10 of Charlotte’s newest places for food, drinks and fitness, and what to try

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Courtesy of Cava

Businesses have been blooming in Charlotte this spring. In February, we shared a list of 10 of Charlotte’s newest places that you HAVE to try, and more places have come! To add to that list, here are 10 of the newest food, fitness and drink stops to indulge in that opened in the past month.

Renaissance Patisserie

6401 Morrison Blvd.

This French bakery dedicated to pastries, baguettes, cakes and more, was finally scheduled for an April 20 soft opening inside Specialty Shops at SouthPark after moving out of its original South Boulevard location.

What to try: The coffee eclair. Petite, decadent and creamy.

Via @renaissancepatisserie on Instagram

Haymaker

225 S. Poplar St.

This seasonal ingredient-driven restaurant just opened at the end of March in a sleek atmosphere Uptown. William Dissen, chef/owner of the farm-to-fork restaurant The Marketplace in Asheville, is the master of the menu here.

Try: The Heirloom Cornmeal Hushpuppies, with jalapeño sorghum butter. (You could eat the butter with a spoon and be happy.)

Bang Bang Burgers South End

235 West Tremont Ave., Suite 101

After first opening Bang Bang Bites in South End this year as a brand-new sister concept to the beloved Bang Bang Burgers of Elizabeth, chef/owner Joe Huang flipped his game plan back to focusing on his original burger concept. In South End, you can still enjoy an expanded menu and VIP loft.

Try: A weekly burger special, which you can catch hints of via Facebook. From smoked gouda to fritto misto, what more could you want?

Divine Barrel Brewing

3701 N. Davidson St.

This celestial sipping space just opened in March with a 3,000-square-foot taproom and 30 faucets lining the back bar wall. Expect pours of wine, beer, coffee or tea.

Try: The Repeater Porter for something bold, or perhaps the Weisse the Juice for a refreshing sour.

Via Instagram @divinebarrelclt

Basal Coffee

1429 Bryant St.

This new FreeMoreWest café opened in March, adjacent to LaCa Projects, a contemporary art gallery for Latin American works. “Basal” means foundation, and owners Bryce and Andrea Laguer seek to bring different cultures together and create a space where people can connect through conversations, coffee and food. The menu features a rotating list of coffee roasters, as well as breakfast items and pastries.

Try: A waffle with your coffee. Top it with mixed berries, crème fraiche and organic maple syrup.

Fin and Fino

135 Levine Avenue of the Arts

This seafood social house opened this month by the Knight Theatre (perfect for a pre-show meal, yes?), with a promise to fill the menu with sustainably caught or raised fish and shellfish delivered daily.

Try: The Oysters ‘Benne’ with house-made butter crackers.

Via Instagram @finandfino

bloc.

2400 Park Road, Suite A

No, this is not a restaurant, but bloc. (Building Lifestyle on Community) will gear you up to enjoy some good food after an even better calorie burn. This fitness hub just wrapped up a soft opening week with a menu of classes featuring Primal Fight/Evolve for a blend of mobility and circuit training, Cardio Dance, Ashtanga and Rocket Yoga. The grand opening party is April 27 from 2-6 p.m., with a regular class schedule commencing April 28. Bonus: The lounge will eventually feature Chop2Chisel meals, Green Brothers Smoothies, Updog Kombucha, local craft beer and wine, and Summit Coffee.

Try: Cardio Dance for all levels (it’s basically a dance party).

Sprouts

15121 Ballancroft Parkway

Phoenix-based Sprouts just opened its first Charlotte store in April in Ballantyne to enter our local grocery store wars with bulk items (think couscous, flour, quinoa and nuts) sitting in large clear bins in the center of the store to lure shoppers, plus fresh produce featuring prices that are typically 20 to 25 percent cheaper than at other grocery stores.

Try: The selection of “ready to eat” and “ready to heat” meals like tofu pad Thai and cauliflower pilaf.

Photo by Katherine Peralta, Charlotte Observer

Cava

8936 JM Keynes Blvd.

This Washington-based company brought Greek- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes to University City this spring with its customizable meals with bases like salads, grains and greens, pitas and grain bowls. The next step is  adding dips and spreads (from hummus to crazy feta), proteins (from falafel to grilled meatballs), and fun toppings (from pita crisps to sumac radishes). Also look for seasonal soups and toppings.

Try: The side pita for something extra, baked in a stone-fired oven.

Courtesy of Cava

Holler & Dash 

2725 South Blvd., Suite A

You would never guess this fast-casual, biscuit-focused stop stemmed from the makers of Cracker Barrel. Local touches include Pure Intentions Coffee, and their modern take on traditional Southern fare ranges from sandwiches, salads and bowls to signature biscuit dishes.

Try: The Strawberry & Dash biscuit for something sweet (dream of whipped creole cream cheese, strawberries and whipped cream on a biscuit).

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