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Food to Watch 2018: What's on the Menu? 

Three new spots where you can chow down or drink up

Lots of new bars and restaurants will be opening up across the Queen City in 2018. Here are three we're looking forward to.

Legion Brewing

Capital Towers, 4350 Congress St.

There's a new brewery coming to SouthPark in 2018.

No, that's not a typo. We didn't mean to say South End. SouthPark is finally getting a brewery.

In November, the Legion Brewing crew announced they would be opening a second location just two years after opening up its flagship spot in Plaza Midwood. The new location will be an 8,500-square-foot space in the bottom floor of the Capitol Towers office development on Congress Street, just a block from Symphony Park.

Legion Brewing's massive SouthPark location.
  • Legion Brewing's massive SouthPark location.

Legion co-founder Phil Buchy said the decision to open in SouthPark, where he lives, was a mix of luck and planning. He's kept his eye on the feedback since the announcement a month ago, he said, and it's gotten him more excited to move into the area professionally.

"SouthPark is a vibrant neighborhood and it's got a lot of great establishments in it. We definitely bring a unique mix to the neighborhood and I think we're going to get resounding support," he said. "I've seen a lot on social media already, not even our pages but on other neighborhood pages. It makes us happy to see that chatter out there that everybody's pumped that we're coming, because we're pumped to go."

Buchy said he and co-founder Newton Craver always planned to open a second location at some point, but after Plaza Midwood customers took such a liking to the first brewery, it sped up their process.

"It's been a rocketship ride," Buchy said. "We're growing at a 45-degree angle. It's far exceeded our expectations. We always probably thought that we'd have another location, but having one this fast is just a testament to our staff and the dedication they're putting into our craft."

That craft won't be the only thing cooked up at the new SouthPark location, either. Buchy and staff are planning a food menu that includes items like a tender grilled skirt steak sandwich with provolone cheese, tomatoes and lettuce served with steak cut fries; a pepperoni, zucchini and ricotta grilled pizza; and Southern pickled shrimp with cornbread crostinis.

It's only right that they class up the joint a bit for SouthPark.

For those who want the place all to themselves, the new location also includes 4,000 square feet of event space, separated into three event rooms available for rent. One room will have its own private patio, while the other two will be located on the Mezzanine level overlooking the brewery and bar area.

The party starts in fall 2018. — Ryan Pitkin

Tandur Indian Kitchen

721 Governor Morrison St.

Ethnic foods, quick and casual. It's the model that so many Mexican-themed chain restaurants have adopted, including Charlotte-based Salsarita's Fresh Mexican Cantina.

That's the business that launched the franchising career of H.P. Patel, a native of Gujarat, India, whose family arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1991, when he was 15. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1998, Patel moved to Charlotte but returned to Knoxville shortly thereafter, eventually opening a successful string of Salsarita's franchises there. Later, Patel opened Tandur Indian Kitchen in Knoxville, with the Salsarita's model in mind.

click to enlarge A delicious Tandur wrap.
  • A delicious Tandur wrap.

"It's fine dining food in a fast casual environment, Patel told Knoxville news station WBIR-TV, in February 2017. The offerings won't necessarily be 100-percent authentic. The Knoxville Tandur includes the Carolina Wrap, a fusion of local barbecue with an Indian twist. "We wanted to do something with barbecue, and we wanted to do something local," Tandur chef Hari Nayak told The Knoxville Mercury in December. "So essentially the pork is slow-cooked in Indian spices and we use a tamarind chutney and we blend it with our own recipe for barbecue [sauce]."

In 2018, Patel will introduce Tandur to Charlotte gourmands at the restaurant's new spot in SouthPark, near the Earth Fare. — Mark Kemp


Poplar & 3rd Street

Like so many creatives from New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco, William Dissen found Asheville to be a hidden Southern gem of a town. The difference between Dissen and most other interlopers is that he's a native of Appalachia — Charleston, West Virginia, to be exact.

After moving to Asheville, Dissen purchased the swanky Market Place restaurant in 2010, employing a farm-to-table concept. It went over smashingly, and now Dissen is expanding to Charlotte, where in January he will open Haymaker on the ground floor of the Ascent apartment building in Third Ward.

The name Haymaker is a subtle reference to Dissen's passion for using ingredients sourced from local farms. With a second restaurant in this region of North Carolina, Dissen recently told the Asheville Citizen-Times, "We'll be sourcing even more sustainable products and, with more mouths to feed, hopefully make the world an even better place.

"A lot of farms we source from now come out of the same foodshed anyway," Dissen added. "Rutherford County is kind of the middle ground between Asheville and Charlotte." — M.K.

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