What is it that you Crave, Clt? As restaurants reopen in the Queen City, we are all asking the same question. Where can we go to eat out? We are all cautious, and rightfully so. I can tell you first hand, that chefs, restaurant owners and their staff, as well, are all working hard to make things as safe and easy for you as possible.
And, a group of Charlotte chefs have been working on another project. One to make summer more fun. It’s called Crave CLT and, as the name suggestions, festival events will offer just the summer fun and flavor you’ve been waiting for. This cool new Queen City festival celebrating food and drink is definitely something need to know about – it all happens July 21- 26, 2020. But, first, let’s all remember, things are not the same as they used to be. We are only kidding ourselves if we pretend that they are.
Our New Normal
As I have said before, the new normal isn’t “normal” at all; but, it is where we are and together we can make it work. No question, that it is important for each of us to be a team player here.
First, go to CountOnMeNC ; read through the info, then, take the consumer pledge. I want to be clear. This is not any sort of requirement, and is not directly connected with Crave CLT in any way. But , timing is right, and if you are planning to go out to eat, I believe it to be the conscientious thing to do.
Count On Me NC is a safety awareness program geared around the North Carolina hospitality business developed by VisitNC and the NCRLA . On the website you will find a pledge for consumers and a program with certification for restaurant and hotels, B&B’s and businesses in the hospitality industry. You simply pledge as a consumer to do your part. C’mon, what are you waiting for? All the cool kids are doing it!
Then, even more importantly, remember…
If you get out of your car when you go to eat out, Wear A Mask
Where ever and whenever, you go to eat out, be it for dine in, dine al fresco or take-out options; if you get out of your car, wear a mask. Just do it. Please don’t go in and make a scene about why you can’t. It’s not the time or the place to have a fit.
Its not a hard ask. In fact, its easy, and it keeps all of us safer. Of course, you can take the mask off to eat while you are seated at your table. But, most importantly, remember that anytime you get up to move around, go to powder your nose, or leave to pay your bill, be sure to put your mask back on.
If you can’t wear a mask, for whatever reason; then, opt to eat out with places offering contactless curbside pickup. There are lots of options. Charlotte chefs and restaurants, as always, are working hard to help make things easier and safer for us all.
If you don’t feel comfortable eating out, then, simply call ahead, or order online. All you have to do is pull up to pick up and take dinner home to enjoy. Doing your part, helps make things easier and safer for you and for everyone on staff at your restaurant of choice, as well.
Ok, I’m off my soapbox, I know you get it, ’nuff said.
The Food You Crave
Meanwhile, back to the scoop on some summer fun.
Several years ago, a group of chefs and food-centric folk gathered to plan a fun and flavorful Springtime festival of food and drink in the Queen City. Those around the table included Charlotte chefs Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin, Chris Coleman of GoodYear House, Craig Barbour at Roots Cafe and Roots Catering and Rob Hoffman at Angeline’s.
To that end, Crave Charlotte was born. Crave was originally scheduled to take place over the course of a week in May of 2020, with individual events to take place in an array of venues during the week. At the conclusion of the week, original festival plans included a big outdoor finale Uptown.
Obviously, plans have changed.
But, after all the hard work and preparation Crave CLT coordinator and producer, Shawn Costner, owner of Third Rock Events, met with the team of organizing chefs. Together they decided they would adapt the festival to the times. Rather than postpone events all together, they made some changes in the schedule and regrouped on the original plan.
So now, a dozen plus chefs and restaurants in Charlotte will each be holding individual dinners, brunches, desserts, BBQ’s, wine and beer tastings and more. It is set to happen over the course of the week of July 21-26, 2020, with a selection of several events scheduled to take place each evening. These are all restaurants that have previously opened following the Phase 2 NC COVID guidelines or are offering to-go and curbside service options.
So You Want to Go? Here’s what to do…
First, know that space and seating is limited according to each venue. so make your plans and reservations sooner than later. As is the required de rigueur, seating will be at 50% of each venue’s regular capacity. Likewise, tables will be set six feet apart to accommodate the correct social distancing. Additionally, individual parties are limited to 6 guests in any one group. Moreover, advance reservations are a must. Restaurants will need a bit of additional time to plan the seating arrangements, and so, reservations links will close 24 hours in advance of each event. If you see something of interest, you’ll want tohop on securing your spot! Space is limited.
In addition to what follows, chefs Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin; Eric Litaker of Suffolk Punch; Lisa Brooks, Heart and Soul personal chef services; and Rochelle Baxter of Vin Master Wine Shop are also scheduled to be a part of the 2020 Crave Clt line up. Events here are either sold out, or in the case of Suffolk Punch, possibly postponed. Watch the Crave website for more info and the latest details.
Get ready, it all starts Tuesday July 21. For now, read through the list and information below. Then, make plans to safely celebrate the summer food and fun you crave.
If you can’t attend next week’s activities, be sure to bookmark this post to keep it as a reference for a great group of Charlotte restaurants you will most certainly want to try sometime soon!
Follow the links to buy tickets and make your advance reservations.
July 21, 6 pm – Sunset and Sangria at Nuvole with chef Roy Darling
Look up, 22 stories into the Charlotte skyline. This is where you will find Nuvole 22, Charlotte’s highest rooftop bar and lounge. Nuvole regularly offers craft cocktails and small plates to go with the panoramic views. As a guest at this first night of Crave, you will be invited to take in the summer sunset as you learn how to make Sangria! You’ll also enjoy a delicious spread of local fruit, cheeses & charcuterie creatively curated by chef Roy Darling. Cost $50 per person. Tickets Here.
July 21, 6 pm – Cocktails, Food and Art at Alchemy with chef Ken Aponte
Dinner, drinks and art are the focus in this contemporary, mostly vegetarian (with meat options) restaurant, bar and event space at c3 lab and gallery. At this Crave event, you’ll see chef Ken Aponte, work his magic to produce an innovative five course meal. Cost $70 per person. Tickets Here.
July 22, 6 pm – Around the World Wine Pairing at Bonterra with chef Blake Hartwick
Bonterra Dining and Wine Room is a Charlotte Southend/Dilworth neighborhood landmark. The restaurant is know for the tremendous curated collection of wine from around the world. That and, along with the wine, the inspired Southern-style cuisine of Chef Blake Hartwick. The talented team at Bonterra is pulling out all the corks for this Crave wine and food tasting. The menu pairs wines and cuisine from Spain, California, France and Italy.
Pro Tip here: Many of you will remember Bonterra’s sister restaurant from years past, Las Ramblas. In this international wine and food tasting, the Spanish food pairing includes Blake’s Las Ramblas red wine braised meatballs, just sayin’. Cost is $85 per person. Tickets Here.
July 22, 6 pm – Beer and Food Pairing Dinner at Brewers at 4001 Yancey with chef Drew Ward
Brewers at 4001 Yancey is built in the historic Bower’s Mill building in what is know as the “Craft District” in Charlotte’s SouthEnd neighborhood. The venture is a collaborative effort of Southern Tier, Sixpoint, Victory Brewing Company and Bold Rock Cidery celebrating the flavors of beer and cider. This night guests will enjoy five fine courses of Southern eats each paired with a distinctive beer or cider guaranteed to keep you taste buds hoppy (pun intended.) And, what’s more, the bread on the table will be by Virtuoso Bread Works, in Waxhaw – wow! Cost is $60 per person. Tickets here.
July 23, 6 pm – Enjoy a Backyard BBQ at the Goodyear House with chef Chris Coleman
Nothing says summer like a good ole fashioned Backyard BBQ. This night of Crave, is that in spades. You’ll love the venue, it is one of the best “backyard” patios in town. There is plenty of room to spread out, and a bocce ball court to boot. Guests will sit at tables surrounding a massive old oak tree while dinner service takes place in the courtyard garlanded with strings of sparkling white lights.
Expect to find chef Chris Coleman cooking up delicious fun at the Goodyear House grill and smoker. As always, the focus is on locally sourced, grilled and smoked meats and produce. As the savory side of dinner ends, guests will delight with the sweeter side of the Goodyear House kitchen as they are sure to enjoy a slice of classic Atlantic Beach Tart, served with a side of salted watermelon! Yep! It’s Summer! Cost is $85 per person. Pricing includes two cocktails with dinner. Tickets Here.
July 23, 6 pm – Pastries and Wine Pairings at Renaissance Patisserie with chef Sylvain Rivet
Gotta love the bright yellow umbrellas on the patio in the courtyard at Shoppes on the Park; as well as, the charming interiors of Charlotte’s own authentically French Renaissance Patisserie , located in the heart of Charlotte’s Southpark neighborhood. Normally open for breakfast and lunch, this charming bakery also sells lots of cakes, pastries and breads (and now, groceries for home baking, as well!)
This evening of Crave appropriately named Delectable Pairings is certainly one that will satisfy your sweet tooth! Life is short, so, to satisfy the craving, this is evening is all about dessert! Get set to enjoy your choice of four expertly crafted French petit fours and three tasting pours of wine. Cost is $45 per person. Tickets Here.
July 23, 6 pm – Bramare Wine Dinner at Angeline’s with chef Rob Hoffman
In Italian, the word “Bramare” means “to crave”. Gotta love the mind of a chef in selecting this wine as the focus for this dinner. As many of you know, Angeline’s is the Italian restaurant, located in the lobby level of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. At this dinner, guests can expect to enjoy eight incredible courses from chef Rob Hoffman’s kitchen at Angeline’s. Each course will be paired with a wine from Bramare Vineyards. Cost is $95 per person. Tickets Here.
Side Note: The Tryon Park Hotel is one of the Crave CLT 2020 sponsors and is offering a special 20% off their best room rate any night during the week of July 21-26, 2020. Details here.
July 24, 6 pm – “Craving” at Queen City Grounds with chef Matt Wheeler
If coffee is among the list of things your regularly crave, then you are going to love Queen City Grounds. And, over and above that, if you’ve been craving real live music, you’ll love that this dinner includes musical vibes provided by members of the Charlotte Symphony! More than an Uptown coffee shop, this little spot offers beer, wine and a menu of good eats (many vegan!) for breakfast! At this evening of Crave, chef Matt Wheeler is offering a menu with two courses of choices. Select from a list of appetizers and then, get set to dive into your choice of burgers to enjoy with a selection of wine, beer or espresso. Cost is $35 per person. Tickets Here.
July 24, 6 pm – Behind the Curtain at Roots Cafe with chef Craig Barbour
While you may know that Roots Cafe in SouthEnd, regularly offers breakfast and brunch, sandwiches and wraps; what you may not know is that Roots team caters, as well. This night of Crave, chef Craig Barbour and his team will cook right before your eyes.
Enjoy the 4 course meal along with the back and forth banter of the talented team of chefs. Chefs will prepare the meal just as they would behind the scenes. You’ll see all the action and be privy to all the commentary, the mess ups, and the incredible teamwork it takes to get dinner on the table. Guests will not only enjoy the meal, but the opportunity to talk to the chefs while they work, ask questions about the food, about the industry, and about being a chef, as well. Beer and wine to enjoy with your meal will be available over and above the ticket price. Cost is $95 per person. Tickets Here.
July 25, Noon – Brunch Cravings with Tayste Catering and chef Taylor Kastl
Craving Brunch? Chef Taylor Kastl and her catering company are here with the answer. Plan to enjoy brunch al fresco with your choice of a trio of breakfast entrees and a selection of assorted pastries boxed to order, for you to take back to your table and enjoy. Plan to pair your brunch with a little something from the create your own Mimosa bar! And, to keep things lively, this outdoor brunch fest features DJ Pink Diamond spinning the tunes as you enjoy the repast. Cost is $50 per person. Tickets here.
July 26, 11 am – Rose Mimosa Soiree Crave CLT Finale
Who doesn’t love drinking bubbles? This inaugural week of Crave CLT festivities ends with the sound of corks popping at the Rose’-Mimosa -Soiree . The price of your ticket includes rose and sparkling wine tastings as well as cider tastings from Red Clay Ciderworks and a mimosa bar. The Soul Miner’s Garden Food Truck will also be onsite with a brunch menu you may order and enjoy at an additional cost. Plus, DJ Mal Funk Shun will be spinning all the brunch jams to help keep the good time going. Cost is $35 per person. Tickets Here.
July 26, 6 pm – Summer Sunday Sip and Savor at Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails
As all good things must end, this last night of Crave CLT 2020, winds up with a multi course dinner by chef Ivan Pereyra at Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails in Uptown Charlotte. As you might anticipate, dinner will be paired with cocktails, wine & bubbles. Cost is $75 per person. Tickets Here.
Crave Charlotte and a Cause That Benefits Us All
Not only is the Crave Charlotte festival working to promote each of the participating chefs and restaurants, there is also a beneficiary to festival proceeds. No surprise here that an event curated by chefs would select a farm to benefit from the group’s effort.
Despite changes in the Crave schedule, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that a portion of the proceeds from the festival still go to support Rivendell Farms of the Carolinas. This is a family run, non-profit teaching and working farm in North Charlotte.
Rivendell has made it a part of their mission to insure proper land management in the Catawba River watershed, so that all of us will continue to enjoy clean drinking water. In addition, The Rivendell Farms of the Carolinas team has developed practical ways to teach young students science, technology, engineering and math skills through school gardens and hands-on experiential learning. Rivendell also works closely with 100 Gardens, The Patio Farmer to help teach farming skills, the importance of sustainability and how we can all be better stewards of the land. The goal is a common sense approach to build community through good food and local farming.
Follow RivendellCarolinas on Instagram. And, follow them at Rivendell Farms of the Carolinas on Facebook, for more info on the farm itself as well as the programs then promote. Look on their website for names and locations of local farms and for availability of locally raised food.
Cheeers to the team at Crave, CLT and to all the participating chefs for shining the spotlight on Rivendell, promoting these local farmers and all they give back to the Charlotte community.