A new seafood house, brunch bets and brewery closings


February 22, 2024

scallops at fin and fino

Taste of the town: A weekly roundup of all things food + drink in the Queen City.

It was a week of highs and lows, from The People’s Market’s expansion into Myers Park to a tragic loss in Charlotte’s beer community. Here’s what else is on our radar in Charlotte’s food and drink scene.

Cocktails + courts

Rally in Lower South End recently launched a new Saturday night pickleball program. Tickets ($25) include rotating pickleball play from 8-11 p.m., a cocktail or spirit-free drink, plus access to pingpong and other games.

A new seafood spot

Fin & Fino will open its new location at Birkdale Village on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the former Dressler’s space — the first restaurant from Rare Roots Hospitality that debuted 20 years ago. Expect a menu similar to the uptown Fin & Fino highlighting small plates, fresh seafood, pastas and local produce.

Bye-bye breweries

On the heels of Blue Blaze’s announcement it was closing its westside brewery and taproom, Dreamchaser’s in Waxhaw also said on social media it was closing after seven and a half years due to “forces out of our control.”

Brunch, brunch baby

With its classic chicken & waffles (and those refreshing minty watermelon cubes) and lavish mimosa trays, Link & Pin was already a brunch mainstay. Now the local restaurant with locations at the Arboretum and South End has introduced a new dish to tempt our palates, the Lobster Benedict. With a toasted English muffin topped with a poached egg, hollandaise, and a whole lobster tail, it’s served alongside charred asparagus and potato hash casserole. In SouthPark, The Fox & Falcon by David Burke also now serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Lobster benedict at Link & Pin

Lobster Benedict | image courtesy Link & Pin

The dish + the drink

Humbug by Justin Driscoll

THE DISH: We never expect to find great salads in a brewery, but Suffolk Punch SouthPark has a few worth mentioning. We tried: Beets by Suffolk (quinoa, Harmony Ridge beets, cabbage, kale, goat cheese, blueberries with a white balsamic vinaigrette, pictured) and the House chopped salad with kale, cabbage, Windy Hill Orchard apples, cranberries and blue cheese with a maple-bourbon vinaigrette.    

THE DRINK: It’s tea time! Expect more tea-and-liquor cocktails in the year ahead, local mixologists say. Pictured is Humbug’s bestselling Thundercat, a blend of Thai tea, reposado tequila, Fernet, egg white and cinnamon with a frothy texture. See what other cocktail trends are ahead here. Photograph by Justin Driscoll.

One for the road

If you’re heading to Pawley’s or elsewhere on the Hammock Coast this spring, you may want to check out The Independent, a new restaurant in Georgetown, S.C., from Indigo Road Hospitality (OAK Steakhouse, Mizu, O-Ku). Expect a raw bar and a seafood-focused menu plus steaks and elevated takes on southern classics like chicken and dumplings, shrimp and grits, skillet cornbread and blackened flounder. The Independent is part of The George, a soon-to-open waterfront hotel. And there’s a familiar face in the kitchen: Executive Chef Thomas Vance has been a mainstay on Charlotte’s food and drink scene, with previous roles at Little Mama’s, Carpe Diem and George’s Brasserie.

The Independent Restaurant in Georgetown SC

Charleston interior designer Jenny Keenan designed The Independent, a new seafood restaurant in Georgetown, S.C. Image courtesy Indigo Road Hospitality.

featured image of Fin & Fino courtesy The Plaid Penguin

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