5 best new restaurants of 2018

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We’ve been tracking 50+ restaurant openings in Q1 of 2018 and expect to see at least 100 new spots hit the scene by the end of the year.

That’s a lot to keep up with — and it’s our job. For you, we imagine all the opening coverage is bleeding together so we’ve narrowed it down with a look back at the top 5 hottest openings of the year so far.

Go forth and eat.


Flour Shop

Flour Shop, an intimate 66-seat restaurant with a central show kitchen in the middle of the dining room, is the latest addition to Park Road Shopping Center’s rapidly developing Backlot area. Their simple menu consists of fresh pasta and breads along with roasted and grilled meats, seafood and vegetables.

It’s owned an operated by Trey Wilson, the well-respected chef behind Custom Shop in Elizabeth.

What do order:

  • Appetizers: Coal-Roasted Acorn Squash ($12 and their best seller) and the Grilled UGF mushrooms ($12)
  • Pastas: Ricotta Ravioli ($24) and the Gnocchi ($24)

Agenda field notes:

  • No reservations. During peak times, you’ll wait two hours for a table.
  • Focused menu and they don’t offer dessert. The rotating menu typically has 4 small plates, 4 pasta entrees and 4 additional entrees.
  • The bread is legit.
  • Flour Shop has specialty wine cocktails. Go with the Cappelletti Orange Spritz ($10) — Cappelletti aperitivo, prosecco, blood orange, charged rose water, orange peel.
  • If available, definitely sit at the 22-seat bar and creepily watch owner/chef Trey Wilson make pasta.
inside-flourshop-restaurant-charlotte

Flourshop’s bar area isn’t huge, but you can grab a drink and stand on the left and right side of the restaurant. The bartender seamlessly transferred our tab to the table, which was nice.

squash-toast-appetizer-flour-shop

Coal-Roasted Acorn Squash ($12)


Haymaker

Haymaker, a farm-focused restaurant led by chef William Dissen of The Market Place in Asheville, recently opened in Uptown on the ground floor of the Ascent apartment building next to Romare Bearden Park. Dissen’s track record is legit and the foodie crowd really respects him.

The roughly 4,000-square-foot restaurant features soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, mezzanine level seating and a cool chef’s table overlooking the open kitchen. It seats around 150 people — 34 in the bar and lounge, 40 in the main dining room, 45 upstairs on the mezzanine and another 30 or so outside on the patio.

What to order:

  • Lunch: Brasstown Beef Burger ($15) – smoked cheddar, tomato jam, pickled red onions, butter lettuce, potato bun
  • Side: Mac & Cheese ($8) – smoked cheddar mornay, Benton’s country ham, herb crust
  • Small Plate: NC Shrimp a la Plancha ($15) – farm & sparrow grits, manchego, brown butter vinaigrette, pickled chilis
  • Large plate: Grilled NY Strip ($32) – broccolini, roasted sunchokes, onion rings, miso butter

Agenda Field Notes:

  • If you’re into watching kitchen operations, sit at the 4-seat chef’s bar in the back right of the restaurant.
  • Most people will look at this as a dinner spot but it’s actually open all day — as early as 7 a.m. on weekdays — and serves breakfast fare like coffee, egg sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.
  • As the sun sets, the horseshoe shaped bar has a beautiful glow. Plan on spending time there before or after your meal. Cocktails, including the Haymaker Punch, range from $10-$12.
  • There is a mezzanine level dining space that can also be rented out for private events.

 

bar-area-at-haymaker

shrimp-and-grits-at-haymaker

NC Shrimp a la Plancha ($15) – farm & sparrow grits, manchego, brown butter vinaigrette, pickled chilis

lamb-at-haymaker-restaurant-charlotte

Roasted Lamb Shoulder for Two ($65) – roasted spring vegetables with lamb jus


Tandur Indian Kitchen

Tandur, a fast-casual Indian restaurant based in Knoxville, just opened in SouthPark right across the street from Yafo. Charlotte is the brand’s first expansion to a new city. In Knoxville guests have given the concept ratings of 4.5/5 on Yelp, 4.8/5 on Facebook and 4.4/5 on Google.

What to order:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala ($9.95) served with rice and naan
  • Lamb Seekh Kebabs ($11.95) served with rice and mango slaw

Agenda field notes:

  • The Spiced Okra Fries ($5.50) are their most popular appetizer and great for sharing.
  • If you’re building your own saucy entree or kebob, you start by picking a sauce – Tikka Masala, Kerala Coconut Curry, Korma, Vindaloo, Kadai, or Saag. Then you pick a protein: chicken, shrimp, steak, lamb meatball, paneer, tofu or veggies.
  • Not sure what your order will look like? Don’t worry, there is a touchscreen to your right when you walk in where you can explore the menu and see photos of all dishes.
  • The Tanduri wings are delicious (6 for $7.95 or 12 for $13.95).

Tikka-Masala-tandur-indian

lamb-at-tandur-indian-kitchen-charlotte


Holler & Dash

Holler & Dash is a fast-casual biscuit restaurant owned by Cracker Barrel Country Store open for breakfast, brunch and lunch in South End. Dubbed the “Cracker Barrel for Millennials,” Holler & Dash has generated lines out the door on the weekends at its South Boulevard location.

What to Order:

  • Chicken. Set. Go. signature biscuit ($9) – fried chicken, pimento cheese, jalapeno, sorghum
  • Kickback Chicken signature biscuit ($9.50) – fried chicken, goat cheese, green onion, sweet pepper jelly with a kick

Agenda Field Notes

  • If you want a fried egg on your signature biscuit, don’t forget to say so; it’ll run you an extra $1.
  • Order beignets for the table. These New Orleans-style doughnuts with coffee dipping sauce are only $5 and your friends will love you for making the order.
  • At $9+, signature biscuits are pricey, but don’t forget that you get a side as well. Sides include the following 8 options: baby potato salad with lemon buttermilk pesto, charred corn salad with mozzarella and lime, roasted sweet potato salad with apple and almond, fried green tomatoes with Hollerback sauce, grist, tots, fresh fruit or a side salad.
chicken-set-go-at-holler-and-dash-south-end-charlotte

Chicken. Set. Go. ($9)

kickback-chicken-biscuit-south-end-charlotte-holler-and-dash

Kickback Chicken ($9.50)


Let’s Meat

Let’s Meat, an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant from the team behind Seoul Food Meat Company, opened in South End in March. It’s an immersive, hands-on dining experience where you cook your own food using built-in burners right at the table. The unlimited, all-you-can-eat experience is a $29.99 flat rate ($11.99 for kids 4-10) for everyone at the table.

What to order:

  • Well, everything. But if you’re looking for somewhere to start: B3 bulgogi (thinly sliced beef) and P3 garlic pork belly.
  • A2 flavored kalbi — Korean short ribs; this is a $12.99 up charge but worth it

Agenda Field Notes

  • You get unlimited meats and sides for a maximum of two hours. To-go food is not permitted and a 10% upcharge will be added for excessive leftover food so don’t get greedy. Only order what you can consume in two hours.
  • Food comes out fast and cooks fast so you can order in waves. Don’t get everything all at once. Wait until you’ve freed up grill space (and confirmed you still have stomach space) before trying something else.
  • They recommend starting with un-marinated meats so you don’t gunk up your grill early. These are highlighted in red on the menu.


Better get out there and give these spots a try because our new restaurant radar is stacked with even more on the way.

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).
Katie Levans Loveluck
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Co-Founder and Creative Director