Cicchetti offers a Venetian-style dining experience in a sophisticated uptown setting.
By Cathy Martin
Oenophiles take note: A new wine bar is open in the heart of uptown Charlotte, with a wide-ranging menu of delectable, shareable plates and a retail shop with a thoughtful selection of bottles available for carryout, curbside pickup or delivery.
Cicchetti opened in late September at Bank of America Corporate Center in the space formerly occupied by City Smoke. It’s the latest concept from Pierre Bader’s Sonoma Restaurant Group, parent of Aria Tuscan Grill.
Cicchetti are essentially the Venitian version of Spanish tapas — small bites, finger foods and other dishes designed for sharing.
“It was born out of our love of eating and trying new things and being able to share food and drink around the table,” says Briana Cohen, who’s worked for SRG for 22 years and curates the wine selections.
The menu developed by SRG Executive Chef Alex Piatt includes a mix of pulpetti (meatballs) that can be eaten in one bite; bruschetta, served family style with shareable toppings; plus an extensive variety of meat, seafood and vegetarian small plates. A small selection of desserts is available for customers stopping in after dinner or a show.
“Watching the space transform inspired me with the menu,” says Piatt of the 100-seat venue designed by Shook Kelley.
The cocktail menu includes several classics plus variations on the Spritz and the Bellini. Prosecco is offered on tap, along with two draft cocktails: A signature cocktail made with gin, house-made limoncello, Aperol, sweet vermouth and prosecco; plus a rotating whiskey cocktail developed by local mixologist Bob Peters.
Cicchetti will host two wine clubs — one featuring seasonal selections from around the world and another featuring sustainable produced offerings. “Their names are not well-known, but their wines are truly farm-to-table,” Cohen says. “People are so into where their food comes from — it’s the same concept, just with wine.” Members will get first notice of each month’s selections and invitations to monthly pick-up parties with wine and food tastings.
The 400-bottle selection also includes some familiar selections. “I wanted to include wines that people in Charlotte have a great comfort level with,” says Cohen, who’s been able to travel extensively and get to know a lot of the producers. “I think a lot of times wine shops and wine lists can be intimidating.”
To take the stress out of selecting bottles, Cicchetti takes a sommelier model when it comes to hiring staff: “We are focused on hiring people who are wine-centric,” Cohen says. “These people are super passionate — they understand the producers; they understand that the story is everything.” SP
Located at 100 N. Tryon St., Cicchetti is open Monday-Thursday from 2 p.m – 10:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m to midnight. Wine bottles are available via carryout or in-house (a $10 corkage fee applies). Same-day curbside pickup is offered with two hours notice. Same-day delivery is available for $5 with two-hours notice: There is a one-bottle minimum for delivery downtown, and a one-case minimum within greater Charlotte. cicchetticlt.com