Hawthorne's New York Pizza & Bar's dough-slingers serve a piping-hot menu of pasta, heroes, and hand-tossed pizzas, earning a 2011 Charlotte Magazine Voters' Choice award for best pizza. Edible disks are spooned with sauce and configured for specialty deliciousness with such options as the luau pizza⎯a blend of pineapple, bacon, smoked pulled pork, and caramelized onions wrapped up in a grass skirt ($9–$18)⎯and the Sicilian's thick, square crust clad only in mozzarella ($14.50). Herbs and gorgonzola cheese roam across hills of pasta and valleys stuffed with chicken or sausage in the gorgonzola pasta ($10.50), and the philly cheesesteak hero ($8.85) laces standard white american cheese with the illicit flavors of chipotle mayo. Chefs layer eggplant rollentini ($11) with a blend of mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheeses before spackling it with pesto and oven-baking it to monumental deliciousness.
A vast array of suds, gourmet pies built with fresh ingredients, and friendly staffers populate The Pizza Peel and Tap Room's affable neighborhood confines. Each specialty pizza ($8 for an eight-inch, $20 for a 16-inch) is perched upon a delectable crust that is chewy on the inside and crunchy on its outskirts, just like Barry Bonds. The barbecue-chicken pizza surrounds its grilled poultry with red onion, roasted red peppers, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and a smattering of cilantro. Stock an empty-shelved stomach with the Sorry for Partying Supreme (add $1), which is swimming in pepperoni, ground beef, sausage, mozzarella, three kinds of peppers (green, red, and banana), onion, and mushroom. The diverse menu is also home to multiple un-pizzafied eats such as the crisp and moist peel wings ($5.25–$13.75), which come dressed in teriyaki, Buffalo, jerk, inferno, or sweet-chili sauce, or the homespun chips, spackled with a special spice blend ($4.95).
Dandelion Market serves salads and flatbreads at lunch and a collection of small, shareable plates at dinner. For portable proteins, select between grilled-steak skewers ($12) or grilled-lamb lollipops ($16). Paired well with a bottle of wine ($25), ale-simmered sausage bites ($6) come with hot sweet mustard to give each bite bite. Every Monday, cover bands serenade patrons while Dandelion serves $3 pints from the selection of 24 craft-style brews.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
There’s nothing more quintessentially Irish than Guinness beer, a fact not lost on the chefs at Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub. Led by Deacon Ovall, recently featured on Fox Charlotte's Chef Spotlight, the kitchen staff pairs house-cured corned beef and cabbage with Guinness au jus, smothers flank-steak shepherd's pie with Guinness gravy, and batters fried cod fillets in Guinness batter. But the menu is nothing if not multifaceted, with offerings ranging from traditional Irish eats and hearty half-pound Black Angus burgers to nearly a dozen freshly tossed salads.
Diners can pair their upscale pub eats with a hearty selection of pours. Four of the eight draft beers on tap hail from Ireland itself, and the servers also mix up "Lucktinis," including the Spiced Leprechaun made with Bacardi Oakheart, sour-apple Schnapps, and pineapple juice. Big-screen TVs dazzle eyes as flights of Irish whiskey tantalize tongues. Every Wednesday at 9 p.m., rounds of trivia keep brains from forgetting little-known factoids, such as the name of George Washington’s least-favorite fruit.