Bistro La Bon chef opening grocery concept and restaurant in NoDa

Bistro La Bon chef opening grocery concept and restaurant in NoDa
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A new market and grocery concept called The Exchange at 36th will open this fall in NoDa, within just a minute’s walk from the light rail.

The Exchange fills a need in the neighborhood, especially in this corona era — it’ll be an intimate but airy space where you can dash in to pick up milk, bread, and other grocery staples.

Owner Kevin Samuel, who’s the chef at Bistro La Bon, says The Exchange will also be a casual hangout with bar and a “watering hole” for locals.

The 1,400-square-foot market is Samuel’s first of two projects on 36th Street. Next door to the market is a 3,800-square-foot space that he plans to turn into a restaurant before the end of 2021. He doesn’t have additional details on the concept right now; his focus is on the market, given the current coronavirus climate.

Food: The Exchange at 36th will have a pretty simple food menu with grab-and-go sandwiches and some breakfast items, including bagels. Samuel won’t fully flex his culinary skills at the market, but look out for that next year with the restaurant.

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Fun fact: The gnocchi at Bistro La Bon (made by chef Kevin Samuel) is the first dish I had when diners could return back to restaurants this May. [Related Agenda guide: Here’s what it’s like to dine out in Charlotte during a pandemic]

Grocery items: Expect wooden racks with typical pantry supplies and artisanal goods from local vendors. There will also be fridges for eggs, milk, cheese, and more.

Bar: Samuel describes The Exchange as the convenience store you want to hang out at. The bar will be stocked with beer and wine — no liquor or cocktail program here. There will be seating for about 20 to 25, depending on the current coronavirus restrictions when it opens.

Design: When construction is complete, the market will have loads of natural light from roll-up glass-paned garage doors, plus wood and warm metal finishes. There will also be greenery and some vintage elements. The interior designer on the project is Molly Williams, owner of Modish Co., and the architect is Peadon Finein Architecture.

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Photo courtesy The Exchange at 36th.

Background: Samuel, 33, has worked in the industry since he was a dishwasher at age 15. He’s worked in many notable Charlotte kitchens, including the now-closed Nan and Byron’s, 5Church, Pump House (in Rock Hill), and Jack Beagles. He’s been at Bistro La Bon since 2017, and he’ll continue working as a chef there.

Location: The Exchange at 36th Street is located in the former Behailu Academy site near the NoDa Dog Bar and next to The Blind Pig. Its exact address is 451 36th Street.

the exchange at 36th exterior 2

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For a pandemic, there sure are a lot of restaurants and bars opening. Catch up on the latest: 30+ exciting openings from the past six months

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