See inside Zeppelin, South End’s newest upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge, before it opens December 26

See inside Zeppelin, South End’s newest upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge, before it opens December 26
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West Tremont Avenue’s transformation continues with the addition of Zeppelin, an upscale restaurant and cocktail space looking to add a more intimate destination for food and drink to the South End area.

Located at 235 West Tremont Avenue, Zeppelin’s presence comes with the new Common Market and Bang Bang Bites, both targeting 2018 open dates. While a space on Camden Road was looked at and considered, the restaurant ultimately chose the small brick building for its history – the space wouldn’t have worked in a new building.

The interior’s small touches bring the steampunk-inspired theme to life, with authentic antique pieces from Sleepy Poet and news headlines from all over 1900s-era Charlotte.

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The 2,300-square-foot space, named after the balloon-like airship used during World War I, provides seating for just 60, allowing Chef Vince Giancarlo to create an experience that will leave his diners with “goosebumps” while surprising them, he told the Agenda.

While the Johnson & Wales alum has worked at places like Mama Ricotta’s, Cantina 1511 and BAKU, Zeppelin is the first venture in which he gets to have creative control over the menu, and his passion shines through with items like Carolina Collards & Apples, Maine Lobster Mac & Cheese, American Wagyu Tartare and Buttermilk Poached Kettle Fried Chicken.

Other menu highlights include Butternut Squash Hummus, Fried Green Tomato Caprese, Peppadew Rellenos, Scratch Buns and Heritage, made with confit pork cheek hush puppies, whipped wildflower honey butter, Brunswick stew, BBQ and belly-wrapped fig sausage.

Left, Carolina Collars & Apples (apple cider vinaigrette, lardons, candied cashews, smoked cheddar and sweet potatoes, $8), right, Butternut Squash Hummus (wildflower honey, toasted squash seed gremolata, pickled butternut relish, squash oil and brioche crostini, $12)

Roasted & Glazed Carrots (fresh ricotta, pickled herbs, olive oil and local wildflower honey, $14)

Peppadew Rellenos (herb whipped chevre, melted cabbage & leeks, preserved lemon and scratchmade yuzu ranch, $9)

Point Judith Calamari (Korean chile, yuzu, pickled bacon dashi gel, serranos and HRF shishitos, $9.50)

Items are made with locally-sourced ingredients – most notably Birdsong’s Mexicali Stout, Giancarlo’s favorite beer, which is used in the Point Judith Calamari and inspired its own Mexicali Stout Cake for dessert.

Desserts will be available on a rotating menu.

The bar, led by head bartender Ryan Hart and mixology consultant Larry Suggs, also provides a nod to the era with a molecular-centric drink menu, which uses molecular gastronomy equipment and techniques to create something unique.

Cocktails include Giggle Water (gin, tonic, honey and lime on draft), Fogle Fizz (gin, Yuzu-Lemongrass Cordial, egg white, Topo Chico sparkling water) and The Edison (bourbon, cashew-infused Sorghum Syrup, bitters and spiced cherry), a nod to Edison’s visit to the city and friendship with Edward Dilworth Latta. Prices hover around the $10-$15 mark.

Ferdinand’s Friend (Lunazul reposado tequila, Campari and Shishito’d vermouth). Courtesy Zeppelin.

Fogle Fizz (Hendricks gin, yuzu-lemongrass cordial, butterfly pea flower and Topo Chico sparkling water). Courtesy Zeppelin.

Pen Pals (Queen Charlotte rum, mint, kaffir lime leaf, fresh lime and egg white). Courtesy Zeppelin.

Zeppelin will open to the public the day after Christmas 5 p.m. and operate Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

Find Zeppelin at 235 West Tremont Avenue, open Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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