It all began with a friend’s tweet lamenting the loss of Good Bottle. For those of whom are new to Charlotte and our local beer scene, Good Bottle was a relatively long-lived institution, one of the original bottle shops in Charlotte. It had a bit of a cult following in a city that had just begun its rise in the national beer brewing scene. The shop was located near the corner of South Boulevard and Remount Road in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood.
This tweet resonated with me, not because I missed Good Bottle, but because I knew a new business had taken the reins. Stable Hand, which quietly opened in 2020 during the loudest part of the pandemic, is providing a completely different but complementary concept.
Stable Hand represents the changing landscape of its surrounding neighborhoods, South End, Dilworth and Sedgefield. The business, which specializes in natural wine, thoughtfully brewed coffee and good food, is pushing the South End culinary scene forward and doing some great things that deserve recognition.
A young but promising chef
Chef Kentrell French, the brains behind the inventive cuisine at Stable Hand, comes to Charlotte by way of Sanford, a town at the geographic center of North Carolina. His upbringing, preparing and cooking crops from his grandfather’s farm, bred his love for his food, and led him to a home in Charlotte, graduating from Johnson & Wales University.
French’s love of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine comes across in his bold flavors, as well as his unique rice porridge dishes, which offer a different take on your traditional power bowl brunch.
The highlight of my meal was the Hummus Tartine, my favorite vegan dish in recent memory. I’m admittedly a pretty avid meat eater, but this dish left me wanting more. It consisted of crunchy bread from local bakery Verdant and was topped with carrot hummus, roasted cauliflower, charred tomato, sweet peppers and sage oil.
I rounded out the meal sampling the Coconut Curry Chicken Tartine, the Savory Rice Porridge, and the bacon-stuffed biscuit with smokey Cajun chicken. The overall meal was very unique, and made for a great departure from your usual Charlotte boozy brunch.
A unique offering
Beyond great food, Stable Hand should be recognized for its focus on natural and biodynamic wines. For the uninitiated, natural wines are completely different from the wines you see at Whole Foods simply labeled “organic. Natural wine is grown, processed and fermented in the most traditional methods of wine-making, hand-picked, chemical and preservative-free.
Natural wines offer an exciting departure from wine tasting norms, the wine is less predictable, in a good way – funkier on the palate, complex, unpretentious and some-what unrefined. With its focus on natural wines, Stable Hand offers a completely unique experience compared to your average wine bar.
Stable Hand, whose ownership also runs Hex Coffee, goes beyond food and wine, offering some of the best coffee in Charlotte. The coffee beans are roasted at Camp North End, and every cup is thoughtfully brewed.
Despite its unique specialty, Stable Hand is bright, collaborative and free of pretension. The interior is spacious, and functions nicely as both a morning and early evening destination.
The outdoor space isn’t huge but it is shared with Canine Café, so you can bring your furry friend. With COVID-19 numbers gradually going down and the weather getting warmer, Stable Hand should be on your list of places to grab a bite and a glass of wine, and watch the world go by.
Swing by March 18, for Stable Hand’s first pop-up of the season, featuring food from French and other local chefs. The same day, in response to the world slowly returning to normal, Stable Hand will be extending its hours Thursday-Saturday until 7 p.m.
125 Remount Road