Best New Restaurants | Charlotte’s got a lot | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Charlotte’s Newest Restaurants

Five new restaurants representing some of the best and brightest in Charlotte’s growing culinary scene.
The food at Kindred is ingredient-driven and inspired by the Kindredsâ travels to Italy and across the United States, working in the high-end kitchens of Chicago and San Francisco.
The food at Kindred is ingredient-driven and inspired by the Kindreds’ travels to Italy and across the United States, working in the high-end kitchens of Chicago and San Francisco.

By Keia Mastrianni

A shapeshifting skyline tells of a city undergoing radical transformation. At this moment, growth is everywhere in Charlotte, and the dining scene is no exception. A vibrancy pulses throughout the city, beckoning the new and the nostalgic, the comforting and the sophisticated. Whatever your pleasure, Charlotte’s dining options are plenty, and these new restaurants in the area are some of its best.

131 N. Main St.

Before they were ever married, Joe and Katy Kindred talked of owning a restaurant together and even dreamed up its details. When they walked into a century-old pharmacy on Main Street in Davidson (the adorable college town just 20 minutes north of Charlotte), they knew they were home. Opened in February 2015, Kindred is a comfortably sophisticated space outfitted with details that pay homage to the building’s historic roots, from the preserved brick walls to the pharmacy-inspired bulbs decorating the sleek bar space. The food at Kindred is ingredient-driven and inspired by the Kindreds’ travels to Italy and across the United States, working in the high-end kitchens of Chicago and San Francisco. You must try the seductive milk bread, and if the lamb tartare is on the menu, do not deny it. If incredible small plates, mature craft cocktails and warm hospitality don’t sell you on a visit, how about this? Kindred was recently placed on Bon Appetit’s list, “The Hot 10: America’s Best New Restaurants 2015,” a well-deserved honor.

512 Brandywine Rd., Suite 500

The focus at RockSalt is sustainable seafood, and the menu is driven further by the bounty of local ingredients sourced from area markets. This is to be expected, coming from owner Travis Croxton, who also co-owns Rappahannock Oyster Co., the resurrected family business that sustainably revived oysters native to the Chesapeake Bay. Located a stone’s throw from the Park Road Shopping Center, RockSalt was erected in the former space of a dilapidated dry cleaning business. In its place, a bright, easygoing facade and exceptional patio space makes for afternoons imbued with crisp white wine and platters of chilled, freshly shucked oysters. RockSalt boasts the Rappahannock oyster lineup at its raw bar, featuring the sweet, subtle bivalves that bear the company’s namesake and the briny punch of the Olde Salt oysters. A wood-fired grill and fresh ingredients help round out the menu as well as an impressive arsenal of local beers on tap.

Futo Buta
Bland Street Light Rail Station

Chef Michael Shortino is a man of firsts. He arrived in the Queen City to open Baku, Charlotte’s first restaurant serving Japanese-style robata. Soon after, he struck out on his own to open Charlotte’s first ramen-ya, a minimalist space in South End dedicated to serving hot bowls of ramen and izakaya-style small plates. Shortino, a self-proclaimed ramen junkie, is committed to creating this Japanese comfort with integrity; the all-important alkaline noodles are made from scratch daily, and a large simmering cauldron full of pig trotters and chicken feet, among other things, creates the comforting, pork-laden tonkatsu ramen broth. Of course, Shortino offers less carnivorous bowls and an assortment of small plates worth a look, including the rice crispy squares served with spicy tuna. The location of Futo Buta is slightly tricky, as it’s located on the light rail line. Park on Camden Road near East Park Avenue and follow the light rail track to Bland Street.

4905 Ashley Park Ln., Suite J

New Yorker Laura Maniec chose Charlotte (South Park, to be exact) as the outpost for the third location of Corkbuzz, the hip, educational wine studio. This is the first location outside of New York City for the young master sommelier, who was certified at age 29. Maniec wanted to introduce her love of wine to people at all levels, from the novice to the educated enthusiast, which is why she crafted a stylish hybrid of a wine school, restaurant and gathering space. The South Park location boasts classy, contemporary decor and a glittering display of wine glasses for the robust menu of 40 by-the-glass selections and over 300 bottles of wine by the bottle. Comfortable tables invite guests to settle in for the evening over dinner and expertly paired wine recommendations, and the ample bar is perfectly suited for a glass of bubbly and small plates. Regular events, wine dinners and educational classes round out the wine-centric offerings at Corkbuzz.

Dogwood Southern Table
4905 Ashley Park Ln., Suite D

John Dressler of Dressler’s Restaurant (with locations in Birkdale Village and the Metropolitan in Charlotte) didn’t deviate much from the warm, hospitable atmosphere of his first concept. If anything, he has brought his restaurant family and surrounding community even closer. Dogwood Southern Table is Dressler’s farm-to-table experience located in the heart of South Park. Here, local farmers and artisans are heralded on the menu of Southern favorites, which includes gulf-fried oysters and a decadent North Carolina pork belly. The comfortably rustic space boasts used, reclaimed wooden beams, amber lighting and photographs of the farms and farmers, taken by Dogwood staff. Dogwood’s cocktail program is quite thoughtful, too. Carefully crafted cocktails dubbed “house hooch” are mixed with housemade sours, syrups and even house-infused vodka. Not a drinker? Enjoy one of the carefully crafted non-alcoholic beverages or grab an old-fashioned Nehi. Though an upscale experience, Dogwood will make you feel right at home. 

This article ran in the December 2015 issue of Charlotte Happenings.

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