The 24 most anticipated new restaurant, bar, and brewery grand openings of 2020

The 24 most anticipated new restaurant, bar, and brewery grand openings of 2020
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We first published this list on January 1, 2020. It was most recently updated on July 28, 2020.

What’s opening in the second half of 2020? Here’s a quick breakdown of the 24 most anticipated new restaurant, bars, and breweries opening in the next six months.

Coronavirus has delayed nearly all projects this year. Everything — from construction to the liquor license — takes longer in a pandemic. But there are still some exciting openings to come in 2020.

Expansions: The list below only includes new concepts to Charlotte. It doesn’t include big expansions like Superica opening in SouthPark, Snooze opening in South End, Cookie Dough Bliss opening in South End, or Free Range Brewing opening in Camp North End.

Also keep looking out for other major openings like SoulCycle opening in South End, PlantBar opening in Dilworth, and Krispy Kreme’s test kitchen opening in South End.

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Recent openings: Even during a pandemic, a few heavy-hitters have joined Charlotte’s dining scene. Little Mama’s, sister concept to Mama Ricotta’s, opened for dine-in service on July 2. Camp North End added three food stalls in June, and the north Charlotte complex also got its first restaurant: Leah & Louise by Greg and Subrina Collier.

And SouthPark got not one, but two, rooftop dining options in the span of a week. Both RH Charlotte and Cordial are now open.

Here’s our list of the most anticipated, order by opening date (not ranked).


(1) VANA

Casual restaurant from Bardo team

Opening: July 2020 in South End on the corner of Tryon and Summit.

Overview: Unlike Bardo, which is known as a special occasion date night restaurant, VANA will be relaxed, with a focus on daytime dining, including brunch.

Just like at Bardo, the kitchen will be a focal point in the restaurant — wide open with all the action on display. The initial floor plan shows seating for 66 including a bar and a chef’s table.

Food: Chef Michael Noll is building out a menu centered on rustic wood-fired cooking for everyday dining.

Noll says to expect the same quality of food you know at Bardo but presented in a more approachable format. Dishes will include larger family-style options for sharing as well as crudos, salads, and more. And they’ve built out their own wood-burning pizza oven.

Drinks: Behind the bar, Amanda Britton plans to play off the kitchen’s wood-burning theme with a focus on barrel-aged spirits like whiskey and mezcal.

She says that doesn’t mean all the drinks will be heavily spirit forward; you can expect a mix of both refreshing and robust cocktails. Signature offerings will include in-house barrel-aged cocktails, draft cocktails, and the Mountaineer Fast Car, a play on the Ferrari shot popular among bartenders.

vana south end bardo jayson whiteside

Managing partner Jayson Whiteside in the new VANA space.


(2) STIR (now open)

Restaurant, oyster bar, and cocktail bar with an “ice chef”

Opening: Late July 2020 at South End’s RailYard development

Overview: STIR will serve lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch along with fresh oysters from their signature raw bar. Their expansive cocktail program has more than 350 spirits.

Menu: The menu includes oysters, ceviche dishes, appetizers ranging from salmon cakes to fried green tomatoes, soups and salads, sandwiches, and primarily seafood-based entrees. Some highlights include the scallop & shrimp white cheddar mac & cheese, shrimp and grits, and filet with house crab ravioli. Dishes at the Raleigh location start around $7 and most are under $30.

Ice: The main attraction behind the bar at STIR is their elaborate in-house ice production managed by an “ice chef.”

They start with huge 300-pound blocks of ice that are hand cut into seven different styles specially suited for different drinks, including cubes, spheres, crushed, shaved, and pebbled.

Agenda guide: Best places to eat oysters in Charlotte

stir exterior

stir charlotte fish tacos courtesy image

Fish tacos at STIR. (Photo courtesy of STIR)


(3) Silverlake Ramen

LA-based ramen concept opening in South End

Opening: Late July across the street from Atherton, in the building formerly occupied by Owen’s Bagels (R.I.P).

