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Concord NC: Anything good?

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  • Bob W. Feb 22, 2006 10:58 AM

I will be in Concord Friday evening and would like to try something casual and really good -- barbecue or otherwise.

TIA!

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  1. I know this post is a little out of date and I think the lack of responses reveals the answer. I just moved to Concord a few months ago and am at a loss. It seems that everything here is chains. But I am quite willing to stand corrected if anyone wants to offer up a good non-chain place that's good for a casual weeknight meal.

    7 Replies
    1. re: concordcourtney

      Well since I asked and no one responded, I thought I would post the information I had garnered.

      I ate at a restaurant tonight in "downtown" Concord: Union Street Bistro. It was a last minute decision and we were a little skeptical going in, as it looks like one of those places that's trying to be more than it is. The space was nice, but the decorations were generic and somewhat overdone. It was quiet, but it was Thursday night in Concord, so that's to be expected. The wine list was short but reasonable; we chose a $40 bottle, which was one of the more expensive choices. The menu was predictable, but that's almost better than a place that tries to be cutting edge when it's not. We each started with cups of soup, which were good, but not amazing. The menu said that entrees came with a salad, but we did not get one, nor was it mentioned. We let it pass as the salad was not a huge deal to me. My crab cakes were pretty good though the sides were plain. My husband had the night's special, lamb chops, which he reported to be rather tasteless. We decided not to stay for dessert on this occasion, but the offerings were cheesecake with a variety of toppings, or a lemon cake.

      If the plates had been presented a little more casually and priced a few bucks less per plate they would've been great. I think this place would excel if it styled and priced itself more as a brasserie instead of a bistro. As it was, the prices lead me to expect a bit more. Still, I've been dying to find a nice restaurant close to home, so I plan on giving this place at least one more shot. I'm curious to find out how/if the menu changes seasonally.

      I would recommend this to folks in Concord as long as you go in with reasonable expectations.

      1. re: concordcourtney

        cc-
        Don't you think anyone who had gotten this far would be better off driving over to Kannapolis and dining at 24 or 47 or 49 or whatever that place is? The only reasonable expectation you could have about Union Street Bistro would be out-dated, characterless calories. I'm thinking about giving Emma's a chance, and I have very low expectations going in. But I like the look of the room better than Union Street Bistro. I bet there are restaurants out in the middle of Nebraska with more brio than USB.

        1. re: mrwaterslide

          mrwaterslide - at this time, I definitely recommend Restaurant 46 over anything else in Concord/Kannapolis. At the time I wrote the above post, 46 had not opened yet (or if it had, I was not aware of it - I understand it opened in June 07 but am prepared to be corrected). Emma's is actually pretty good - it is not fancy and does not pretend to be which is why I liked it. The food was comforting southern fare and there were decent brews on tap.

          I am waiting to hear from anyone who's been to Ruby's Dinner Club, also on Union St.

          1. re: concordcourtney

            I do intend to give Emma's a try. Have you ever been to that fish camp place, on 73 going to Mt. Pleasant? And isn't there a supper club out that way, Lake Something Something Something? Is that place any good?

            1. re: mrwaterslide

              I haven't been to either of these places, but look forward to hearing from anyone who has.

              1. re: mrwaterslide

                Lake Lynn Lodge. It's an older surf and turf type place. It's decent but expensive. My BIL had his rehearsal dinner there. I tried Emma's about a month ago and was not impressed at all. My MIL swears by the Mexican restaurant in the Wal Mart shopping center, but that place is just gross. And it feels like a Denny's. Concord dining, for me, never strays from a burger and Cherry Lemon Sun Drop @ WhatABurger. Take a chance in Concord, and you'll end up with a mouthful of frozen corndog. Trust me.

          2. re: concordcourtney

            Union Street Bistro: One of the most disappointing dining experiences in awhile. My siblings, mostly from western North Carolina, drove to Concord for Father's Day. Our desire was to take our Dad out to a great meal and enjoy his company. We were prepared to spend a little extra, what we weren't prepared for was low quality food for fine dining prices.

