The 23 most-anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2021

The 23 most-anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2021

Gilde Brewing opening in Lower South End. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

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What’s opening soon in Charlotte? Here’s a quick breakdown of the 23 most-anticipated restaurants, bars and breweries opening in the coming months.

Despite staffing shortages that are prevalent across the country, restaurants are still opening. [Go deeper: Behind the restaurant industry’s drive to pay staff more]

Expansions: This list only includes new concepts in Charlotte. It doesn’t feature big expansions like Bossy Beulah’s in South End or Seoul Food Meat Company’s growth into NoDa or SouthPark.

Recent openings: Even during the pandemic, a few heavy-hitters have joined Charlotte’s food and beverage scene.

  • Trolley Barn Fermentory, a brewery and food hall from the Legion Brewing team.
  • Jinya Ramen, a hip ramen bar that recently opened in Uptown and already has plans for a second South Park location.
  • Detroit-style pizza spot, Emmy Squared opened in Plaza Midwood.
  • JW Marriott brings with it three new eateries: Caroline’s Oyster Bar, Dean’s Steakhouse and Aura Rooftop Bar.
  • Mizu, an Asian-inspired seafood restaurant opened atop SouthPark’s new Hyatt Centric hotel.
  • Rooftop bar and cigar lounge Novelty House & Havana Smoke opened in Uptown’s Binaco Tower.

    Here’s our list of the most anticipated openings, in chronological order.

    (1) Batch House

    Small batch bakery


    Opening: Oct. 9 at Station West. The exact address is 901 Berryhill Rd.

    Background: Batch House had been open only about a year on Bryant Street when Irwin Creek came over its banks in a record day of flooding in November 2020, not long after its one-year anniversary. The shop’s been closed since.

    What to expect: The new Batch House will have all the treats we’ve missed, including their signature oatmeal creme pies and Tres Leches draft lattes. Expect some new desserts Cris Rojas-Agurcia has cooked up at home, too, like her take on dunk-a-roos and some new creme pie combos.

    Read more: Beloved bakery destroyed by a flood to reopen this summer in west Charlotte

    batch houseBatch House’s signature Oatmeal Cream Pie. Photo: Emma Way/Axios.

    (2) Bagel Boys

    New York-style bagel shop in Waverly.

    Opening: November at 7107 Waverly Walk Ave.

    What to expect: The menu will have a wide selection of New York-style bagels, sweet and savory spreads and bagel sandwiches.

    Bagel Boys Waverly

    Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios.

    (3) The Royal Tot

    A two-story tropical bar with skyline views.

    Opening: Fall/winter 2021

    What to expect: It’ll have an interior bar, patio, rooftop deck and private event space.

    Latest concept: The Royal Tot recently launched a pop-up bar concept called Rumaway Cove at Refuge Hotel in Plaza Midwood.

    • Details: Rumaway Cove features tiki-inspired cocktails and a selection of small bites. The Mai Tai is a must-try.
    • Location/Hours: Rumaway cove is located at 1101 Central Ave. and is open Wednesday through Friday from 5pm to midnight and Saturday from 3pm to 2am (next day). The pop-up will run about seven weeks.

    Related story: New tropical bar opening this summer will serve Dole whip and frozen cocktails

    the royal tot tropical bar 4

    Photo: Emma Way/Axios

    Rumaway Cove, Royal Tot

    Royal Tot’s pop-up bar, Rumaway Cove. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

    (4) Mariposa

    International tapas restaurant in the former Halcyon space.

    Opening: October 2021

    Concept: The new restaurant will shift from Halcyon’s farm-to-table concept to a “world-to-table” approach, owner Jill Marcus says. It will have a more modern and youthful feel with a black-and-white color scheme, velvet couches, an expanded bar and multiple murals painted by local artist @owl.clt. And, of course, there’s the same great view of Uptown off the restaurant’s porch.

    Menu: Pulling inspiration from North African and Mediterranean mezze, Mariposa will serve sharable dishes of all sizes, from lamb belly bulgogi lettuce wraps and ceviche aguachile to wood-fired salmon and an heirloom tomato and burrata tart.

    Read more: Scoop: Modern mezze restaurant called Mariposa opening soon at Mint Uptown

    mint museum restaurant halcyon

    Photo: Emma Way/Axios

    (5) The Penguin

    A former burger and fried-pickle joint that’s getting a new life.

    Opening: Fall 2021 on East Boulevard

    Backstory: The Ballentine family ran the Penguin for nearly 50 years in Plaza Midwood before renting the business to Jimmy King and Brian Rowe, who made it nationally famous. Guy Fieri visited during the very first season of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” But in 2010, the family didn’t renew its lease, creating a bitter fallout. The Penguin shut down for good a few years later.

    What to expect: Many of the original Penguin staples will remain with the addition of some New Orleans-style fare and Asian dishes.

