I don’t know what it says about me or my cooking abilities, but I had no idea what a Big Green Egg was until yesterday. Apparently it’s a pretty big deal — and a big selling point for Urban Cookhouse.
The “farm-to-fire-to-table” restaurant will open its first location in North Carolina Thursday at Park Road Shopping Center (1601 E. Woodlawn Road Suite B). This is the first in a long line of spots set to open in thriving Park Road Shopping Center this year, including Dot Dot Dot, Amelie’s and a Shake Shack.
“This shopping center is really special,” said Urban Cookhouse President and Owner Will Gillespie, “something we’re proud to be a part of.”
The first Urban Cookhouse opened in 2010 in Birmingham, Ala. The Charlotte location will be the restaurant’s 11th in five states. Gillespie said that each location tries to support local and “source anything that we can” from area farms and suppliers.
The menu features sandwiches, salads, wraps and “fork and knife” plates. All of the meat is cooked on a Big Green Egg with hickory wood and charcoal. (For those like me who didn’t know, the Big Green Egg is a ceramic charcoal grill and smoker that offers precise temperature control and is something of a cultural phenomenon, apparently.)
In addition to the everyday menu, Urban Cookhouse will also have rotating weekly and seasonal specials (expect those to start rolling out in six or eight weeks, Gillespie said) and a couple of desserts worth saving room for (more on those in a bit). And it will serve beer and wine by-the-glass.
The restaurant offers grab-and-go options like chicken salad, broccoli salad (my favorite of all the three sides I tasted) and fruit. Urban Cookhouse also does catering and has a “Take It To The House” option that you can grab to-go and feeds four.
You can check out the full menu here.
C5 got to sample the menu during a media preview Tuesday. The highlights:
– Urban Cowboy Sandwich: Lime-marinated steak, caramelized onions and peppers, pepper jack cheese and aioli on a French roll. There’s a reason this is the No. 1 sandwich on the menu. The meat was juicy and flavorful — I see you, Big Green Egg — and it was my favorite thing at the tasting.
– BALT: Applewood bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomatoes with aioli on toasted white bread. Because everything is better with avocado. (The sample also included turkey — a nice addition.)
– Berry Good Salad: Seasonal berries, tomatoes, spiced pecans, feta and citrus vinaigrette. It was good enough to make me overlook the punny name. (My only complaint: The pieces of lettuce were huge and because I refuse to use a knife on a salad I looked like an idiot trying to shove whole pieces into my face.)
– Millie Ray’s Orange Rolls: They’re just like cinnamon rolls but orange and made by a real woman in Birmingham named Millie Ray. (Sidenote: They were served with chicken salad during the tasting. I’m not sure if we were supposed to eat the two together, but I did and, I gotta say, it tasted pretty good.)
– Half-baked cookie: I don’t usually save room for dessert, but this was worth it. The gooey cookie is served in a mini-cast iron skillet and topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Delicious. And bonus points for presentation.
Urban Cookhouse: 1601 Woodlawn Road, Suite B.
Photos: Sarah Crosland and Corey Inscoe