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Nov 26, 2007 07:26 AM

Concord, NC - New Restaurants

So within the last month there have been a few new restaurants opening in the Afton Village area of Concord. I think I've tried them all now and the results are mixed. From least favorite to most:

1) Joe's Sports Bar and Grill - in Afton Village proper, in the same complex as Gateway to Athens and E Noodles. One word: SMOKE. There is no nonsmoking section but judging by the number of people smoking, this doesn't matter to most people. When we ate there (just days after they opened), the only food being offered was appetizers (think: things you can cook with a deep fryer). I understand since then sandwiches have been added to the menu. But I'm not willing to brave the health hazard to give them a try.

2) Pandini's - In Afton Ridge shopping center. This, I believe, is a chain though I've never seen any others. It's Sandwiches, Salads, 1-Person-Pizzas, and Pasta. I liked the food. I had a margherita pizza and my husband had one of their signature sandwiches, a Labretti, which is like a sandwich on flatbread except that the bread is a pizza crust. He said the bread/crust was excellent, but wasn't crazy about the steak filling. I think I'll be back here for easy dinners. Too expensive for lunch (our meal with two fountain drinks was $18).

3) Max's Ally - A standalone building in Afton Village next to the YMCA. I understand this is a new restaurant by the same people that run Dressler's in Birkdale Village. It's billed as an upscale family restaurant (and there were a lot of kids on the night we went). It is being well-received in Concord. In fact, the first night we tried to go (a Saturday), there was an hour wait; this only a couple weeks after opening. We decided not to wait that time, but went back the next Tuesday. It was much more tame that night, but still respectable for a Tuesday. The atmosphere was pleasant and the service was good. The menu is not large, but there's a little of everything at very reasonable prices. Most entrees were in the mid-teens. Steak in the $20s. We had crab fritters for an app which were very tasty (but took a while to come to the table and thus we wished they were hotter). Then we both had a salad, which were just the right size for preceding an entree and only $4. The entrees weren't awesome, but quite decent. My stuffed chicken was overcooked, but at $13 it was still tasty. My husband said that the sauce/reduction severd with his New York strip was tasteless, but that the meat itself was very good. For dessert, we shared a simple, but tasty apple crisp.

I'm hoping they're still working out kinks and it's only going to get better. Either way, we'll go back, probably often, because this is just the type of restaurant we've been needing in Concord. However, next time we'll ask for a table because the booths are crazy-uncomfortable!

Would enjoy hearing the reactions of other people who have tried these places, especially Max's Ally.

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  1. Hello!

    We tried Max's Ally a few weeks back. We sat at the bar because there was a wait (the kitchen was a little behind). My husband & I both had sandwiches which were quite tasty. I feel like I had a goat cheese appetizer too, which I enjoyed. Sorry to be so vague, but like I said it was a few weeks back but I would definitely go back again.

    I'm interested in trying Pandini's I'll let you know how that goes after I try it.

    1. Courtney, my wife and I tried Max's about a week after it opened. I had high hopes as we really like Dresslers. I'd have to say I thought it was ok, not great. The atmosphere was a bit lacking -- but that could have been due to it not being quite finished. I had ribs which were fair. The service was good and we'll try it again. You're right, we need more nice restaurants in the area. Appreciate the info on Pandini's -- I'll probably try it for lunch this week as I work nearby and I'm so tired of the regular stops. I don't know If I'll try Joe's as I hate smoke -- thanks for the heads up.

      4 Replies
      1. re: artlee

        Have you tried Forty-Six in Kannapolis yet? We went there for the first time this weekend and it was brilliant. I mean, it's not like Michelin star material, but for the location and the prices, I was hugely impressed. We're going to become regulars there I think. I plan on writing a more detailed review soon - maybe after going back one more time to solidify my initial reactions. But seriously....Max's Ally who?

        1. re: concordcourtney

          I couldn't remember the name or location of the new place. I will have to try 46! Thanks for proding my memory. I have heard good things about it! It's not like we have a lot of choices in town.

          Some guys at work went this weekend to Max's and thought it was "real good". I'm still not convinced, although I suppose I need to give them another chance.

        2. re: artlee

          Went to Pandini's for lunch past week and had pizza. Thought it was good. Evidently this is the first franchise in the company. They also offered interesting looking sandwiches, salads, and pasta. Quick service too. Think I'll try a sandwich this week.

          1. re: artlee

            Glad you liked it, artlee. We popped into the new Buffalo Wild Wings that just opened in the same shopping center yesterday. No surprises there. It was exactly as you would expect a placed called Wild Wings to be.

        3. Max's Ally was a huge disappointment to us too. Not only do we love Dressler's and had high hopes for Jon's second restaurant- we thought it might be closer to a Red Rocks. Not so much. I enjoy a good meal and would have no problem paying large dollars for it- but I honestly would rather eat at a Chik Fil a then dine here again. I've been twice. Not only is the menu lacking on so many levels- they even messed up my daughter's cheesburger the one time we took her. How hard is a cheeseburger to make? I especially was disgusted with the stale bun it arrived on. Better luck headed somewhere else. It's a shame we have to drive to the city or Huntersville to find good food, we deserve to have a few good places even if Concord is still a little rural...