            I suppose we should have left the resturant as soon as we walked in and didn't smell any aroma of food...just an old, dank building.

            We had wine, wich was fine, we had appetizers, which also were Ok..no need to raise an alram. The place's ambiance was lacking as was their service, but...I was still optimistic. Once the frozen fished cooked and wrapped in slimey potatoes arrived along with a tasteless slab of steak with an overwhelming amount of pepper...we were all disappointed. The diappointment grew as our side items tasted like a slight upgrade of hospital food...we even sent one back, and replaced it with another semi boring item.

            By the end of the meal we were more than underwhelmed with the whole experience. It's one thing to pay $8.99 for a meal and have it taste like an $8.99 meal, it's another to pay $22 a plate for $8.99 food.

            If you must go to Bistro...just get the crab cake Sandwhich. It's decent, it's $7.99 and you will leave happy...but for God Sake stay away from the Risotto of the day!!!!

        2. Had some decent pizza at Rosariio's out in the strip mall where the Food Lion is at Poplar Tent and George Liles Parkway. I mean, it wasn't great, but it was okay, in its greasy way. The lights were too bright, and the beer wasn't cold enough, but other than that, it was fine, and people were getting a fair amount of pizza to go. Did I read about some other Concord pizza place that was supposed to be decent? I still consider the hot dog cart outside of Lowe's to be the best food in town.

          7 Replies
          1. re: mrwaterslide

            I believe it was artlee who said that Johnny Brusco's out by the new Harris Teeter on Poplar Tent was good (way out Poplar Tent, not the one on George Liles). If you do a search for that, I think you'll find his review. I haven't been there myself. Seems like anytime we go in that direction we're just on our way to Birkdale.

            1. re: concordcourtney

              I think Capricios has the BEST pizza in Concord. They're located in the Harris Teeter shopping center on Rocky River by the 485 interchange. However, only get the pizza. I'm not impressed at all with their dinners.

              Union Street Bistro was a disappointment - and I agree, stay away from the Rissotto.

              I've been to Emma's before - not too impressed. Am going back tonight for a meeting - we'll see how it goes.

              I have heard great things about a new place called Max's Alley in Afton Village. They also have gift certificates discounted on Restaurants.com so I'm going to check it out this weekend. http://www.maxsally.com/index.cfm

              1. re: ncgiantsfan

                I've been to Max's Ally a few times and it's okay. Their more casual offerings are good. Had some fish tacos there a few weeks back that were really good. The higher priced entrees though have left a lot to be desired and are not worth the price in my opinion.

                Plus they have no draft beer :( Only bottles.

                I do like that it is a family atmosphere though and they don't try to be too stuffy. There are always kids there when we go which is nice for a place that wants to be a neighborhood joint. I believe they serve brunch which I'd like to try sometime.

                PS - If you go, ask for a table, the booths are terribly uncomfortable.

                1. re: concordcourtney

                  I've cooled on Johnny B.'s. Rosario's is very good. Sadly, we really don't have a lot to choose from.

                  1. re: artlee

                    drive down a bit further to Due Amici - best pizza in that area. It's run by an Italian family from Italy - awesome food in an unassuming place.

                    www.dueamicipizza.com
                    5346 Prosperity Church Rd
                    Charlotte, NC 28269
                    (704) 948-1999

                    1. re: mcap

                      We tried it based on your recommendation. It is very good and has become our regular pizza place. Nice people too. thanks

                      1. re: artlee

                        you should try Hawthorn Pizza- which is out on Mallard Creek Church I believe, it's actually really good pizza and quite family friendly. It used to be an old Mellow Mushroom....

          2. My wife and I decided to check out Gianni's Trattoria in downtown Concord Saturday night. The wine selection was good, and the caesar salad was great. Both of us were terribly disappointed with our entrees though. I had the ossu busco, which is supposed to be their signature dish. The veal was very fatty, and the sauce was overcooked and tasted a little burnt. She barely touched her dinner after the first few bites. It not only didn't live up to it's billing, it just wasn't a good place to eat.

