High-end restaurant targeting March opening in uptown Charlotte

Essex Bar & Bistro is putting the finishing touches on its menu of international cuisine and drinks. The high-end restaurant expects to open in March at 101 S. Tryon St. That’s the same building that houses the Omni Hotel. Construction on the 5,000-square-foot restaurant kicked off over the summer at that space, which was formerly home to Merrill Lynch’s uptown Charlotte offices.

Sandeep PatelHaim AizenbergPete Lloyd and Erez Sukarchi are behind the venture. (Lloyd and Sukarchi also own Enso Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar in the EpiCentre complex uptown.) Lloyd first shared his vision for Essex in early 2014, but the project ran into delays.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better location,” says Sean Potter, director of operations for Essex and Enso.

That space is being transformed to have the feel of “New York, modern industrial chic,” says Ashley Morris, director of sales and marketing. That includes exposed brick, copper piping, dark wood tables and a 42-foot bar that will serve as a focal point. “It’s very different than anything Charlotte has right now,” Morris adds.

The 170-seat eatery will highlight food traditions from across the globe. The menu will bring together the flavors from South America, Asia and Italy to name a few. Bistro-style plates that are meant to be shared will be a focus. “We’re going to be very appealing for large groups,” Potter says. “There will be something everyone in the party will like.”

There also will be a strong focus on the bar with innovative cocktails, an extensive wine list and local beers. Bar manager and master mixologist Todd Bayley is developing a cocktail menu with150 different choices including classic drinks and new-age options. “It’s going to be an all-encompassing cocktail menu,” Potter says. Up to 120 different wines will be available by the glass including selections from California, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia. Varying price points will cater to the patron looking for a $7 glass of wine or looking to splurge on a $50 option.

Charlotte-based K2HN Construction NC is handling the project.

Kimberly Bryant of Myrtle Beach is the interior designer.

Mike Lucier, vice president of retail services for CBRE Group Inc., represented the building in real estate negotiations. Carolyn Kellogg, with Kellogg Realty in Charlotte, represented the tenant.

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