We're Growing: 9 Restaurants Recently Expanded into Gaston County
Gaston County is exploding with possibilities for business and economic development. Local business owners are picking up on this, but they aren’t the only ones. Recently, Gaston County has seen an uprising of restaurant expansion from Charlotte-based and nation-wide franchises—sometimes like Berkeley, California, based Cinnaholic even bypassing the city.
Charlotte-based Jack Beagle’s opened its third location in downtown Mt. Holly. Owners Mike Crowley and Chris Ingram opened the flagship location in Charlotte’s NODA district in 2012 and their second location on Morehead Street in Charlotte in the summer of 2019. The idea of expanding to Mt. Holly has been on the books since 2017, although it’s been a slow-moving process.
Crowley and Ingram are no strangers to Gaston County. The pair opened Mayworth’s Public House in downtown Cramerton a few storefronts down from Doffer’s Canteen. Fans of rejuvenating old buildings, the Jack Beagle’s owners have found a niche in Gaston County with its steady stream of original downtown storefronts, many open and available for revitalization and fresh new businesses.
Gaston County’s continued growth and high demand of smaller towns with big city amenities have drawn countless business owners to meet the needs of our expanding population. These franchises see the opportunities our county affords and are jumping all-in to grow alongside us, adding quality restaurants to our culinary landscape.
Here are some of the restaurants that are taking advantage of the market demand in our ever-growing county.
With their original location on the corner of Central Avenue and The Plaza in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood location, Akahana has been serving traditional Asian cuisine since 2009. They have brought their three-pronged concept—sushi bar, Asian kitchen, and full-service bar—to Belmont’s 6425 Wilkinson Boulevard. Here you can try fresh sushi and authentic dishes alongside craft made cocktails or local beer.
Juice Bar began in Nashville as a response to owner John Hunt’s personal quest for a healthier lifestyle. He and his wife, Vui, started the business by purchasing a former sandwich shop and quickly made their rounds in the southeast. You can find Juice Bar in three Charlotte locations, one in Wilmington and now, Belmont.
Juice Bar spans beyond simply juice. You can enjoy a smoothie (in a cup or as a bowl), essential oil shots or a healthy lunch. Juice Bar’s Belmont shop is located at 6425 Wilkinson Boulevard, Suite H.
From Suwannee, Georgia, all the way to Northern Virginia, Famous Toastery has dotted our region with a preferred breakfast spot. In 2005, Famous Toastery opened in Huntersville and one of their more than forty locations is found at 6425 Wilkinson Boulevard. This thriving development is home to many of these transplant restaurants, with space to grow.
At Famous Toastery, you can have breakfast or lunch all day, however you want it. Looking for catering options? They’ve got you covered there as well.
Cinnaholic is Belmont’s only vegan bakery, specializing in—you guessed it—cinnamon buns. Their dream was birthed out of their California town and spread across the US and Canada after their 2014 appearance on Shark Tank. Indian Trail was North Carolina’s first location, with the second in Belmont opening shortly thereafter. Here you can find treats like Blueberry Pie or Cookie Monster cinnamon buns or, for the more traditional dessert eater, cookies and brownies. All are 100% vegan with locally-sourced coffee to wash it down.
Thai House is a traditional Thai restaurant, serving curries, sushi and more, off Gastonia’s Franklin Boulevard. With locations in Charlotte and Pineville, the expansion to Gastonia brings their hearty menu into the heart of our county. There are daily specials, like Wednesday’s Pad Thai or Thursday’s Green Curry, as well as traditional appetizers and entrees in an authentic setting. Try the fried tofu with peanut sauce or soft shell crab masaman with green curry and potatoes.
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar opened on Charlotte’s East Boulevard in 2007 and since 2012 (when there were five locations) the burger franchise has expanded to thirty-five restaurants as far west as Colorado and as close to home as Gastonia. Buffalo Tots with wing sauce, blue cheese and green onions are a house favorite to start. Follow with a burger (beef, turkey, tuna or black bean) or one of their other signature sandwiches and follow it up with a shake. Bottled beers with a rotating draft list as well as signature cocktails are on the menu, so have a seat at a booth or at the bar and enjoy the burgers that are quickly making their way around the country.
A self-declared Peruvian Rotisserie Joint, Viva Chicken’s counter-service model is home to hormone-free chicken (fresh, never frozen) prepared in a hand-built, charcoal oven from Lima, Peru. Their chicken is served with sides like plantains and cilantro-infused rice. Their kids’ menu is a healthy alternative that is served with a signature juice, like their herbal limeade made with lime, basil, rosemary and mint.
The first Showmars was opened in 1982 in Monroe, North Carolina, by first-generation Greek immigrants. Their mix of American and Greek food serves North Carolina, Gastonia included. Try a traditional gyro or a pita burger. Greek salads can be served with or without meat and Showmars proudly serves a Beyond Meat vegetarian gyro. You can find them at either 1900 Broadcast Street or 3908 F-130 East Franklin Boulevard.
Jack Beagle’s is named for owner Chris Ingram’s late dog, Jack Beagle. After promising to make the dog’s name famous, his and co-owner Mike Crowley’s third opened in September at 127 S. Main Street. After some unforeseen delays (that are typical for aging buildings), Jack Beagle’s is excited to bring their renowned mac-and-cheese (try the Mexi-mac), burgers and weekend brunch. A full bar and local beer along with live music make this a great evening destination and an excellent addition to the thriving Mt. Holly Main Street.