Around town


August 30, 2022

now open

Leo’s Italian Social opened at Piedmont Town Center in the space that previously housed Brio. The restaurant, which has two other locations in Ohio, serves Italian comfort food and woodfired pizzas in an upscale casual setting.  

New in Cotswold is Piada Italian Street Food, an Ohio-based fast-casual chain with 45 locations. The brand was inspired by family-run street vendors in Rimini, Italy. Piada serves made-to-order wraps, salads and pastas. A second Charlotte location will open later this year in the University area. Piada is open daily from 10:45 a.m.-10 p.m. Americana Beer Company, a small-batch brewery, opened in Monroe. Co-founded by Zach Hinschberger, Alec Barnes and Darren Tucker, Americana is Monroe’s second craft brewery. The menu features signature beers created by head brewer Tucker, hard ciders, guest beers, wine and nonalcoholic drinks. Americana is located at 222 North Main St. in Monroe.  Cheat’s Cheesesteak Parlor opened in Chantilly. Cheat’s, which serves Cheez Whiz cheesesteaks and hoagies on Liscio’s rolls, started in late 2020 as a popup founded by partners Ryan Hart, Greg Balch and Hannah Smith. Cheat’s is open daily from noon-8:00 p.m. at 913 Pecan Ave.  Little Mama’s Italian Kitchen will open a second location in Rea Farms. The new restaurant will be 4,600 square feet with indoor and outdoor seating for 200. It’s expected to open sometime in 2023.


Sycamore Brewing Pumpkin Latte Blonde being poured into a glass.
Photograph Courtesy Sycamore Brewing

Believe it or not, PSL season is here — and we don’t mean just coffee. Sycamore Brewing has brought back its Pumpkin Latte Blonde, available in cans at local retailers. “Pumpkin Latte Blonde is like a pumpkin spice latte in beer form,” says Sarah Taylor Brigham, co-owner of Sycamore, which recently overtook Olde Mecklenburg Brewery as Charlotte’s top beer producer. The ale is made with house-roasted cold brew coffee, pumpkin-pie spices and vanilla, with dark chocolate and berry notes. Sycamore plans to open its new South End taproom this fall.


Box of chocolates from Twenty Degrees Chocolates. Photograph by Justin Driscoll.

Photograph By Justin Driscoll

Soul Gastrolounge and Sister, the Plaza-Midwood restaurants owned by Andy and Lesa Kastanas, have closed due to rising rent costs, the owners said. The couple plans to reopen Soul at a yet-to-be-announced location. Twenty Degrees Chocolates, which launched inside Petit Philippe wine store on Selwyn Avenue, has closed after 12 years. Owner Casey Hickey plans to spend more time with family. The chocolate shop’s South End location will become an outpost for Petit Philippe. Hickey and her husband and business partner Mark Meissner still plan to expand Petit Philippe at a 4,960-square-foot building on Park Road. 

Mama Ricotta’s turns 30 

Mama Ricotta restaurant table view from above. Pasta dishes and wine. Photograph by Remy Thurston.
Photograph by Remy Thurston

In August, Charlotte institution Mama Ricotta’s celebrated three decades in business. Owner Frank Scibelli opened the restaurant in 1992, serving traditional Italian food that reminded him of his childhood. (The Penne alla Vodka has become a Queen City classic.) “It has been a team effort from hundreds of people over the years, but one dish at a time, it’s our pleasure to continue a rich tradition of quality, creativity and warm hospitality,” Scibelli says. Mama’s menu of pizzas and classic pasta dishes has made it one of the city’s longest-running — and most beloved — restaurants for family dinners, date nights and special occasions. Mama Ricotta’s is located at 601 S. Kings Dr.  SP

Piada Photograph By Tonya Russ Price

Intel of Your Wildest Dreams!


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