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When this wood-fired steakhouse opens in North Charlotte, you can come as you are

·3 min read

A new restaurant with open wood-fired cooking is coming to North Charlotte this summer, and you can get an early taste of what it’s all about.

Duke Kroger, a partner and executive chef at the new concept, called Cinder, envisions a space where fine dining can be accessible to a crowd without suits and ties. Kroger, a former executive chef at Baker’s Kitchen in New Bern, has also worked at Husk in Charleston.

THE FOOD: Kroger plans for a new kind of farm-to-table Charlotte steakhouse, where you an get a dry-aged steak that’s been locally sourced from Shipley Farms in Asheville or a game meat such as elk or emu. The menu will focus on live-fire cooking over an open hearth with the help of an indoor smoker and other tools.

THE DRINKS: Katie McKeown, who competed in Season 13 of Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay, will be Cinder’s mixologist.

THE SCENE: Cinder’s plans call for large outdoor patio and live music. Charlotte artist Leon Parker is also working with the team on pieces for the restaurant’s interior, as well as exterior murals. There’s also talk of incorporating him as an artistic director for private restaurant industry-focused events that would incorporate art and music.

THE VIBE: “Food was never meant to be segregated or class divisional,” Kroger said. “This is an experience for everybody — we wanted to create that inclusivity for everyone.”

Duke Kroger is a partner and the executive chef at Cinder.
Duke Kroger is a partner and the executive chef at Cinder.

HELPING OUT: Kroger said the restaurant is all about collaboration and giving back. A surcharge on each order will help provide benefits for employees and will also contribute to a monthly donation to assist local farmers via the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. He was inspired to do something after seeing several farms close during COVID-19. “At the end of the day, we have to support our own community, and we have to support these farms. If you’re not giving anything back, what’s the purpose?”

WHO’S ON BOARD: Other partners in the venture are Adam Cozzolino, a Smoothie King franchisee who also co-owns Lifted CBD, and Michael Lazzara Jr., who also co-owns Vital Signs Co.

SWITCHING GEARS: The news of Cinder’s opening was recently reported by Charlotte Magazine, although plans for the location for the restaurant originally slated for South End have changed. Now, the spot will open in late May or soon after in a busy North Charlotte location. The new location has not been announced, and of course we’ll update you as soon as it is.

Salt & Ash pop-up

Want a sneak peek? You can get one by attending the Salt & Ash pop-up dinner.

What: The collaboration at RockSalt — where chef and owner Travis Hearne of The Dunavant is now in the kitchen, helping to put a new spin on things — will showcase seafood from The Rappahannock Oyster Co., as well as aged beef plates from Shipley Farms and wild game. Charlotte artist Leon Parker will talk about Cinder’s design and will have artwork on display. Chefs and vendors will speak between courses, and an extended cocktail hour will follow the dinner.

The food: Kroger will handle the meat courses, while Hearne will handle the seafood. Expect to see creative plates and a few surprises. “Pop-ups are the easiest way for chefs to get into the art angle of culinary arts. Any chance to stretch my legs as an artist, l’m all about,” Hearne said.

When: Monday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

Where: RockSalt, 512 Brandywine Road, Suite 500.

Cost: Tickets for the eight-course tasting menu are $155.

Details: Proceeds will benefit The Carolina Farm Trust, which financially assists generational farmers in North Carolina.

Cinder’s Pomme De Terre’ with Fire Ashen Apple, Maldon Caramel Sucrée, Salted Brûlée Gelato and Wild Oats.
Cinder’s Pomme De Terre’ with Fire Ashen Apple, Maldon Caramel Sucrée, Salted Brûlée Gelato and Wild Oats.


Opening summer 2022

Neighborhood: North Charlotte

Instagram: @cinderoncharlotte

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