            In addition, the service is terrible. We were seated promptly enough, but the waitress didn't come help us for a good while, and we had to ask for water twice to get it. She didn't arrive to take our entree orders until after we had finished our salads, and then only after eye contact was established. Bread came in the middle of the meal. It was shockingly bad and unskilled--I've had much much better help at the Waffle House.

            For what we got and what we paid, it wasn't worth it. I hate to say it, because I really want fine dining to succeed in Concord. Unfortunately, this place doesn't qualify.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Cyberjag

              Thanks for the heads-up, Cyberjag. It is fair to say that this place just opened, so perhaps in six weeks or so (if it's this bad, they may not last much longer than that) someone will venture back for a second engagement. It does seem that Concord is a black hole of dining mediocrity. The hot dog I get at the stand outside of Lowe's is still my favorite meal in town.

              1. re: mrwaterslide

                Well in response to Cyberjag. I completely disagree. I have ate at Gianni's Trattoria on more than one occasion for both lunch and dinner, and every time my family and I go there it is always a great experience. The food is always very good and our waitresses have always been pleasant and attentive. We have also referred the restaurant to several of our friends who have gone there and also have enjoyed themselves. Their prices are also very reasonable. So to tell you the truth i don't know what Cyberjag is talking about.

                I can say without a doubt that is the best addition to downtown Concord in years. I would recommend GIanni's Trattoria to everyone.

                1. re: msmarie123

                  We're trying Gianni's Trattoria this Friday night. I'll report back.
                  The only place we like in Concord is Off The Grill at the corner of Poplar Tent and George Liles Pkwy. Get the burger with chili, slaw, onions and mustard with french fries and a cherry-lemon Sundrop.
                  Also, I think the sushi is good at Tsunami next to the Harley Davidson dealership near Concord Mills (also the sushi part of the restaurant is not crowded on weekend nights). If you are looking for upscale cuisine in Concord, you are out of luck. Max's Ally - nice decor, food's a bore. E-Noodles - TOO many onions. The Bistro - salty... old people's food in a tacky room. Emma's - family restaurant - nice servers - more old people's food. Two Leaves and a Bud - lunchtime - loved the tea, and the chicken salad was decent. Ellie's - lunchtime cuban was tasty.

                  1. re: StarvingInConcord

                    I agree with you on just about every account. However, I just wanted to say that I've been to Max's Ally about half a dozen times now over the last year and I think it is has gotten progressively better. Most recently we went last week and it was the best meal we've had there so far. Creative, exciting plates? No, but I don't think that's what they're going for. But it is becoming more consistent and solid. I think the big entrees are still overpriced, but it saves us a trip to Charlotte when we want something a little nicer than Cinco de Mayo on a Wednesday night.

                    I wish I could say the same thing about 46 in Kannapolis, but it only seems to get worse everytime we go there.

                    1. re: concordcourtney

                      Did anyone see that article in the business section of the Observer about that new restaurant, T1, I think (in Huntersville, near Concord)... you order electronically through a screen, and you can hook up your i-pod, and there's all these other high tech gadgets. Guess they have no servers? The owner is a techie. If anyone goes, please do report.

                      1. re: Chocolate Toe

                        Wow! Thanks for the heads up on this one, Choc!
                        http://www.t1tapas.com/
                        http://www.charlotteobserver.com/ente...
                        http://www.charlotteobserver.com/busi...

                        1. re: Chocolate Toe

                          Thanks for the tip! We tried T1 on Friday night and liked it a lot. I posted a review in a new thread:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/580191

                      2. re: StarvingInConcord

                        I ate @ Gianni's on a Sunday night because the K&W was already closed and that Italian place, Costello's, is out of business. The food was serviceable, but by that I mean serviceable for Concord, not serviceable for Charlotte, much less a bigger city. The problem is that the prices are, I don't know, more like Boston or New York prices than Concord, North Carolina prices. I could have eaten six times at K&W for the money I spent, and been a whole lot happier with more honest food. I will say that the owner, who may or may not be Gianni, was very nice to my mother, who is an elderly woman.
                        The decor is appalling---if Al Capone were to open a bordello in Concord, and really try to make the design appropriate, given the best of his ability, he might come up with something like this. I do think he would put up a few pictures, however, and not just go with distressed stucco in erotic swirls of blushing pink.

