In the Charlotte tradition of truncated neighborhood names (NoDa, LoSo), we might need a new one for the section of West Tremont Avenue on the west side of South Tryon Street. It’s getting a little far to be South End, isn’t it?
Since WeTre doesn’t trip off the tongue, I’ll nominate SoLo, for all the new apartment dwellers over there.
At least they are getting more places to eat. In the same building that will eventually be the new Common Market, next to the upcoming Bang Bang Bites, Zeppelin is now planning soft-opening previews and events in early December, with an official opening planned for the end of the month.
All those apartment dwellers are who co-owner Jonathan Swope hopes to draw with Zeppelin, 235 W. Tremont Ave., which he and his partners describe as “a restaurant and cocktail lounge.”
“We’re planting a flag over there,” he says. “There’s no where in SouthEnd I can share cocktails and wine. It’s beer-centric over here.”
The actual model of a zeppelin that’s supposed to hang from the ceiling wasn’t ready when I stopped in to talk to Swope, of CSI Properties, and chef Vince Giancarlo. But Giancarlo has been testing dishes for months and was eager to talk about what he’s getting ready to do.
Calling the menu “ingredient-driven food and cocktails, not necessarily stay-in-the-box local,” he’s using N.C. ingredients when possible, particularly meats from Harmony Ridge, along with West Coast fish and things like Northwest-foraged wild mushrooms. One dish he’s really excited about will be a crispy duck using Harmony Ridge ducks.
Zeppelin will be a full-service restaurant, dinner only (with Sunday brunch planned down the road), with 15 to 20 items on the menu ranging from small plates to full entrees, and a price range of $6 to $36.
Giancarlo grew up on the N.C. coast, went to Johnson & Wales University here, and spent the last 12 years at restaurants including Latorre’s, Aquavina, Cantina 1511 and Baku. He also spent six months in Venice Beach, Calif., absorbing the West Coast vibe.
“We’re pushing the boundaries of chef-driven cocktails,” he says. “I’m excited to put a chef’s fingerprints all over this place.”