address: 400 S. Graham Street
If you’ve been holding your breath on this opening, you’ve already died a thousand deaths. Although the process has been slow, we think the finished product — a casual pub with a rooftop patio located a stone’s throw from BB&T Ballpark and Bank of America Stadium — will all be worth it in the end (and open in Q1, fingers crossed).
Target opening: January
Address: Park Road Shopping Center Backlot
Trey Wilson, chef and owner of Customshop in Elizabeth, will be opening a new restaurant in the rapidly developing Backlot at Park Road Shopping Center.
Projected opening: March
Address: 2725 South Boulevard
Cracker Barrel’s trendy new millennial-focused biscuit concept will be opening a location near the new Harris Teeter on South Boulevard. According to the geotagged Instagram response at the other 6 locations, the millennials are in fact into it and taking lots of photos.
Projected opening: Today! (They soft opened over the weekend)
Address: 1300 South Boulevard
This new urban grocery from Futo Buta chef/owner Michael Shortino is located in a former Lance cracker factory on South Boulevard.
Target opening: March
Address: 721 Governor Morrison Street
The Knoxville-based fast casual Indian concept is taking over a huge space in SouthPark formerly occupied by Trysports. It’s located directly across the street from Yafo and sounds like it’ll offer a similar user experience but with Indian cuisine.
Target opening: early 2018
Address: 300 E. Stonewall Street
The high end grocer will anchor Crescent Stonewall Station, a huge mixed-used development featuring 459 apartments, a light rail stop and 64,000 square feet of retail. This will be Uptown’s first full-sized grocer adding some much needed competition for that lone Harris Teeter in Fourth Ward.
This one squeaked onto the list because a Q2 opening is more likely but a city can dream.