Saturday, November 28, 2009

Amber House ***CLOSED***

I received this email today--

"Thank you so much for the review! Sadly, tonight, November 28, 2009, is the last night that the Amber House will be open for business. We will continue to do the catering, but the restaurant will be closed to the public. Thank you for 52 wonderful years! We owe our success to our customers! "

Sadly after today, The Amber House is another legendary Charlotte restaurant that can be added to the "closed" list. Thank you Amber House for serving North Charlotte for the past 52 years. You will be missed!

Please check out the original Amber House post here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Charlotte sandwich shops 1976

An interesting look at the Charlotte deli scene from 1976. Of all the places mentioned, 33 years later only two still remain (Arthur's and Leo's). Please post if you have any memories of any of these eateries.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dilworth Brewing Company

1992 menu

Currently occupied by Picasso's -this shot taken shortly after the Brewery left (note the Brewery's yellow awnings)

Charlotte's first Brew Pub opened on March 1, 1989 in the Dilworth neighborhood on the corner of East Blvd and Kenilworth Avenue. It occupied the building that had previously been the home of the Kenilworth Cafe (which had closed in 1986). Several other brew pubs would open across the Charlotte shortly after (mirroring the national trend), but none would prove to be as popular as the Dilworth Brewing Company. Their popularity would eventually take them downtown where, in February 1993, Jonathan's Jazz Cellar began serving the Dilworth's brews from their taps as well.

The Dilworth Brewing Company would run for almost 10 years, closing in the Summer of 1998 due to a lack of space and parking. A new location was planned but never materialized. In the meantime, the brew pub trend had peaked in Charlotte, and the remaining pubs slowly began to close.

This review from 1996 provides a good overview of the pub-

Sitting in a quiet Charlotte neighborhood south of downtown lies Dilworth Brewing. The stainless steel 7 bbl J.V. Northwest brewhouse is visible from the street as well as the dining and bar areas. Fans hang from the high ceiling and the wall behind the small J-shaped bar sports the glasses of the mug club. Four TVs without sound and a CD sound system help create a comfortable ambiance for diners and drinkers seated at the two dozen wooden tables and chairs. The one medium-sized room is well-lit and the walls feature beer memorabilia and a large mural depicting beer and women in an idyllic setting. German beer coasters and 5 liter beer cans also adorn the walls. The menu offered traditional pub fare consisting of Soups, Salads, Appetizers, Sandwiches, Pasta, Chicken, and Desserts.

The Albemarle Ale was a gold color with a medium body, even balance and a clean light malty and hoppy flavor, and finished cleanly. The Reed's Golden Pilsner was a light gold color, with a distracting DMS aroma, unfortunately the light body and accompanying light hop flavor were negatively affected by the DMS off-flavor. The Latta Light was a very clear gold color with a light body and mild hoppy, slightly sweet malty flavor and light hoppy finish. The Joe's Porter had a dark malty aroma with a creamy mouthfeel, even balance, slightly sweet malty flavor and clean finish. The Brewmasters Special was the East Blvd. ESB. It offered a hoppy aroma, dark amber color, medium body, malty sweet flavor with moderate hop presence and a clean hoppy finish.

Wednesdays through Saturdays you'll find live entertainment but you'll find attractive prices all of the time. Remember, no Sunday sales in North Carolina before noon. Externally bottled Albemarle Ale six-packs are $6.75, 10 ounce glasses $1.50, pints $2.75, 2 ounce samples 75¢, 1 gallon cubes $12.50, 5 gallon jugs $40, and half-barrel kegs $93. Dilworth Brewing seems like a great neighborhood bar in spite of its distant parking lot. All neighborhoods would benefit from their own brewpub such as this.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Angus Steak House

Above two pictures from October 28, 1969

1967 menu (thanks to Cynthia Thomas Hinson)

The Angus Steak House was located at 3637 South Boulevard (next door to the South 21 Drive-In) and was owned by Honey Enterprises (famous for their Honey Drive-Ins). The Angus opened in the 1950's and ran until the mid-70's. It prospered during the era of legendary charcoal steakhouses that were popular all around Charlotte.

The property was sold in the 1990's and is currently occupied by an AutoZone.

