Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Restaurant Review: Zoes Kitchen

If you've been cruising around the back side of Birkdale, between Qdoba and Dicks Sporting Goods, you're probably run across a new restaurant: Zoes Kitchen.

I'd been expecting it for a while, and when I stopped by two weeks ago it was finally open and my stomach was ready for business!

Zoe's seems to be another addition to the Fast Casual style eateries that have begun to pop up. You order your food at the counter, and then after about 5 minutes a server brings the meal to you. Forks and knives are actual metal, wine can be enjoyed, and the atmosphere is relaxed. And the price -- definitely not resembling a fast food restaurant.

The first thing I noticed when I entered Zoes were the large menus on the back wall -- there is no questioning where you need to place your order. The menus were a little overwhelming, and it took me a couple of glances to figure out that the stuff listed on the far left were family size meals meant for 4 people. Yeah, I almost tried to order one of those for myself!

Zoes food has a decidedly Mediterranean flare with pita, hummus, and feta appearing throughout the menu. However, they do have steak roll-ups and grilled cheese sandwiches too. So, you can pretty much find something for everyone.

The first time we went to Zoes, I ordered The Olympus. This sandwich has a mountain (get it?)of turkey with tomato, lettuce, onion and a feta parsley spread on foaccia bread. The spread was good, the veggies were fresh, and the turkey delicious. The only bad part of this sandwich was that it was quite dry and the spread did nothing to moisten it.

The second time, I ordered the Greek Chicken Pita, and substituted a side item with hummus and pita. Again the veggies were great. The grilled chicken delicious, and the caramelized onions were a great and flavorful addition. But again, this sandwich was dry.

Fortunately, I found a GREAT way to fix it -- I put a couple splashes of their salad dressing (olive oil, red wine vinegar, and spices) onto the sandwich, and viola! Instant yumminess!

It should also be noted, that the hummus and pita rocked! And the limeade was delicious.

All in all, a great addition to the Birkdale area. The food is filling, yet light. The perfect addition to summer dining options in the area. As for the interior atmosphere, I really can't remember it as we ate outside and only ventured indoors to place the order. However, we found the patio area to be spartan but nice and relaxing.

My wife and I have enjoyed Zoes twice over the past two weeks, and we'll be going back again.

Atmosphere: 3.5/5
Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Total: 11/15

Kid Friendly: Yes. Lots of tykes abound. And there is a children's menu (includes the grilled cheese mentioned above).
Price: $$ (entree with drink will push you over $10)

Restaurant Info:
Zoe's Kitchen
Birkdale Village
16735 Cranlyn Road
Suite D
Huntersville, NC 28078
f) 704-655-2639

Monday, June 21, 2010

Huntersville Toast -- The Story Behind the Closing

Joe Marusak with the Observer has a great piece about the story behind the closing of the Huntersville Toast. And it's worth the read.

It mostly confirms what I'd been hearing around town. But here's my summary WITH conjecture and rumor! (Hey, if I were a legitimate news source, I'd have a press pass where this food stain is!)

But scuttlebutt has it that the old Toast Huntersville manager and the landlord were in cahoots, and decided to try to take over the Huntersville Toast location. They figured that while the Toast owner was out of town in New York for personal reasons, they'd close down Toast, and re-open it as "Taste". Same menu, same wait staff, same furniture, and even the same freakin' font! And hopefully nobody would be the wiser.

Fortunately, the Toast owner heard about what was going on, and with the help of his attorneys, was able to get that debacle stopped before it got started.

If the rumors are right, I'm glad that the old manager and landlord weren't able to try to cash-in on potential customers lack of attention. Trying to mislead the customer and stealing a brand at the same time is truly despicable.

Can't wait to try the new Toast at the Discovery Place in Huntersville!

And I can't wait to try the almost "Taste," now called Cafe 100. I'll try to keep an open mind... but if I can't, I'll let you know!

Also, when was the last time you saw "scuttlebut" and "cahoots" in a blog post?? A FOODIE FIRST! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whew! Glad that's over!

The Lake Norman Wine and Food Festival was a huge success! Raising over 700 lbs of canned goods for local charities, over one thousand attendees ate new foods, tasted new wines, and got to check out local vendors.

Photos can be found here:

It was a lot of work, and I'm glad to be a part of this Festival. But the people who REALLY helped to pull of the Festival were the volunteers from Hope House, Angels and Sparrows, and the Mooresville Soup Kitchen. Without them, the Festival wouldn't have happened. So, THANK YOU for all of your help.

Be sure to check back this week for your almost regularly scheduled Foodie posts. :) I'm back with new restaurants to try!