    Penguin Plaza Midwood

    The original Penguin sign in Plaza Midwood. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

    (6) Midnight Mulligan Brewing

    Modern beer pub coming to Wesley Heights

    Opening: October or November 2012

    What to expect: The 10,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant will have an expansive 3,000-square-foot patio with skyline views and string lights. The taproom will connect directly to next-door neighbor Summit Seltzer so you can bring your sipper into Midnight Mulligan and vice versa with your beer.

    Read more: Exclusive: Brewery and restaurant with skyline views opening next to Summit Seltzer

    (7) La Capital

    Elevated Mexican-fare coming to the former Luciano’s space in South End.

    Opening: Fall /Winter 2021

    Background: Owned by Atlanta-based Norsan Restaurants, Luciano’s closed at the start of the pandemic after seven years in South End. The team quickly began working on a new concept, one that would attract South End’s younger crowd more than a traditional Italian restaurant.

    What to expect: La Capital will have a wide variety of tequilas and a modern, lively “desert chic” atmosphere.

    Location: 1910 South Blvd.

    Read more: New upscale Mexican restaurant to replace Luciano’s in South End

    La Capital MX South End

    Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

    (8) Para

    Tapas-focused restaurant in the former Zepplin space.

    Opening: Fall 2021

    What to expect: Para will draw its inspiration from “izakaya”-style restaurants, a type of bar or gastropub found in Japan. The menu will incorporate global seafood in its small plates and raw bar.

    Location: 235 West Tremont Ave.

    Related story: Opening soon: Tapas-focused restaurant PARA opening in former Zeppelin space

    Para South End

    Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

    (9) Cheat’s Cheesesteak Parlor

    Authentic cheesesteaks coming to Plaza Midwood

    Opening: Fall 2021

    Background: Co-founders Hannah Smith, Ryan Hart and Chef Greg Balch created the concept while working together at The Crunkleton.

    Menu: The classic “whiz wit” cheesesteaks on Amoroso’s buns are $12 each and cooked in front of guests at each pop-up. There’s also a vegan version.

    Location: 913 Pecan Ave.

    Read more: Real-deal Philly cheesesteak “whiz wit” coming to Charlotte this spring

    cheats cheesesteaks

    Photo: Emma Way/Axios

    (10) Burial Beer Co.

    Asheville-based brewery, Burial expands to the Queen City.

    Opening: Fall 2021 in Plaza Midwood at 1214 Thomas Ave.

    What to expect: The taproom will have an indoor bar area, outdoor beer garden and rooftop deck. Beer enthusiasts can expect a wide selection on tap including barrel-aged sours, stouts, wild ales and rustic lagers.

    Can releases: Leading up to the opening, Burial is doing weekly can drops at the Charlotte taproom every Wednesday from 2-8pm and Saturdays from 12-4pm. Pre-sale for new releases goes live online every Wednesday at noon.

    Read more: Burial’s expansion to Plaza Midwood is big for Charlotte beer lovers

    Burial Brewery

    Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

    (11) Broken Promises

    Swanky bar from the team behind Lost and Found.

    Opening: Fall 2021 in South End

    Concept: Owner Orlando Botero and his partners want Broken Promises to be a laid-back cocktail lounge. Unlike Lost & Found, Broken Promises won’t have a dance floor and the menu will focus on craft cocktails.

    Read more: Lost & Found owners opening a new concept in South End


    Broken Promises will have a strong emphasis on craft cocktails. Photo: Bri Crane/Axios

    (12) Gibson Mill Market

    Food hall and market concept in a former textile mill.

    Opening: Fall 2021 in Concord

    Background: Gibson Mill is the former Gibson Manufacturing Company, which opened in 1899. Now, Gibson Mill averages about 1,000 visitors each day. It houses a variety of tenants, including the largest antique mall in the south.

    What to expect: It’ll have food hall-style dining and shopping similar to Charlotte’s Optimist Hall, but on a smaller scale.

    Read more: Concord’s Gibson Mill Market targets fall opening. Here’s everything we know

    Courtesy of Gibson Mill Market/ D3 Studio

    (13) Meshugganah

    A modern Jewish deli opening near Camp North End.

    Opening: Fall 2021

    What to expect: Meshugganah will have a rotating menu that includes deli staples like sandwiches, matzo ball soup, knishes, blintzes and meat by the pound. It’ll have fresh challah on Fridays for Shabbat, then all-day brunch Saturday that includes challah French toast and house-made bagels.

    Read more: Scoop: Jewish deli with bagels and challah to open on Graham Street

    Photo: Peter Taylor

    (14) Milkbread

    An all-day café from Joe and Katy Kindred — the owners of their namesake restaurant, Kindred in Davidson.

    Opening: Early December 2021 in Davidson

    What to expect: The menu will center on milk bread donuts with flavors including an apple cider glaze, chocolate sea salt and other rotating options.

