Short takes on new, newish, and notable restaurants
Tucked just off Johnston Road, the seventh Hickory Tavern (there’s also one in Hickory, one in Spartanburg, and four others in Charlotte) opened this summer. While you might dismiss it as just another bar and grill, this Hickory Tavern feels more like Fox & Hound amped up on ESPN. On one recent Saturday night, the Ballantyne location boasted several free tables with ample viewing room of the more than two dozen plasma TVs (four of which are high-def projectors) showing NASCAR and preseason NFL. Don’t let the empty seats mislead you—this is the ’burbs bar to do everything from watch the Panthers to grab a bite with your spouse to hanging with friends for a Thursday-night happy hour.
The food is just as publike as you’d expect—minisliders (get the Buffalo chicken), shrimp and grits, or the Reuben oozing with Swiss cheese (order a side of the sweet potato fries). Plus, beer specials are offered daily in supercold mugs. Bonus: if the bar scene is too much, walk just a block over to Vintage Wine Cellar for a glass of wine to wind down.
12210 Copper Way. (704-295-9009) $-$$, L, D. Open daily.