Overview: “Our mission is to serve you affordable food that is made with love,” said local owner Leila Zhu. “Silverlake embodies the free spirit and casual vibe of Los Angeles.”

Silverlake Ramen has seven locations in development. One in Concord Mills just opened in November.

Menu: The menu has a combination of authentic and out-of-the-box ramen dishes. Expect appetizers, rice bowls, and ramen.

silverlake ramen


(4) Ruby Sunshine (now open)

New Orleans-inspired, all-day breakfast joint

Opening: Summer 2020 in South End near Lost & Found

Ownership: “We’re looking forward to introducing the Charlotte community to Ruby Sunshine and the New Orleans flair that our restaurants are famous for,” owner Jennifer Weishaupt told the Agenda. The restaurant, which will be the first Ruby Sunshine location to open in North Carolina, is the latest concept from the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group — the collective behind the acclaimed New Orleans-based eatery Ruby Slipper Café.

Design: Whiteside Properties is behind the redevelopment of the historic South End building, which will have indoor and outdoor seating.

Menu: The menu will be similar to the Ruby Slipper Café in New Orleans with staples like barbecue shrimp & grits, eggs benedict, and bananas foster. Don’t sleep on the cocktails either, including the featured brandy milk punch and morning margarita.

ruby sunshine exterior


(5) Búho, Mico, and The Bohemian Garden inside The Grand Bohemian hotel

Three restaurants/bars inside the new luxury Uptown hotel

Opening: Early August 2020 inside The Grand Bohemian hotel

Búho: The rooftop bar and restaurant will have its own elevator. It will be open evenings on Tuesday through Saturday (closed Monday and Sunday). Expect craft cocktails such as an aloe vera mojito and smoked old-fashioned, along with sharable small plates such as scallop crudo and Devil Shoal oyster shots. The rooftop will have fire pits, and Búho will host DJs on the weekend.

Mico: Located on the ground floor, Mico will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’ll offer South American-inspired dishes with Mediterranean influences, including a signature Wagyu Delmonico steak.

The Bohemain Garden: Expect grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and drinks along the new pocket park.


(6) Slingshot

14,000-square-foot bar and gaming club similar to Pins Mechanical, but with food

Opening: Summer 2020 in South End near Unknown Brewing

Background: Richmond-based Slingshot Social Game Club is opening its second location in the same South End block as Lost & Found and Ruby Sunshine. The giant space will have “extreme” duckpin bowling, skee ball, and more.

Food: If you like Pins Mechanical, also in South End, you’ll like Slingshot. The biggest difference is food; Slingshot has wings and burgers and other classic pub food, in addition to drinks.

slingshot bar south end exterior


(7) Skiptown

20,000-square-foot dog park and bar (for the humans)

Opening: August 2020 in South End

Concept: “Skiptown will feel like your neighborhood backyard crossed with the ultimate playground for dogs and their humans, too,” Skipper CEO and founder Meggie Williams said.

Background: In 2016, Skipper started as a modern dog walking company that allows you to book and monitor visits through an app. The company has since expanded, opening daycare facilities in Charlotte apartment complexes.

Williams explained the objective is for Skipper to “become the full ecosystem to support the way people care for, have fun with, and socialize around their pets. We’re the only people that see this and have the ability to do it, and if we do this right it could change everything.”

Skiptown set-up: The indoor/outdoor area will be an all-season playground for dogs and people, covering roughly 20,000 square feet. It’ll feature a splash pad, boulders for climbing, shaded areas, seating, plenty of space for dogs to run, and a section for small dogs. It’ll also have tons of TVs, a giant U-shaped bar with 25 taps, a patio food trucks, leashed and off-leash spaces, and a dog wash.

Skiptown front

Rendering courtesy of Skiptown.


(8) Summit Seltzery

Opening: August 2020 in Wesley Heights

Background: A few summers ago, Kristin Cagney was sitting by the pool with friends, sipping a spiked seltzer (remember those days?). She wasn’t sure where to go next in her career so jokingly she asked, “What if I just open a seltzery?” The idea stuck. This summer, Cagney will open the first seltzery taproom on the East Coast right here in the Wesley Heights neighborhood.

