204 North: A Taste of Carolina with a Twist
For years, Tryon Street was populated by dimly-lit bars with dance floors, and either ritzy or casual eateries. Conspicuously absent was a modern, comfortable restaurant featuring handcrafted cocktails and local fare. Fortunately, 204 North arrived in May 2016 to fill that void. Its wooden floors and brick walls project a relaxed vibe and casts locals back to an earlier Uptown, when the building operated as a paper mill.
Nestled between RiRa’s and Prohibition, 204 North is ideally located to be a major destination for those eager to partake in the Uptown scene. With its sophisticated ambiance, multiple bars, and eclectic light fixtures and decor, this upscale restaurant is perfect for a romantic date, birthday, anniversary, or just a good-ol’ Girls Night Out. On a recent Tuesday evening, the restaurant and bars at 204 North were packed with professionals looking to unwind in a more polished atmosphere than 204 North’s neighbors.
204 North distinguishes itself with a signature, hand-crafted cocktail menu created by in-house mixologists. There’s something for every aficionado of spirits, with many of the cocktails cleverly named after popular Charlotte neighborhoods such as Ballantyne, 4th Ward, and South Park.
I sipped on La Reina, made from Mezcal (smoked tequila), blood orange, cinnamon, and lime. The blood orange gave the drink a beautiful, crimson hue and the flavors were a perfect balance of citrus and smoke. Highly recommended was the Ballantyne combining gin, elderflower liqueur, strawberries, and fresh mint for a lighter, refreshing libation.
204 North prides itself on serving traditional Southern cuisine as well as your favorite classics with a twist. Only responsibly sourced meats are offered and local produce used to highlight the ingredients’ natural flavors. I typically order a restaurant’s charcuterie and cheese plate to taste the freshness of the meat and cheeses. The salami and sopresetta at 204 North were thinly sliced and delectable. The farmer and cheddar cheeses were fresh and made locally in Ashe County, North Carolina. The quality and variety of the dish was enhanced as the plate was finished with pecans, walnuts, fresh grapes, mustard, crostini, and local, raw honey for a perfect touch of sweetness.
The entree menu boasts fresh fishes, organic chicken, and twists on a favorite classic: macaroni and cheese. The tender noodles are tossed in cheddar goat cheese sauce and finished with either buffalo chicken or pulled pork.
One of my favorite features of the menu is the ability to switch out any sides for your desired vegetable or starch, a perfect solution for finicky diners or vegetarians. I chose creamy, truffle mashed potatoes and crispy roasted brussels sprouts to accompany my citrus Atlantic salmon. I couldn’t resist the waitress when she recommended the flourless chocolate cake, layered with smooth chocolate terrine and topped with strawberry sorbet for a tangy contrast to a rich dessert.
204 North is deserving of a spot on anyone’s bucket list. They’re open every day, most nights until 2:00a.m. for those night owls. The restaurant also serves brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11:00 a.m. Bottles of champagne and bottomless orange juice is just $21. Head to Tryon Street and mark 204 North off your EWP Foodie Passport!