This upscale South End restaurant wants to be the heartbeat of the neighborhood.
Zeppelin brings its chef-driven fare and craft cocktail lounge to South End starting Dec. 26.
It is located at 235 W. Tremont St.
Jonathan Tee and Jonathan Swope are behind that 2,300-square-foot venture. It also has a 750-square-foot patio space fronting that corridor. They’ve tapped up Vince Giancarlo as executive chef and operator. He dubs the menu the “newest of American food” — all ingredient driven and inspired by his training.
The 60-seat restaurant will have a steampunk-meets-Queen City vibe. Zeppelin’s design captures the industrial feel of the 1900s, while bringing in touches of Charlotte’s history.
The restaurant’s name ties to the WWI balloon-style airship.
“It’s taken us on a journey,” Swope says. “We got to learn a lot about what was going on here.”
The design incorporates touches of brass and gold— including ceiling trusses and light fixtures— exposed brick, sleek black subway tiles and a whitewashed-style stain on hardwood oak tables with stainless steel chairs.
“We want you to be able to walk in and see the industrialism,” Giancarlo says.
Decor melds old-fashioned phones, glass bottles, traditional steampunk-style gears with other touches such as bottles and knickknacks to set the scene. A cured moss “Z” serves as a focal point next to frames chalkboards, which will highlight specials.
“It feels like home — where we are supposed to be, what we wanted to do with it,” Giancarlo says.
He has drawn from his experience working with chefs around the world to create a menu. The focus is on high-quality, seasonal food.
“We want the ingredients, both in the kitchen and behind the bar to really speak for themselves and drive that home,” Giancarlo says.
Zeppelin will dish up small plates to share such as the Pacific Yellow Tail Crudo or roasted and glazed carrots topped with fresh ricotta, cracked pepper, hand-picked herbs and wildflower honey.
Giancarlo has created a deconstructed butternut squash hummus, which breaks down the vegetable and creates a traditional style hummus, pickled topping, a gremolata that incorporates bits of the pepitas as well as an butternut infused oil.
There’s also options such as 21-day dry-aged crispy duck or the Maine Lobster Mac & Cheese with house-made fettuccine, Uni béchamel topped with nori ranch fizz and bacon poached lobster tail.
Larry Suggs, previously with The Punk Room and Duckworth’s The Cellar, has designed the cocktails and beverages in collaboration with Giancarlo.
Think hand-crafted cocktails and beverages such as the Foggle Fizz or the Pen Pals, with Queen Charlotte rum, mint, kaffir lime leaf, fresh lime and egg whites.
The bar program also will integrate molecular gastronomy into its offerings.
Zeppelin worked with D3 Studio on the project.
Paragon was the general contractor and D4 Construction handled the exterior work, including the patio.
John Bell with Red Partners, represented Zeppelin in the lease transaction.
Hours of operation are from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. A grand opening celebration will be held on Jan. 5.
VIA CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL