Myrtle Beach-native Josh Vereen and his two silent business partners always dreamed of opening a restaraunt in Charlotte specializing in the bold flavors of the Low Country, but when the bid for their ideal location on Church Street was denied, it looked like that dream would come to a halt.
Enter realtor Rodney Faulkner, who pressed on for months scouting locations before finding the perfect jewel for Vereen's 7th District.
The trendy restaraunt has been popping for months, and Vereen and his team are enjoying the success of having one of the most popular eateries in Uptown. We sat down with him to find out how they plan to stay on top as the Queen City continues to stretch her legs.
Creative Loafing: 7th District has quickly become one of the most popular spots near the Spectrum Center but you guys originally wanted to be on Church Street. What happened?
Josh Vereen: Yes, originally we had our hearts set on a location right on Church Street. The place was ready to go and so were we, but the property owner denied us, saying he wanted a more experienced tenant. That was a major blow for our team because we'd been planning since 2015 for this and thought the place was perfect.
Losing that bid was honestly one of our biggest blessings, because then our realtor found the venue on 7th and everything about it was way better — from the location, to parking, to the venue itself. We couldn't have been happier. Before we even stepped foot inside we knew it was perfect. It may sound cliche, but at the end of the day it's all about location.
With so many other establishments in the area and residents whose tastes change with the seasons, what's been your formula for sustaining success?
Bottom line, we're just different and our guests can feel that. We call it "the 7th Experience." From our menu, which doesn't just feature light fare and appetizers but real food with flavors of the Low Country, to the environment we create. Where else in the city can you go and eat scratch-made meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn in an upscale environment — that feels like a club without actually being a club — and park for free? The key to our success is simple: We have everything on your checklist all in one place.
When people come to 7th District what are a few things they gotta check out?
The first thing you gotta try is our Lava Lamp drink, which is a really cool cocktail with fruit flavors and vodka served over dry ice. Then have one of our 7th specialty dishes like our crab stuffed salmon, which everyone goes crazy for, or our Low Country shrimp and grits. Last, top your meal off with a nightcap like our Henny Berry Smash, which is a light refreshing way to enjoy Hennessy, or our 7th Breeze, which is a Mai Tai, 7th-style. Also check out our popular Monday night crab legs, poetry and spoken word on Tuesdays and our brunch on Sundays.