The 25 most-anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2021

The 25 most-anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2021

Rendering of Dean’s Steakhouse at the forthcoming JW Marriott, courtesy of the hotel.

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This article was last updated on July 8, 2021.

What’s opening soon in Charlotte? Here’s a quick breakdown of the 25 most-anticipated new restaurants, bars and breweries opening in the coming months.

Despite the 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: The list below only includes new concepts to Charlotte. It doesn’t include big expansions like Bossy Beulah’s in South End or Seoul Food Meat Company’s expansion into NoDa or SouthPark.

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

  • Bocado, an Atlanta-based Southern American bar and diner opened in the former Big Ben space.
  • Cult-favorite charcuterie business, Babe & Butcher.
  • Latin café and cevicheria from Frank Scibelli, Calle Sol.
  • Jim Noble’s latest restaurant venture, The Jimmy.

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

    (1) Trolley Barn Fermentory & Food Hall

    New brewery and restaurant concept from Legion Brewing.

    Opening: Mid to late July in South End’s Atherton Mill near Indaco.

    Overview: The nearly 8,000 square foot space will be comprised of a brewery, taproom and multiple food stalls. There will be indoor and outdoor seating, a second-floor mezzanine and patio with unobstructed views of Uptown.

    “I love South End, and to be able to bring the Trolley Barn Fermentory to this hip vibrant area of Charlotte is so exciting,” Legion Brewing owner Phil Buchy said. “The Atherton Trolley Barn is right on the Rail Trail, providing great pedestrian access with its walkability to multiple neighborhoods in Charlotte, making this a prime location to enjoy great beer and food with friends.”

    Name: The name comes from our city’s electric trolleys that began operating in 1891 and ran to neighborhoods like Dilworth, Myers Park, and Elizabeth.

    Read more: View renderings: Two-story brewery and restaurant going into Atherton’s Trolley Barn

    Trolley Barn Fermentory

    Trolley Barn Fermentory

    Views of Uptown from the rooftop patio.

    (2) Jinya Ramen

    LA-based ramen restaurant opening in the Ally Charlotte Center tower.

    Opening: Late July 2021

    Background: JINYA Ramen Bar was founded by Tomo Takahashi after he immigrated to the U.S. and realized that the only way he would get authentic Japanese food was if he made it himself. There are now 40 locations across the country.

    What to expect: The menu includes 13 types of ramen, including spicy umami miso ramen, wonton chicken ramen and vegan ramen. For drinks, there will be local beer on tap, classic cocktails and Japanese cocktails like the Japanese slipper and Japanese highball.

    JINYA Spicy Chicken Ramen

    JINYA’s Spicy Chicken Ramen. Photo courtesy of JINYA.

    (3) La Capital

    An upscale Mexican restaurant opening in the former Luciano’s space in South End.

    Opening: Late July or early August

    Background: Owned by Atlanta-based Norsan Restaurants, Luciano’s closed at the start of the pandemic after seven years. 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.

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

    (4) Para

    opening in the former Zepplin space.

    Opening: August 2021

    What to expect: The menu will consist of “izakaya” style tapas and seafood.

    (5) JW Marriot Restaurants & Bar

    Two new restaurants and a rooftop bar are coming to the new JW Marriott.

    Opening: Mid-August

    What to expect:

    • Caroline’s Oyster Bar will be a seafood restaurant with a variety of craft beers.
    • Dean’s Steakhouse will be a classy steakhouse with an expansive patio.
    • Aura Rooftop Bar will be a new spot for skyline views. Aura is on the 5th floor of the hotel adjacent to the pool deck.

    Renderings courtesy of JW Marriott.

    Renderings courtesy of JW Marriott.

    (6) Emmy Squared Pizza (Plaza Midwood & South End)

    New York-based pizza joint serving up Detroit-style pizza.

    Opening: Summer 2021 in Plaza Midwwod. TBD for the South End location

    Background: Emmy Squared started in Brooklyn in 2016 and is known for its square-shaped, crispy-bottomed Detroit-style pizza and signature burgers.

    More cheese: Emmy Squared hasn’t opened in Plaza Midwood yet, but has already secured its second local spot in South End’s Design Center.

