News, notes, and gossip about the restaurant scene
Big View Diner (Ardrey Kell and Johnston roads, 704-544-0313) has opened in south Charlotte. The diner is retro modern, from its bold décor—both interior and exterior—to its classic American dishes, including chicken noodle soup ($3.45) and chili burgers ($8.95). Opened by the Stratos Restaurant Group (also behind Ilios Noches and Nolen Kitchen), the diner's owners are Stratos Lambos and Angelo Kaltsounis.
Right now the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge (10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., 704-248-4100) is hosting its Summer of Food & Wine Celebration. Through September 7, the resort will host weekly poolside parties, wine and cheese tastings, grilling demonstrations, and other seasonal entertainment. Check the Web site (theballantynehotel.com) for details on times and events.
Soul Gastro Lounge (1500 1/2 Central Ave., 704-348-1848) recently opened on the corner of Pecan and Central avenues in Plaza Midwood. The second-story restaurant features an outdoor patio with skyline views and serves sushi and tapas dishes. Owner Andy Kastanas, a part owner of Cosmos and The Forum, often spins tunes in the lounge's DJ booth.
Andrew Blair's (1600 Montford Dr., 704-525-8282) has a new chef. Blake Hartwick, formerly of Bonterra, Las Ramblas, and The Lodge, is now bringing more Southern taste and seasonal foods to the Montford Drive restaurant. The menu and interior have been revamped with a lounge area in part of the restaurant and a menu with all items under $20, including the Carpet Bagger, a mix of braised short ribs, fried oysters, and creamed spinach ($18). "We're serving comfort food with a twist," says Hartwick, who calls the new menu "contemporary Southern."