                        1. re: mrwaterslide

                          Actually mrwaterslide, I live in downtown concord and know for a fact that Gianni's has never been open on Sundays or Mondays, so you already lied there, maybe not on purpose though. And if your idea of a nice night out is K&W then maybe you should stick to what you know. The food is priced very well considering the quality of ingredients and as a chef myself, i found it to be amazingly traditional and very enjoyable. Maybe Olive Garden is more your speed. lol

                  2. re: Cyberjag

                    I completely agree with this comment same experience 2 years later.

                    Pretty bad, great location not sure if its the valentines menu but this restaurant and its staff are in desperate need of an intervention, new menus, new wait staff, new chef and new bartender. Owner seems to be a very nice guy I wish him the best of luck.
                    Disliked: Food, Service, Atmosphere, Value

                  3. My husband and I went to Gianni's Trattoria for our 16th anniversary on Saturday. I had heard and read about this new italian restaurant downtown!!! I was very excited we had something other than everything else in Concord. Coming from Greensboro all my life and having some of the best restaurants, Concord is a great disappointment. At Gianni's Trattoria the food was very good, my husband had the lasagna and I had the rigatoni with veggies. We started with the antipasti plate, very good but no cheese to be found, mostly grilled veggies, (watch out for the yellow squash and zucchini with raw garlic, VERY unexpected!) very little meat, lots of baby lettuces, fresh tomato something... it had good flavor though. The service was awful. The waitress seemed to chat up everyone but us, there were 3 couples and a group of 5 she was waitressing for and they were not super busy. She didn't tell us there were specials which I heard here telling the other two couples. She was condesending but what really got my husband upset was when she brought us the coffee, she forgot the spoons and proceeded to throw a couple of plastic stir sticks on the table for us to use. The table had a rings of water from the tea glasses and crumbs from where we had eaten, and the plastic stir sticks went in the all this. I thought my husband would just fly at this... he asked to speak with Johnny, the proprieter and he came over and we just told him how rude she was. He told us to ask for him personally and he would seat us the next time we came in. I don't know if that will happen, we will see.
                    Does anyone know if they have a website yet? They took my email address to send those specials to me once a week.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: NoPlaceToEat

                      UGH! I'm so dissappointed to read the reviews about Gianni's. My friend invited me there for lunch this coming Friday. Ah well...I'll give it a shot. I live near Rocky RiverRD, and if you take Lower Rocky River all the way to Albemarle Rd and make a right, there's a fairly new place called Jakes Good Eats that makes an awsome burger. The dinner menu looked interesting, but I haven't tried it yet.

                      I think Lake Lynn Lodge is way overated. I've only been once this past July. The place smells bad (mildew and smoke), the lettuce in the salad was wilted and the steak was overcooked. As for the "home made salad dressing"...if the lettuce is wilted and tinged with brown, who cares about the dressing?!

                      I did make it back to Emma's for dinner again...still not impressed. It was OK, but overpriced for the quality of the food. The service was good though...the wait staff and the owners do try to make sure everyone is comfortable.

                      1. re: ncgiantsfan

                        ncgiantsfan, We used to eat at Lake Lynn Lodge alot until the owners died and the kids took over. We loved their wings and steak, and the small house salad was fresh with homemade bluecheese, was good. Now it's just not good anymore, they are trying to cut corners and they have lost alot of their customers, only the regulars go there now to drink and not really eat. We haven't been back in over a year now, and probably won't ever go back.