    The latest: The Kindred’s just announced a second Milkbread location is coming to Charlotte, giving new life to the iconic Dairy Queen in Plaza Midwood. More details here.

    Read more: Exclusive: The Kindreds are opening a new all-day café called Milkbread


    Photo: Emma Way/Axios

    (15) Gilde Brewery

    Gilde, one of Germany’s oldest beer-makers, is coming to the Queen City. 

    Opening: Late 2021 in lower South End

    Concept: The idea is to provide an authentic German brewery experience to Charlotte’s extensive beer scene. Brewers will be instructed by experienced brewmasters.

    On tap: Pilsener is their flagship beer, but the selection includes Kellerbier, Urbock, Pale Wheat, Lemon Radler and Red Rooster.

    Related story: Huge German brewer buys LoSo property

    Gilde brewery

    Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios Charlotte

    (16) Urban District Market at Lintmen’s

    New food hall and Seoul Food Meat Co. location opening along the XCLT trail.

    Opening: Late 2021

    What to expect: The Lintmen’s complex will include Urban District Market, a food hall with 12 local stalls. Behind the food hall is Seoul Food Meat Co.’s second location coming in at 15,000 square feet.

    Read more: New food hall to open in Charlotte in 2021, one mile from Optimist Hall


    Photo: Emma Way/Axios

    (17) Puttery

    An adults-only, immersive experience that puts a contemporary spin on putting.

    Opening: End of 2021

    What to expect: Each course has a theme and transports players through settings like libraries, ski lifts and rooftops. Courses will use technology like digital scoreboards.

    • For food and drinks, a curated selection of shareables sits alongside inventive craft cocktails.

    Read more: Mini golf concept backed by Rory McIlroy coming soon to South End

    Photo: Puttery Dallas

    (18) Super Abari Game Bar

    Vintage game bar concept.

    Opening: Late 2021/early 2022 at 1721 North Davidson St.

    What to expect: Abari will still have a full bar and a small food menu with novelties like homemade Hot Pockets from local bakery Dukes Bread.

    Read more: “Super” Abari game bar in the works in Belmont neighborhood

    new abari location

    Photo: Emma Way/Axios

    (19) Night Swim Coffee

    A collaboration between two of Charlotte’s most popular coffee shops, Not Just Coffee and Undercurrent.

    Opening: Late 2021/early 2022 in Lower South End, Oakhurst, and two locations in Uptown

    What to expect: The new spaces will have a “leveled up” atmosphere from the hip Brooklyn-coffee-shop feel at existing NJC and Undercurrent locations.

    Read more: Big coffee news: Not Just Coffee, Undercurrent teaming up for roastery and 4 cafés

    Night Swim Coffee

    Night Swim Coffee Oakhurst. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

    (20) Early Girl Eatery

    A popular Asheville breakfast spot that’s coming to South End’s Dimensional Place building.

    Opening: Late 2021 or early 2022

    What to expect: Owner Jesson Gil likens the Early Girl dining experience to a home-cooked meal made with ingredients you’ve picked out from a farmer’s market.

    A total of three restaurants are opening in South End’s Dimensional Place building. Read more about them here.

    Read more: Popular Asheville breakfast spot Early Girl Eatery expands to South End

    grit cake

    Early Girl Eatery’s grit cake. Photo courtesy of Early Girl Eatery.

    Dimensional Building South End, Early Girl Eatery

    Dimensional Building South End. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios.

    (21) Bar à Vins

    Opening: Early 2022 in NoDa

    What to expect: Longtime friends and sommeliers Natalie Stewart (currently of Fin & Fino) and Jeff Kellogg will bring their expertise to an approachable wine list with retail pricing. Plus, there will be a snack menu with high-low items from caviar to potato chips.

    Menu: The wine menu will feature a rotating list of affordable wines you can’t find elsewhere in the neighborhood. For food, expect small bites like caviar and potato chips and tinned fish and saltines.

    (22) The Crust Pizza (South End & Parktowne Village)

    A Naples-based pizza concept opening in the iconic Mr. K’s space in South End.

    Opening: Early 2022

    Background: Mr. K’s was a Charlotte institution and testament to the fortitude of a family-run small business. The restaurant closed after 50 years due to pressure from developers in South End in recent years, and slow traffic during the pandemic.

    What to expect: Midwest-style pizza, toasted subs and salads.

    Mr. K's Ice Cream, Crust Pizza South End

    Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

    (23) Amma’s Pizza and Cheesesteaks

    New concept from Mama Ricotta’s team

    Opening: Early 2022 at 601 South Kings Dr.

    What to expect: The curated menu will focus on New York-style pizza by the slice or pie, and traditional Philly cheesesteaks with your choice of whiz or American cheese.

    ammas pizza

    “Real deal” New York pizza by the pie or by the slice. Photo: Rémy Thurston, courtesy FS Food Group

    Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on September 29, 2021.

    All this restaurant talk making you hungry? View all Axios food and drink guides here.

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