It seems like a restaurant is opening up every other day in Charlotte, but is the Queen City considered a foodie city? We talked with the Charlotte Observer’s food editor, Kathleen Purvis, to talk about her favorite places to eat, the Park Road Shopping Center’s renaissance, if a Charlotte chef can win a James Beard Award and much more. Buckle in, you’ll be quite hungry after you listen to what she’s got to say…
Which restaurant has been the most impressive to you so far this year?
“I haven’t had a chance to go to The Stanley yet but I’m very, very excited about what I’m seeing…I have been to Haymaker a couple of times, and they’re doing some really interesting things. I have been to Hello, Sailor but not since last winter. I went in when it was still nice and empty, because I knew when summer came and they opened that outdoor space, it was going to be like ‘hey, you can’t get near it.'”
Is there something that restaurants are doing wrong when they open?
“I don’t think it’s the restaurants that are doing it, I think it’s the restaurant consumer that’s doing that. We have become a city of Instagram-ability. We have become a city where there’s so much competition for restaurant news and food news…It’s really, really hard for anybody to give a place a chance to open. And honestly, that does worry me some for the longevity of our restaurants. It’s enormously expensive and time consuming to open a restaurant. It takes more dough than you can possibly imagine.”
If the Charlotte food scene is saturated already with something, what is that, or what’s the closest thing to this food scene to having too much of?
“We do have a really good bench right now of chef-owned restaurants. The Stanley, Haymaker, Kindred. I’m sure somebody else is yelling at me, ‘Say my name! Say my name!’ We were kind of low on those. For a long time, Charlotte was a place that had very high-end chains. We were home of the high-end steakhouse. Now we are really starting to get those nice, chef-owned, chef-expression places. Whether we’ll hit a point where we have too many of those or not, or just enough for this market, I mean we are a maturing market. We’re a market where people are coming in and you can do more here now. I’m excited to see that. But there is a point where you start to have too many of those kinds of places.”
The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s co-hosted by Sean Clark-Weis and Sallie Funderburk and is a production of the Charlotte Observer and Brian Baltosiewich.