What is a seltzery: Similar to the city’s dozens of breweries, Summit Seltzery will brew its own craft seltzer in-house, using a patent pending fermentation process designed by local brewer (seltzerer?) Dan Schiefen.

Space: With 3,880-square-feet, Summit will have indoor and outdoor seating, an L-shaped bar, and activities such as shuffleboard and foosball. The seltzery, which is located across the street from Lucky Dog Bark & Brew, will be dog friendly. The address is 2215 Thrift Road.

Summit Seltzery exterior

Rendering courtesy of Summit Seltzery.


(9) The Vintage

Opening: August 2020 in Dilworth

Background: Before it was an Iron Tribe Fitness, the gray-painted brick building at 215 E. Worthington Ave. in Dilworth was an auto body shop owned by Michael Jordan’s father, James. James Jordan, a mechanic, operated Jordan Auto Parts in the late-1980s. At the time, he and his wife, Deloris, lived in Union County to distance themselves from the publicity that inevitably came with being parents of an NBA superstar.

Now, James Jordan’s old 3,400-square-foot building will get new life as an upscale whiskey bar and cigar lounge called The Vintage.

Vibe: The Vintage will be a private members-only club since it won’t serve food. It’ll be styled as an upscale, Prohibition-era lounge with plenty of plush sofas and big wooden common tables.

the vintage


(10) Boxcar Betty’s (now open)

Charleston-based fried chicken sandwich concept

Opening: Summer 2020 at Optimist Hall

Overview: Boxcar Betty’s opened five years ago in Charleston; it now has three Charleston-area locations and one in Chicago. They’re best known for gourmet fried chicken sandwiches made from all-natural, cage-free and antibiotic-free meat with delicious toppings.

“Whenever I am in Charleston, Boxcar Betty’s is my go-to lunch spot, so I look forward to being able to enjoy a delicious chicken sandwich in my hometown,” Erik Johnson, co-founder of White Point Partners, said.

The menu: Expect chicken sandwiches, classic Southern side dishes, salads, desserts, and a kid’s menu. Vegetarians can swap the chicken for a fried portobello mushroom cap stuffed with pimiento cheese.

The Boxcar (pimiento cheese, peach slaw, house pickles, and spicy mayo) and the Chicken Not So Waffle (bacon jam, maple syrup, pimiento cheese, and tomato) are customer favorites. You can also build your own sandwich with choice of protein (chicken or mushroom), 11 toppings, and 10 sauces.

Design: It’ll have a farmhouse feel space with reclaimed wood and industrial lighting.

Agenda related guide: Best chicken sandwiches in Charlotte

boxcar bettys

Boxcar Betty's sandwich

(Photo courtesy Boxcar Betty’s)


(11) D9 Brewing – The Pavilion at Uptown

Soon-to-be Uptown’s only brewery with a giant outdoor beer garden from award-winning D9 team

Opening: Late summer 2020 in Uptown, near Savoy apartments

Background: Two engineers and a doctor opened D9 Brewing Company near Lake Norman in 2014, and it quickly gained a reputation for its sour beers. In June 2020, D9 announced it would move all its production to a facility 40 miles northwest of Charlotte in Newton. A taproom remains in Lake Norman. D9 is also opening a new taproom in Hendersonville.

New concept: D9 will operate a 900-square-foot indoor “craft lounge” taproom and an expansive outdoor beer garden in Uptown’s Second Ward next to Savoy apartments.

d9 uptown brewery


(12) Counter-

Opening: Late summer 2020 in Wesley Heights

Concept: “The goal is to shock the system of our guest,” chef and owner Sam Hart said. “From sound, to touch, taste, sight, and even smell, we want to fully immerse every sense.” Hart has been intentionally vague when describing his restaurant’s menu and musical pairings. He wants guests to be surprised each time they visit, with no preconceived notions about the food or the experience.

