Heist: The Rise of the Brewpub

NoDa’s Heist Brewery adds a twist to the city’s craft brew craze



Taylor Mathis

Charlotte has gone crazy for craft brews and gastropubs over the past few years, but there’s been one thing missing: a true, local brewpub. Heist Brewery aims to fill the void.

Located in the historic Highland Park Mill No. 3 building, once home to the largest textile mill in Charlotte, Heist warms up the building’s stark industrial roots with soft lighting and wood accents on the walls. The restaurant encompasses four dining spaces that feel separate but offer a nice flow: an entryway and bar area, a dining area with high-top tables and views of the brewery, a mezzanine level, and an outdoor patio.

A large copper chandelier is the first hint of the brewpub’s concept and name, which was inspired by notorious 1930s gangster Baby Face Nelson—a distant relative of Heist founder Kurt Hogan. The chandelier was made from giant copper pipes left over from the installation of the brewing equipment, but what you can’t help but notice are the bullet holes that riddle it. The Heist team hauled the pipes to a local firing range and used an arsenal of guns—including an M-16—to create the striking design element.

Brewmaster Zach Hart has created a twelve-beer roster for the brewpub’s debut, ranging in weight from a smooth, light lager to a creamy oatmeal stout, plus four flavors of handcrafted sodas (cream soda, root beer, orange cream soda, and black cherry soda). Hart’s beers and sodas played a large role in the creation of Executive Chef Rob Masone’s inventive, playful menu, which he describes as “twisted American cuisine.” Beer and the by-products of the brewing process are incorporated into almost every dish on the menu, from the explicit (oven-roasted beer cheese) to the less obvious (using mash as an ingredient in the restaurant’s made-from-scratch breads).

Masone’s strict attention to detail is apparent throughout a meal, from unexpected flavor combinations to the plates and serving vessels themselves, which he designed out of natural materials such as wood and granite. An example: the Himalayan Shrimp Stix ($16) are spicy, shrimp skewers served cold, wrapped in clouds of lemon-wasabi cotton candy, and then brought to the table spiked into a block of solid granite. As a dish, it feels a little gimmicky, but the sweetness of the cotton candy contrasts well with the chili-rubbed shrimp.

Other standouts: savory Kurobuta pork belly corn dogs, a pile of mini corn dogs stuffed with milk-and-honey-braised pork belly and served with a root beer barbecue dipping sauce ($11); Little People Tacos, savory mini tacos stuffed with beer-braised veal cheek, blue cheese polenta, raspberry chipotle crème, and microgreens ($14); and the burgers, with patties that blend smoked brisket, porterhouse tail, and chuck. (Tip: order the oversized rosemary tater tots alongside.)

Reservations are recommended, especially on weekend nights. Even with its more than 200 seats, Heist is almost always busy—a sign that Charlotte just might be hungry for more innovators in the kitchen.

More »Related Stories

Earl's Grocery in Elizabeth

A new bodega from the owners of Carpe Diem

Guest Post From Asheville: Beer Like Grandma Used To Make

Asheville's Wicked Weed Brewery has a Milk & Cookies Stout, but wouldn't you rather have milk and cookies instead?

Mountain Cabin Cuisine: Stone Mountain Grill

This restauant offers familiar cuisine in a warm atmosphere

Baku Brings New Flavors to SouthPark

A trendy and traditional take on Japanese cuisine

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by siging up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Blogs »


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events

Sip wine in the garden, learn how to attract hummingbirds to the backyard, enjoy some ice cream, and take advantage of a big summer sale

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Nom-nom at Nan's

It's a great time to test out the menu at 5Church's sister restaurant ...

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Hooray, Beer!

The Charlotte City Council opens the door for a new craft brewery wave. When will the beer bubble burst?

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

This Weekend in Charlotte: The Jazz Room, Phish, Seinfeld, & More

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Kids Cook with Heart

Six groups of kids competed Saturday morning in a delicious fajita faceoff

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Salud Beer Shop plans expansion, nanobrewery

Will feature beers from Carolina Brewmasters, other guest brewers

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Art Pope and the Threat to N.C. Higher Ed

A thorough Washington Post profile explores Art Pope and his attempts to bring N.C. universities to heel.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Talking Trellising

This technique works well to maximize space and add interest

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Fire in the City: It's back!

Luca Annunziata of Passion8 Bistro and Clark Barlowe of Heirloom kick off Charlotte's second round of competition dining

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

The Weekday Roundup: Dave Matthews Band, Maria Bamford, and Mary Poppins

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Bob Rucho's Idea of 'Local Control'

The Senate is considering a bill that would keep MeckCo voters from deciding on a sales tax hike. So much for the virtues of local control.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Painting Pointers

A local designer helps us broaden our palette

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Try This!

From Indian delicacies to Mexican cheese-smothered chicken, go out and taste all that Charlotte's restaurants have to offer

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Lenny Boy Brewing Company celebrates flagship beer release

North Carolina's first certified organic brewery will now be open on Fridays

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

How Pat McCrory Undermines His Own Good Ideas On Education

The governor has some decent ideas about school reform--but he keeps lying about nonexistent 'teachers' unions.'

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Which tomato do I want?

Take a taste this Saturday in Matthews

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

The Gray Classic Weekend, Martini and a Makeover, Cirque de Whisky, Daytime Summer Parties, and More - July 17-20

It’s another eventful span of four days in Charlotte, and several of these events are fundraisers, which means you can feel good while you're feeling good.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Getting Greeky

I ditched Food Truck Friday for a taste of Greece - flaming cheese and all.

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

This Weekend in Charlotte: Discovery Place, KISS, and MattyB

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Foul

Pat McCrory bypassed the N.C. Arts Council in naming a state Poet Laureate. We respond with a 'Howl' of protest.

Comments