15 things you MUST eat (or drink) in April

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Courtesy of WP

As spring finally descends upon the Queen City, it’s time for restaurants to switch their hearty winter menus to lighter and more refreshing spring options. From cocktails to dishes to your soon-to-be favorite coffee drink, here are the 15 places you need to go and some of the new things you should try in April.

(1) The Asbury

The Asbury will roll out its early spring menu at dinner tonight. Here is a sampling of what you can expect from this Uptown staple:

For the adventurous eater: Smoked duck hearts served with rice grits, peas, roasted carrot jus, hardware cheese, and chili oil.

First time for everything: Braised lamb neck served with celery root slaw, embered beets, charmoula — an African-inspired sauce — and beet bbq.

The fans have spoken: Originally on the menu as a March special, the rabbit agnolotti (similar to a ravioli) will be added to the spring menu.

Finish with dessert: Coddle Creek Beeswax Cake, Tangelo Curd and Meringues, Beeswax Ice Cream

(2) Sweet Lew’s BBQ

On Saturdays and Sundays, Sweet Lew’s BBQ serves brunch to patrons from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. For spring, Sweet Lew’s has added a fried chicken biscuit to the brunch menu. Get this — it’s only $3.

(3) Midwood Smokehouse

Photo via Midwood Smokehouse
Matt’s Original Barbecue Rub

As the weather gets warmer, Charlotteans will be buying propane and firing up the grills for weekend gatherings, or even just weeknight meals. Midwood Smokehouse has launched a new rub for spring to help make your next grilled meal gourmet. 

Matt’s Original Barbecue Rub, named after pit master and NC native Matt Barry, is gluten free and can be used on most meat including pork, chicken, and brisket, but it also pairs nicely with popcorn and chips.

Matt’s Original Barbecue Rub is $7.99 and can be purchased at Midwood Smokehouse locations throughout the Charlotte area. 

(4) Stagioni

Photo via Stagioni

Pasta lovers rejoice. This Myers Park staple has added a new pasta dish to the Primi (similar to an appetizer) menu. The Raviolo ($18) is pasta stuffed with a farm fresh egg and house-made ricotta served with brown butter sauce. You can also add truffles for an additional cost to this dish.

(5) Loft & Cellar

Stephen Marshall, bar chef at Loft & Cellar has revamped the cocktail offering at Loft & Cellar and the new menu will officially debut on April 1. Two of the new cocktails you can expect to see are the One & Only and the L&C Gin Fizz.

The One & Only is a rum cocktail with lemon, thyme, bitters, and Grassroots Artisanal Kola and Grenadine. ($13)

L&C Gin Fizz is made of botanical gin, lime, lemon, vanilla and almond cream, rosemary syrup, orange flower water, and an egg white. ($14)

(6) Copain Gatherings

Copain Gatherings, the baking and catering arm of Jim Noble’s Noble Food and Pursuits, has added new sweets to its offerings just in time for spring. Look for flaky goodness and lots of edible flowers:

  • Flower shortbread cookies: flaky shortbread with fresh, edible, pressed flowers. $18 for ½ dozen cookies
  • Fruit tarts: with seasonal fruit and edible flowers. From $4.00 – $40.00 depending on size)
  • Carrot Cake truffles: carrot cake with pineapple jam and cream cheese icing all coated in white chocolate goodness. $24 for one dozen

(7) BLT Steak

BLT Steak is rolling out a special Easter Brunch menu for Sunday, April 21. While brunch staples such as the Lobster “Cobb” Salad ($27) will be on the menu, new additions, such as the Crabcake ($19), the Lobster grilled cheese with Maine lobster and both American and Fontina cheese ($28), and the Truffle Burger ($25 or $30 with the addition of a fried egg) are all new for the day.

(8) Queen City Grounds

Queen City Grounds has rolled out a menu of five new drinks all inspired by the spring:

  • The Fresh Genie of Bel-Air is a jasmine/vanilla latte with butterfly pea powder. $5.50
  • Helga Pataki is a rose and strawberry milk-based creation with green coffee extract for an extra energy boost. $5.50
  • Orange Jessamine is a jasmine and orange drink with hints of agave and vanilla. $4.15
  • April Showers is a honey steamer with your choice of milk, dusted with bee pollen and topped with a marshmallow flower. $5
  • Berry Match Lemonade is made with blueberry juice and elderberry syrup. $5.50

(9) WP Kitchen + Bar

Courtesy of WP

WP Kitchen + Bar’s new spring menu has some new additions and updates to favorites:

  • Wagyu Beef Carpaccio served with crispy heirloom carrots, cured egg yolk, and yuzu kosho aioli. $11.
  • Spring Pea Agnolotti served with roasted onions, spring peas, crispy chicken skin, and Parmesan cheese. $19.
  • Roasted asparagus side option served with cured egg yolk and Brussels sprout salsa verde. $8
  • Grilled NC Trout served with asparagus, farro, Brussels sprout salsa verde, and chive cream $22
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza with hoisin BBQ, chili marinated scallion, and cilantro. $14

(10) Good Food on Montford

Good Food on Montford has introduced a new cocktail for the spring season. The Cherry Mint Julep is made with Elijah Craig bourbon, cherry mint shrub, Luxardo (cherry) drizzle.

In addition to menu changes and additions, here are some deals and specials going on in April:

(11) Upstream

Every Monday (all day) $1 oysters and half off glasses of wine.
Tuesday-Sunday oysters are half off in the bar from 4-6:30 p.m.

(12) Fran’s Filling Station

  • Monday: draft beers (only local/regional beers are on tap) are $3 and flatbreads are $10.
  • Monday – Tuesday: kids under 12 years old eat free in the taproom with purchase of adult entree
  • Monday – Thursday: Prix Fixe Menu option (1 app, 2 entrées, and a bottle of wine) for $50 $1 East Coast Oysters (each)
  • Wednesday – Thursday: ½ price bottles of wine

(13) La Belle Helene

Après Midi Menu (Monday – Friday, 3 – 5 p.m., bar and terrace only)

  • $1 East Coast Oysters (each)
  • $5 Mimosa Eggs
  • $8 Tart Flambée
  • $8 LBH Burger

(14) 8.2.0 Pizzeria & Bar 

Wednesdays are wine and charcuterie night at 8.2.0, where guests can enjoy a charcuterie board and two glasses of select wine or sangria for $15.

[Related: 13 best spots for a wine and cheese night]

(15) Pink Cactus

Newly open in SouthPark, in the space where Treehouse Whiskey used to be.

  • Monday: ½ price wings and $5 select pints.
  • Tuesday: Tequila Tuesdays with $5 Espolòn, $7 house margaritas, $5 queso.
  • Wednesday: ½ price wine bottles and $5 whisky (there is also live music)
  • Thursday: ½ price for select pitchers of margaritas
  • Sunday: ½ price Pink Cactus sangria pitchers

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