Counter construction

The future site for Counter- in Wesley Heights.


(13) Harriet’s Hamburgers

New hamburger stall from the Papi Queso and Plaid Penguin teams

Opening: Labor Day weekend 2020 in Optimist Hall

Overview: Harriet’s is a joint venture between Plaid Penguin, the local communications firm for Optimist Hall, and Papi Queso. This is Plaid Penguin’s first venture as a food and beverage operator. And Papi Queso, the popular grilled cheese food truck, recently opened its first brick-and-mortar location at Optimist.

The menu: Expect a simple and classic menu centered around Harriet’s burger. It’ll be reminiscent of diners from the 1950 and 1960s.

Related Agenda guide: Best burgers

harriets-hamburgers


(14) Summit Coffee

Popular Davidson coffee shop’s first Charlotte location

Opening: September 2020 in NoDa next to 36th Street Station

Background: Summit Coffee Co. opened on Main Street in Davidson in 1998. A Summit opened on the campus of nearby Davidson College in 2013 and in downtown Asheville in 2017. “We always wanted to take a crack at Charlotte,” co-owner Brian Helfrich says. Summit artistic director and Brian’s wife, Tyler Helfrich, used to live in NoDa so the couple had been looking to expand into the neighborhood for years.

Coronavirus pivot: In March, when all Summit locations shut down, the company pivoted with a temporary coffee drive-thru in an old Wells Fargo bank in Davidson. The primary goal of the drive-thru was to keep their staff employed, but the business took off, lasting 10 weeks and drawing lines of cars.

Brian says without the drive-thru, this expansion into Charlotte probably would have not happened. “It ultimately helped save the business.”

Late-night: In Davidson, Summit is known as being a hotspot not only for morning coffee, but for evening beers and live music. While the NoDa location is smaller, it’ll also have evening entertainment (once it’s safe to do so) and a beer and wine menu.

summit coffee co noda


(15) Botiwalla

Indian street food restaurant

Opening: Fall 2020 at Optimist Hall

Overview: The Indian street food concept comes from James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani.

“My mission with Botiwalla is to bring the streets of India to life — the glowing charcoal sigris, the sizzling meats, the aromas of chaat masala — in the most delicious way possible,” said Irani. “I want to blow away people’s preconceived notions about what Indian food is and show them what it can be.” Expect Indian street food inspired by the tea and kabab houses of India.

This will be Botiwalla’s third location. Must-try items will include a lamb burger, chicken tikka roll, masala smashed potatoes, and SPDP puffs (flour crisps filled with potatoes, cilantro, and onion).

Beverages: For something boozy, go with the white sangria slushy. This wine-based fruity frozen beverage is perfect for those hot summer nights and for cooling down after some hot Indian food.

Other non-alcoholic beverages include pineapple turmeric soda and mango lassi, a yogurt-based drink made in house that is a sweet combination of mango and cardamom.


(16) Orto

Italian spot somewhere between Stagioni and Mama Ricotta’s

Opening: Orto is starting construction this month, so expect a fall or late 2020 opening in NoDa near Wooden Robot

Overview: Paul Verica, the chef and owner of The Stanley, is behind the concept. Orto, Verica says, is “not as high end as Stagioni and not as casual at Mama Ricotta’s, both of which are great restaurants.”

Menu: Look for Verica’s square pizza, which is based off of his favorite pizzeria from outside of Philly, where he grew up. Pasta will be “seasonally driven” and made in-house, Verica adds.

Expansion: Don’t expect Orto to be a one-off. If all goes well with this location, Verica and investors hope to “put this concept into a box and reproduce more around town.”

Agenda related guide: Best Italian restaurants in Charlotte

paul verica chef orto italian

Chef Paul Verica makes fresh pasta. Photo courtesy Peter Taylor.


(17) Fire Box Pizzeria

Pizza spot from Futo Buta chef Michael Shortino

Opening: “coming 2020 bae-beeee” according to Fire Box’s Instagram. (Attempts to reach Shortino went unanswered.)

