A Southern supper, brunch bets and a neighborhood favorite expands


March 1, 2024

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

Market moves

Loyalist Market founder Chris Sottile shared on Instagram that he has sold the business to Wyatt Fout. Sottile opened the Matthews cheese shop, market and café nearly seven years ago and quickly amassed a devoted following. But the restaurant aspect of the business didn’t fit with Sottile’s long-term goals. “I saw us as a slow-paced cheese shop with a small team, with a handful of people coming in to eat,” Sottile wrote. “I was too naive in the beginning to realize we’d be restaurant first, cheese shop second.”

Optimist Hall announced Elizabeth neighborhood favorite, Customshop, is moving in this summer with a food stall between Village Juice and Boxcar Betty’s. Chef-Owner Andres Kaifer and Managing Partner Alex Bridges are planning for it to be a Spanish-style tapas shop featuring bocadillos, croquettes tortilla española, patatas bravas, and Customshop’s popular flan.

Dinner experiences

SupperClub in Lower South End is hosting a Sokol Blosser Wine + Lobster Dinner on March 14 at 6:30 p.m. On the menu: raw oysters followed by a Lowcountry boil with Maine lobster and shrimp, with buttermilk pie and s’mores for dessert. Each course will feature pairings from the Oregon winery. Tickets are $80; the price goes up to $100 on March 8.

DTR SouthPark is hosting a White Wine Tasting led by owner and sommelier Jaffer Kovic this month on Saturday, March 16. The tasting of six white wines from around the world includes personal charucterie, flatbreads for the table and insights from Kovic. Tickets are $125 per person.

More brunch bets

We all know the Queen City loves to brunch. Beginning Saturday, Mar. 2, VINYLthe music-themed cocktail bar in South End — is adding brunch service now that Chef Matt Moore (previously of VANA) is at the helm. On the menu: croissant French toast, shakshuka (eggs and chickpeas in spicy tomato sauce with Verdant sourdough), huevos rancheros, smoked salmon lox and more. Elsewhere, Ruby Sunshine, with locations in South End and Ballantyne, introduced spring specials including lavender-lemon beignets, a pineapple ham benedict and almond-berry pancakes.

The dish + the drink

THE DISH: Sharing a bite from our feature on Customshop — contributor Michael J. Solender recommends the beets appetizer, which pairs sweet red and yellow beets atop a whipped fromage with a smoky vinaigrette and walnut crumble. Michael says the blend of sweet, salty flavors and crunchy, creamy textures was a fun start to the meal. Photo by Justin Driscoll.     

THE DRINK: A recent trip to Mizu, atop the Hyatt Centric in SouthPark, was a good reminder of why this Japanese wood-fired seafood restaurant is such a good addition to the neighborhood. Before our table was filled with shareables like the Shrimp Crunch and Lemon Drop Maki Rolls, we started with a Dei Ji cocktail (Lunazul Blanco, Cointreau, Lime and Matcha) — just the right amount of tangy tartness.

One for the road

Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn introduced an “America’s Favorite Drive” package, a nod to the Blue Ridge Parkway and its century-old history of scenic road trips. The package includes Mountain View room accommodations, breakfast buffet in the Blue Ridge Dining Room, a guide to the parkway and overnight valet or self parking.

Historic photo inspiration for Omni Grove Park Inn’s America’s Favorite Drive package


Featured photo: Chipotle turkey bacon sandwich on brioche from Loyalist Market

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