“It’s kind of a restaurant desert around here,” Tim Arnette said about the stretch of Monroe Road between Oakhurst and Matthews. “I mean, you can go up to 7th Street, you can go down to Matthews, but there’s really nothing right in here.”
Now there is.
The newest Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar location opened Monday at 6215 Old Post Road, Suite 101, inside the new Meridian Place development on Monroe Road. The location, Hawthorne’s eighth, is the first restaurant to open in the development, which is right in the heart of the MoRA neighborhood.
“We’re just happy to be in this neighborhood,” said Arnette, a manager at the Charlotte-based pizza chain. “We’ve done a couple of events with MoRA … so people are really receptive and very excited about us being here.”
The MoRA area will likely become less of a “restaurant desert” with development continuing at Meridian Place and another grocery store-anchored development planned for the corner of Idlewild and Monroe roads.
– The inside seats 220 people, with an outdoor patio that seats an additional 40. The outdoor patio will eventually be covered with a fence around it.
– The bar has 16 taps in addition to wine and liquor. It’s one of the largest bar areas of any Hawthorne’s location, according to Arnette. There are two flat-screen TVs behind the bar, and a third with a trivia game you can play with your phone.
– Folding glass windows behind the bar can open up to an eight-seat outdoor bar on the patio — a feature Arnette said is unique to this location.
– A private room with pocket doors and two TVs seats about 50 people. It’s free to book, assuming you’re eating and drinking. There are two more TVs in the main dining room.
– There’s also a separate area for to-go orders.
Hawthorne’s recently received national attention after a group of women claimed its Buffalo Wing Pizza induced labor. The story, first reported by CharlotteFive’s Katie Toussaint, was featured on “Good Morning America” and in People Magazine. The restaurant has started calling the pizza “The Inducer.”
“That took off so big,” Arnette said. “People were calling us from Texas to see if we could ship a pizza to them.”
Photos: Corey Inscoe and Courtney Inscoe