Overview: Michael Shortino, the chef behind Futo Buta and Lincoln’s Haberdashery, is opening a pizza spot in South End. It’ll be at 322 W. Bland St., in the same development as Lost & Found.


(18) The Jimmy

Opening: Late 2020 in Myers Park

Concept: The Jimmy is named after what friends and family call owner Jim Noble. The restaurant will be open all day, and it’s inspired by the trattorias and bistros found along the Mediterranean coastline in Italy and France.

Menu: Offerings will include coffee and pastries by Copain in the morning and light Mediterranean-inspired dishes at lunch. For dinner, expect Neapolitan-style pizzas, handmade pastas, and more.

The Jimmy Interior Bar Rendering

Rendering courtesy of The Jimmy

The old Nolen Kitchen bar in Myers Park

The old Nolen Kitchen bar in Myers Park


(19) Mezeh Mediterranean Grill

Fresh Mediterranean grill coming to Optimist Hall

Opening: Late 2020 in Optimist Hall

Restaurant: Mezeh, which specializes in a “Western interpretation of Mediterranean foods,” will be in a 2,300 square-foot restaurant space in the food hall next to Botiwalla.

Mezeh’s menu includes cage-free and grass-fed proteins such as lamb and chicken kebab, that are also free of hormones and antibiotics, according to a statement from Optimist Hall. Its menu also has create-your-own bowls, wraps, and pitas.


(20) Steak 48

Fancy steakhouse and extensive build-out in SouthPark

Opening: December 2020 in Apex SouthPark, a new development on the corner of Sharon Road and Morrison Boulevard

Concept: Steak 48 is a modern update to the classic American steakhouse experience. It’s owned by brothers Jeffrey and Michael Mastro, along with their father, Michael Mastro, and partner Scott Troilo. They have locations in Houston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

Menu: Expect quality cuts of steak including USDA Prime and Wagyu beef and creative appetizers and side dishes, like their Alaskan king crab, rock shrimp mac and cheese, or crispy shrimp deviled eggs. Here’s a quick taste of steak prices to give you an idea on price point: NY strip (12 ounces/$42), bone-in filet mignon (12 ounces/$58), and bone-in ribeye (22 ounces/$59).

Layout: Steak 48 will have seating for around 350, but don’t expect the open ballroom layout. “It’s a collection of intimate spaces,” says Oliver Badgio, chief brand officer. “Each room has different energy, music, and acoustics.”

The centerpiece of the restaurant will be an exposed kitchen with floor-to-ceiling glass walls surrounded by dining on all three sides. The intention is to create an immersive dining experience. “It’s a very honest and open view of the kitchen,” said Badgio. Steak 48 will offer several private dining rooms, including four-person suites with a view into the kitchen.

private dining suites at steak 48

Here’s what an intimate private dining suite at Steak 48 will look like. (Photos courtesy Steak 48)

steak at steak 48 in charlotte


(21) The Eagle Food & Beer Hall

Cincinnati-based restaurant serving fried chicken and other classic Southern food

Opening: Late 2020 or early 2021 in South End’s Atherton development near Indaco. Opening plans are up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Overview: This Cincinnati-based restaurant is known for its fried chicken. Local owner Brian Riggenbach of the  Thunderdome Restaurant Group is also behind Bakersfield in Dilworth.

Menu: The top three dishes at The Eagle are the fried chicken ($7-$19), fried chicken sandwich ($10), and the braised pork sandwich ($10). The top three cocktails are their Eagled Iced Tea ($9 glass, $34 pitcher), bourbon punch ($10 glass, $38 pitcher), and mule ($10).


(22) Supperland

New concept from Haberdish opening in a former Plaza Midwood church

Opening: Late 2020 or early 2021 in Plaza Midwood

Overview: Supperland is the latest restaurant and cocktail bar concept from the owners of Haberdish, Crepe Cellar, Growlers Pourhouse, and Reigning Doughnuts.

Husband and wife restaurateurs Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown have been eyeing the location for three years and finalized the lease at 1212 The Plaza in March 2019.