    Read more: Emmy Squared expanding Charlotte footprint fast with second location

    Courtesy of Emmy Squared

    (7) Cheat’s Cheesesteak Parlor

    Authentic cheesesteaks.

    Opening: Late summer 2021 in Plaza Midwood.

    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 with Beyond meat.

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

    cheats cheesesteaks

    (8) Burial Beer Co.

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

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

    What to expect: The taproom will have an indoor bar area, outdoor beer garden and a 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 space every Wednesday from 2-8pm and every Saturday from 12-4pm. Presale for all 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

    (9) Mizu

    Seafood restaurant opening atop SouthPark’s new Hyatt Centric hotel. 

    Opening: Summer 2021

    What to expect: Mizu’s menu will be led by executive chef Michael Chanthavong, formerly of O-Ku, the South End restaurant consistently named Charlotte’s best sushi restaurant by Axios Charlotte readers. The concept is inspired by the wood-fired Robata grills of Japan, and the menu will blend the ancient Japanese-style cooking with Southern and Asian flavors.

    Read more: New rooftop restaurant opening this summer by O-Ku chef

    Photo courtesy of Mizu.

    (10) Super Abari Game Bar

    Vintage game bar concept.

    Opening: Late summer/fall 2021 in Belmont.

    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

    (11) Broken Promises

    Swanky bar from the team behind Lost and Found.

    Opening: Late summer/early 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, which is temporarily closed due to the ongoing pandemic, it 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.

    (12) The Royal Tot

    A two-story tropical bar with skyline views.

    Opening: August/September 2021

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

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

    the royal tot tropical bar 4

    (13) Batch House

    Small batch bakery

    Opening: September 2021 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, 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 the signature oatmeal creme pies and Tres Leches draft lattes. Expect some new desserts Rojas-Agurcia has cooked up at home, too, like her take on Dunk-A-Roos and some new creme pie combinations.

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

    batch house

    (14) A to-be-named concept at the Mint Museum Uptown

    After Halcyon closed in December of 2020, the same team will open a new international tapas restaurant in the space. 

    Opening: September 2021

    Concept: Expect an international tapas-style menu with influences from Morocco and India through chef Jonathan Moore’s Southern lens. It’ll still source ingredients locally, including from the restaurant’s own “victory garden.” The look will be more contemporary with a colorful mural and modern artwork that tie in with the museum.

    Outdoor dining: The restaurant’s balcony just got cooler with the addition of greenhouse dining pods.

    Read more: Halcyon will close, and a new restaurant with greenhouse pods will open at Mint Uptown

    mint museum restaurant halcyon

    (15) 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 house 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.

    (16) Milkbread

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

    Opening: Fall 2021.

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

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


    (17) 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 Friday nights for Shabbat, then all-day brunch on 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 by Peter Taylor

    (18) 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 from Germany.

    On tap: Pilsener is their flagship beer, but their 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

    (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 bank of america tower

    One of the new Night Swim cafes will be in the new Bank of America tower at 620 S. Tryon St.

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

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

    Opening: An opening date hasn’t been announced yet.

    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 in business 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.

    Read more: Iconic Mr. K’s will close at 5pm today

    Mr. K's soft serve vertical

    (21) Urban District Market at Lintmen’s

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

    Opening: Sometime in 2021. Massive construction projects like this one take time so I wouldn’t expect this to open until fall at the earliest.

    What to expect: The Lintmen’s complex will include Urban District Market, a food hall with 12 all-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


    (22) 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 eating a home-cooked meal made with ingredients you’ve picked out from a farmer’s market.

    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.

    (23) The Penguin

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

    Opening: September 2021

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

    (24) Novelty House Rooftop & Havana Smoke

    Two concepts coming to the Binaco Tower at 123 E. Fifth St.

    Opening: Summer 2021

    What to expect:

    • Novelty House Rooftop will be an open-air bar that features 40+ specialty drinks and rotating seasonal floral décor.
    • Havana Smoke & Reserve will be an upscale cigar club with a full bar and cigar lockers for members.

    (25) Midnight Mulligan Brewing

    Modern beer pub coming to Wesley Heights

    Opening: September 2021

    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 seltzer into Midnight Mulligan and vice versa with your beer.

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

    midnight mulligan brewery west end 7

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

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