Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We've moved...

In case you haven't checked out The Observer's snazzy new website launched Wednesday, what better time than now, when you're probably prepping for the impending southern snowpocalypse?

What's In Store has also moved. Follow the link here (link also at the bottom of this post) for the latest on Charlotte's retail happenings. As always, I welcome thoughts, suggestions, comments, etc. Thanks!

Emeril Lagasse's uptown restaurant to close April 26

E2 Emeril's Eatery in uptown Charlotte will close April 26. 

The restaurant from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse said on its Facebook page Wednesday morning that it'll maintain its normal hours for lunch, dinner and happy hour until its closure.  

"We will miss our many friends and partners in Charlotte who did so much to support us," the restaurant said in the post. 

Lagasse opened the restaurant located at 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts in early 2012. It offers a menu full of New Orleans-inspired American cuisine, as well as a gluten-free menu. 

"I have a strong connection to Johnson and Wales," Lagasse told WBTV in a 2012 interview."Also, I saw this spark happening in this community, a food spark, the farm to fork movement was really happening here and this is a place we all decided we should be."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Duckworth's to open massive uptown bar March 2

Duckworth's Grill & Taphouse is slated to open part of its massive new uptown bar March 2.

Actually, the 15,000 square-foot location at Tryon and 7th Streets will be two separate venues.

The first is a typical Duckworth's with flat screen TVs, the same full menu and 150 beers on tap, which is more than the four other Duckworth bars. It's having a soft opening starting Wednesday with limited hours for invited patrons, then will open March 2 if all goes well, said Rob Duckworth, the bar's owner.

The second part will be a new concept for Duckworth's: a basement-level, speakeasy-feeling bar and restaurant called The Cellar. It'll have a limited, "very rustic" and locally-sourced food menu, obscure specialty beers and eventually, a mixologist, Duckworth said.

The Cellar will open at the end of April or the first part of May. 

"It’s going to be a really special place for people who want to enjoy more of a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere and really great beer in a different type of food experience than you would typically get upstairs at Duckworth’s," Duckworth said. 

In total, the new Duckworth's employs more than 100 people between the two floors. 

Given the new venue's location, Duckworth said he's gotten a lot of interest about its opening. 

"Even though we have black plastic on the windows, it's amazing how many people are still walking in," Duckworth said. "The signs are now up, the building is painted, lights are on, so I guess people are very intrigued by the newness of the building."

Rob Duckworth opened the first Duckworth's in Mooresville in 2004 as an ice cream shop. Excluding the new uptown spot, Duckworth's has four other locations, including two in Charlotte. 

“I’m glad ice cream didn’t work out. Beer’s a lot more fun and of course it’s made us who we are today," he said. 

Free chips and salsa Tuesday at most Salsarita's locations

Charlotte-based Salsarita's Fresh Cantina is celebrating National Tortilla Chip Day Tuesday by giving away free tortilla chips and salsa at most of its locations. 

No purchase is necessary to partake, and the offer is limited to one free order "wildly addictive" chips and salsa per customer, the fast-casual Mexican restaurant said.

The free offer is not applicable at the university, airport or corporate campus locations. 

Salsarita's was founded in Charlotte in 2000 and operates stores in 19 states. According to the restaurant's website, there are 17 Salsarita's locations in the Charlotte metro area. 

Also -- apparently -- February is National Avocado Month. Customers can celebrate that also at Salsarita's, which already offers free guacamole with any entree all year round. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Swoozie's to host grand opening promotional event in SouthPark

Specialty gift store Swoozie's is back in Charlotte and will host a grand opening event in its new SouthPark store Feb. 25 through March 8. 

Swoozie's, which held a soft opening in Charlotte late last year, sells a variety of items like stationary, scarves and jewelry. The store features goods from popular brands including Jonathan Adler, Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer. 

During its promotional period, Swoozie's will offer discounts and promotions, including 20 percent off all designers, special orders and new merchandise both in store and online. It'll also host a grand opening soiree and wine tasting on March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. A portion of the day’s proceeds will benefit Girls on the Run Charlotte, a nonprofit program for young girls.

“Over the years, Swoozie’s has become the go-to source for every ‘hostess with the mostess’ and is valued by many as the top authority on entertaining etiquette, trends and gifts,” said Ashley Plank, marketing director for Swoozie’s.

The Atlanta-based retailer previously operated two stores in Charlotte, in Blakeney and Morrison, before shuttering them after the Great Recession. 

The SouthPark store is located next to Moe's Southwest Grill in the Sharon Corners Shopping Center at 4722 Sharon Road, across from SouthPark Mall. 

Swoozie's will host a grand opening promotional event starting Feb. 25

Amélie's French Bakery to open South Charlotte site

Amélie's French Bakery will be opening its newest location in South Charlotte mid-March, a store employee told The Observer.

The new restaurant will be in Carmel Commons, which is across the street from Charlotte Catholic High School at the intersection of Carmel Road and Pineville-Matthews Road. Work on the 5,000 square-foot store began last fall.

Amélie's also has stores in Charlotte's NoDa neighborhood as well as in Atlanta and Rock Hill. The NoDa location, the first Amélie's store that opened in 2008, is known for its quirky decor and round-the-clock hours. Travel site recently rated the NoDa bakery No. 1 in North Carolina.

According to a Facebook post, the new restaurant will have a full kitchen and will serve wine, beer and crepes.

It'll "most likely" have hours similar to its Rock Hill and Atlanta stores, which are open Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., Thursday though Saturday from 7 a.m. until midnight and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

An exact date for the opening wasn't immediately available, but this blog will be updated as more information becomes available.

Interior of Amelie's in NoDa

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tapas and shots lounge in uptown Charlotte coming this summer

Charlotteans will have to wait a few more months for the uptown tapas restaurant and bar that specializes in shots.

Construction for Chupitos, Spanish for "shots," began early last year but was put on hold in mid-December, said Frank Llenas, a co-owner of Optimum Income Property and of the restaurant.

"We’re currently sorting some things out with the current partnership but the project will continue forward," Llenas said.

The restaurant will open "hopefully early summer," he said, and will employ between 20 to 25 workers. Lleras said Charlotte's changing demographics create a ripe business opportunity for Chupitos, described on its active Instagram account as a "chupiteria-tapas-lounge."

“You have to have different concepts to accommodate all the different people moving in from New York and Miami," Llenas said. "We thought it’d be a good idea to start it here due to the fact that we have a high young professional demographic concentrated in the city."

The restaurant will be located at 400 South Graham Street, near the BB&T Ballpark.