                    2. Has anyone tried Mai Thai in Concord? I just found a coupon for it in the Attractions coupon book. I haven't had good Thai food in years. Also, Tsunami's down off of Speedway Blvd. is pretty good and there's almost always a coupon for them in the mail.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ncgiantsfan

                        We eat there semi-regularly because it's very close to home. It's pretty good Thai food but nothing amazing. The servers do well and the atmosphere is fine, but every time I'm in there (usually to pick up food to go on a weeknight) it's pretty dead. Certainly worth a try, especially with your coupon. But as far as sheer quality of food goes, close by, I prefer the Thai place at 29 and Harris in University - I think it's called Thai House.

                        Thanks for the word about Tsunami. I've wondered about them.

                        1. re: concordcourtney

                          Hmmmm. This all sounds pretty dismal, except perhaps Tsunami. Will be at the Cabarrus Arena for the antique show all week end, and was hoping there might be something worthwhile in the area. TI sounds out of the way, no?

                          1. re: birgator

                            yes, T1 is in Birkdale Village- which is about 25 minutes from Afton Village. You just take 73 all of the way there. I just made reservations and we are set to go for tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it goes, I have high hopes :)

                            1. re: BigCityGirl

                              T1 was AWESOME!!!!! I think that the menu, although slightly limited, was full of fresh and tasty ingredients. The tuna tartare was graded at a #2 of all of the restaurants we'd ever visited (#1 resides in Miami- go figure!). I think it's totally worth the drive. Reasonable prices, good wine selction and super fun atmosphere!

                          2. re: concordcourtney

                            Tsunami is fair, but likely the best sushi you'll find this side of the city. What bothers me is that it's half "japanese hibatchi"- what's up with that? The service can be hit or miss, but the wasabi comes generously.. so it isn't so bad.

                        2. I went to Gianni's for the first time at lunch today. We arrived before the crowd (11:45). The waitress was excellent and provided great service. My friend and I each had the different soups and salads. I had the zupa de principessa (sp?) and caesar salad, she had the onion soup and baby greens. Overall it was good but next time I'll try the onion soup. The flavor of the principessa was excellent, but I was not a fan of the mini meatballs in it...too dense for my liking. There's a big difference between a light, fluffy meatball and a dense meatball.

                          Their bread was very good, but they serve the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl instead of a saucer. This means you've got to drench your bread in the oil just to get to the balsamic at the bottom of the bowl. We poured it out on the bread plate and it was perfect.

                          I will go back for lunch. The pastas at the neighboring table looked excellent (and the aroma was nummy-nummy!).

                          1. If any of you enjoy Greek food I highly recommend Athens Gate near Afton Village (it's by the YMCA and Joe's Sports Bar). Very authentic and fresh. Wait staff is pleasant and competent. The prices are higher then what you'd pay at Showmars, but the quality of the food is much, much better. It's a little family owned place and there is usually a buy one/get one coupon in the ValPaks or CentSaver magazine.

                            1. Go to Wasabi Cafe, across from CMC-NorthEast hospital, for wonderful sushi and Thai and Japanese specialties. Informal, inexpensive, family run - just a wonderful place.

                              1. As if it isn't hard enough to find a good restaurant in Concord, I have called Union St, Emmas, and Gianni's and they are all closed on Sundays. Max's Ally seems to be totally closed. Any other suggestions for a Sunday dinner in Concord?

                                -----
                                Max's Ally
                                355 John Galt Way NW Ste 101, Concord, NC 28027

                                1. To the powers that be if you want to make concord a historic destination make an effort to improve the eateries. If we shine they will come back, I would love to see the city become a mecca or a jewel in the restaurant business. Easier said that done but nothing worth it is ever easy. I hope to make a foray in the business in Concord.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jam49ers

                                    Union Street just can't support any type of dining or bar because of the parking problem. People want to walk less than 15 feet from car to eatery and it's just not happening in downtown. The city has put its money at the Speedway/Concord Mills area and its so pricey that an upstart can't make it there. I bet a few of the chains at CM are in the red from time to time, but overall are showing a profit annually. Upstarts don't have the capital behind them to withstand the down months. I am from Concord, born and raised, but I believe it's time for the city to buy up most of the property, tear it down and start anew. Make a place people WANT to come to.