The corner lot is directly across the street from Whiskey Warehouse and includes two buildings totaling 7,500 square feet of space.

Space: The landmark 5,250-square-foot church, built in 1952, will serve as the main dining room and 2,250-square-foot back building dating back to 1936 will be a craft cocktail bar. Ample outdoor space with a garden and patio will front The Plaza.

The dining room will seat about 100 with a chef’s counter overlooking an open-fire show kitchen at the front of the building in the former church chancel. They’ll have no gas or electric appliances, opting instead to feature an all-fire operation. The remaining kitchen prep, fryers, stoves, storage, and office space is in the basement along with a wine cellar.

Menu: Chef Chris Rogienski, former sous chef at Haberdish, will lead the kitchen at Supperland with a Southern menu that draws inspiration from traditional church potluck picnics.

Tonidandel says to expect thoughtfully sourced proteins, quick-charred vegetables, and shareable family-style sides. A similar simplified menu will be available in the adjacent cocktail bar.

Drinks: Haberdish bar manager Colleen Hughes will run an ambitious craft cocktail bar in the adjacent back building.

Her cocktail menus stand out for their complexity, hard-to-find ingredients, creativity, relevance (rolling out a Prohibition-era menu on Repeal Day or a tiki menu for the summer, for example), and presentation. And her use of flowers frozen in ice, edible confetti, and other eye-catching garnishes make for an extra Instagrammable experience at Haberdish that’s ahead of the curve in town.

supperland-owners

Supperland owners Jamie Brown and Jeff Tonidandel


(23) Trolley Barn Fermentory

New brewery and restaurant concept from Legion Brewing

Opening: Originally planned for 2020, now early 2021 in South End’s Atherton near Indaco

Overview: Expect indoor and outdoor seating, a second-floor mezzanine, and patio with unobstructed views of Uptown Charlotte.

“I love South End, and to be able to bring the Trolley Barn Fermentory to this hip vibrant area of Charlotte is so exciting,” said Legion Brewing owner Phil Buchy. “The Atherton Trolley Barn is right on the Rail Trail, providing great pedestrian access with its walkability to multiple neighborhoods in Charlotte, making this a prime location to enjoy great beer and food with friends.”

Name: The name comes from our city’s electric trolleys that began operating in 1891 and ran to neighborhoods like Dilworth, Myers Park, and Elizabeth.

legion fermentory

restaurant-and-brewery-trolley-barn-fermentory-south-end

Interior rendering courtesy of Legion Brewing


(24) Traust Brewing Company

10,600-square-foot brewery with Nordic flair

Opening: TBD in Wesley Heights near Lucky Dog. Due to the current situation with coronavirus, Traust is focusing on releasing product first and opening a physical location second, so the timeline is up in the air. The project is still on, owner Eric Steven says.

Overview: Traust Brewing Company is taking the 1.5-acre property formerly occupied by an animal pharmaceutical company named Fleming Laboratories. They’ll have a 130-space parking lot and a full kitchen with Scandinavian-inspired and Southern dishes.

Scandinavian influence: Expect Northern European design concepts that use natural elements. Scandinavian design is all about minimalism, coziness, and functionality, so think sleek low-lying mid-century modern furniture, natural wood tones and textures, and mostly neutral colors.

Beer: “We plan to take on some traditional styles, such as strong ales and stouts, as well as some nouveaux styles, such as hazy IPAs, sours and funky saisons,” founder Eric Stevens says. Ryan Walsh, who previously brewed at Mitten Brewing and Presidential Brewing in Michigan, will serve as Traust’s lead brewing engineer.

Agenda related guide: Complete list and map of Charlotte’s 30 local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each

patio-view-traust-brewing-charlotte

The beer garden will have a nice view of Uptown


Which opening are you most excited about?

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All this restaurant talk making you hungry? Here are the 25 best new restaurants in Charlotte, right now and 14 best new bars in Charlotte. View all Agenda food and drink guides here.

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