***Much thanks to David Bedinger who graciously supplied the photos as well crucial information for this post.***

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Under New Management" #5 - South Blvd. *QUIZ*

There is a 1.5 mile stretch of South Blvd (running from just South of Archdale until just North of Tyvola) that boasts a surprising number of "Under New Management" buildings. These are buildings that were originally built by a restaurant chain and though the buildings have changed owners, the architecture design easily gives away who the original tenant was (i.e. Pizza Hut's trapezoidal windows, Wendy's roof line). Check out the pictures and see if you can guess who the original restaurant inhabitant was---answers are at the bottom of the page. Let me know how many you get correct!












#1 - Originally a Burger King - now a car dealership
#2 - Originally a KFC - was most recently a Mexican bakery
#3 - Originally a Kenny Roger's Roaster - now a Mexican restaurant
#4 - Originally a Baskin-Robbins - now an insurance agency
#5 - Originally a McDonald's - now a barbecue restaurant
#6 - Originally a Wendy's - now a Hispanic restaurant
#7 - Originally a Dunkin' Donuts (70's-style) - now a diner
#8 - Originally a Shakey's Pizza - now a pawn shop
#9 - Originally a Perkin's - now Piedmont Family Restaurant
#10 - Originally a Pizza Hut - now a Chinese restaurant
#11 - Originally a Schlotzsky's Deli - now a Dunkin' Donuts

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tanner's Returns!!!

Tanner's Snack Bar has returned to Charlotte! The original family that ran the downtown Tanner's has opened a new location on South Blvd at the edge of Southend. They had opened a location on Old Pineville Rd about seven years ago but this location closed shortly after due to poor visibility and traffic flow. Being on a major roadway will hopefully spell success this time around.

****UPDATE 2011****

This location is closed----it didn't survive.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Staley's Charcoal Steak House

Mid-60's interior shot

1978 menu

1975 ad

Above matchbooks courtesy of Robert McEwen

In the 1960's, Charlotte's hottest restaurant trend was charcoal steakhouses. Most of them were located in a one mile radius along West Morehead St and Wilkinson Blvd. Steak was in demand and charcoal-cooking was the preferred method.

One of the best of all of the charcoal steakhouses was Staley's on Wilkinson Blvd. It opened in the early-60's and ran until the mid-80's. They featured a "charcoal room" where the steaks were cooked, had nightly entertainment, and offered a dining room which featured red leather seating (the steakhouse look of the time). Staley's was so popular, they eventually opened a second, more formal (less steak-oriented) restaurant/lounge on Clanton Rd.

By the late-70's, these steakhouses were waning in popularity and most were all gone by the early-80's. Today, only two still exist in Charlotte.

Press Box **CLOSED**

The famous exterior-awning--removed during the last renovaton

1979 menu

1970's matchbook (courtesy of Robert McEwen)

Charlotte's longest-running sports bar has closed. Opened for over thirty years on Montford Dr, the Press Box closed its doors for good at the end of January 2009. Nestled in the heart of a street filled with a large assortment of restaurants and bars, the Press Box was always a popular destination and had developed a loyal following. It was one of the first area bars to feature an outdoor patio and its "Camel Rider" sandwich was an area favorite (hot ham & cheese on a pita with homemade Italian dressing). Between its outdoor patio and red leather booth interior, the Press Box quickly became a Charlotte institution. Throughout the '80's and early '90's, the Press box also had a second restaurant called the Coach's Corner at Carmel Commons Shopping Center (same menu/same interior). 

New plans call for the restaurant to be completely gutted by the new owner and transformed into a "gastro pub" (a pub that offers high-end food versus standard pub-fare of wings and burgers). Throughout the years, the Press Box had become a favorite of many. It will be greatly missed.


Above nine photos show the original interior pre-Mid-90's renovation

Early-'60's postcard

Mid-70's postcard

James Gardner & Dick Smothers enjoying the Amber House - 1969

Original 1957 menu from opening day

Late-80's menu

1979 menu

Cover of the current menu

The Amber House opened on N Tryon St in 1957. At the time, this area was mostly farm land--the Speedway was two years away and (now) nearby UNCC was eight years away from opening.

The Amber House was one of the first area restaurants to specialize in charcoal-cooked steaks and today, it was one of the last that features this style of cooking. Other than a major interior renovation in the mid-90's, the Amber House has stayed about the same as when it originally opened. It offers a wide menu (several items have been on the menu since the restaurant first opened) and it can boast a loyal clientele that has spanned several generations.

While the North side of town has undergone major changes throughout the years, it is reassuring that the Amber House continues to thrive today much like it did 52 years ago.

Revision - 10-16-11

1966 photo

1969 photo