* Owner Mickey Chang has opened a 70-seat Peruvian restaurant, El Loco Pollo, 3124 Eastway Drive. Entrees range from $6 to $15 and hours are Monday through Thursday 11am until 10:30pm, and Friday and Saturday 11am until 11pm; and Sunday noon until 10pm. 704-568-3600.
* Owner Norman Block has opened the 85-seat Planet Noodle, Global Noodle Bowls in the Ballantyne Commons Shopping Center, 15105 John J. Delaney Drive. Block's other restaurant is The Planet Grill in Dilworth. On Global's menu are a few appetizers and salads, and 14 noodle bowls including Thai chicken curry with vegetables and rice noodles; Pad Thai with shrimp and rice noodles; the Rising Sun with grilled chicken, snow peas, mushrooms, ginger miso sauce, and udon noodles; the Southwestern with grilled chicken, tortilla strips, carrots, onions, and linguini; Mediterranean with seared beef, tomatoes, olives, garlic, basil, mint, feta, and penna pasta; and grilled salmon with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and linguine. Tofu may be substituted in any dish. Prices at lunch range from $6.50 to $10.50, and at dinner $8.50 to $14.50. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30am until 10pm, until 11pm on Friday and Saturday; and noon until 9pm on Sunday. 704-544-8271.
* Glenn Kluttz has opened the 65-seat Johnny Rockets, a burger-malt franchise from California, in the Rose Commons Center, 9931 Rose Commons Drive, in Huntersville. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11am until 10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am until 11pm, and Sunday 11am until 9pm. 704-992-6355.
* Owners Tamara and Chris Garris have opened Roly Poly, a Florida-headquartered franchise, in the Arboretum, 8200 Providence Road. The shop features 50 types of made-to-order sandwiches rolled on a flour tortilla. Prices range from $3.25 to $7. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10am until 9pm, Sunday 11am until 5pm. The owners plan to open three additional shops in Charlotte by 2003. 704-540-8313.
Line Changes* Chuck Moore is the general manager of the Matthews location of the Detroit-based BD Mongolian Barbecue franchise in Sycamore Commons Plaza (2233 Matthews Township Parkway). Bombay Grille Indian Cuisine in the Tower Place Shopping Center (8706 Pineville-Matthews Road) is under new ownership. Naval Sedhi is the majority partner of that venture. Steven Myatt, former owner of Bageltime Catering, has become the catering manager of The Sydney Grill, 4944 Parkway Plaza Boulevard. 704-423-0444.
* Just Fresh is now serving dinner until 9pm at three locations: 6420 Carmel Road, Gateway Village at 718-A West Trade Street, and 1231-A East Boulevard in Kenilworth Commons. Also new on the menu are Penne Pomodor with roasted vegetables; Pasta Cajun Carbonara; and a variety of panini sandwiches. Some of the new entrees and salads can be packaged in family-sized containers.
* Upstream was included in "Best New Restaurants of 2001" by Esquire magazine.
* Guytano's has moved from its SouthEnd location to SouthPark. The restaurant is now in the former Cooker's location, 6000 Fairview Road. They are also serving lunch. Hours are 11:30am until 2:30pm Monday through Friday; Sunday Brunch 11am until 2:30pm; dinner is 4:30pm until 11pm Monday through Saturday, until 10pm Sunday. Bar is open until 2pm on Friday and Saturday. Entertainment provided by a DJ playing music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and beach music on Friday and Saturday. Lunch price range is $4 to $16; lunch buffet is $9; dinner range is $9 to $36. 704-554-1114.
Other News* Mark Spoon, son of Bill Spoon of Bill Spoon's Barbecue, was walking outside the restaurant December 10 after closing to make sure everything was locked up when a man held a gun to his head and demanded money. Spoon knocked the gun away, but the gun fired and a bullet entered his upper arm. The bullet didn't stop Spoon from taking out his own gun and shooting the perpetuator, who subsequently escaped. Spoon is doing fine. Bill Spoon said "Nothing like this has ever happened in our 38 years of business."
* "Bringing the good taste of Charlotte to you" is the theme for the biennial Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend which will be held from Thursday, April 18 through Saturday, April 20, 2002. One of the most fun events is the city-wide Vintner Dinners held in area restaurants and country clubs on that Thursday evening. Winery owners and winemakers pair their wines to a specifically developed menu. Menus are listed on the Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend website: www.charlottewineandfood.com. Several dinners have already sold out: Landmark Wineries at Barrington's Restaurant; Silver Oak at Quail Hollow Country Club; Pride Mountain Vineyards & Winery at Sonoma Bistro; and Beringer Wine Estates at Zebra Restaurant. Don't delay in making your reservations as soon as possible if you wish to attend. Dinners still available are: Peter Lehmann Wineries at Bank of America ($120); Rabbit Ridge at Bijoux ($95 per person); Duckhorn Vineyards at Bistro 100 ($95); European Cellars with Eric Solomon at Bonterra Dining and Wine Room ($95); Beaulieu Vineyards at Carmel Country Club ($120); Toad Hollow Vineyards at Ethan's of Elizabeth ($95); Lewis Cellars at Mcintosh's Steaks and Seafood ($120); Arrowood Vineyards & Winery at Mimosa Grill ($95); Swanson at Noble's ($120); Saintsbury Vineyards & Winery at Pewter Rose ($95); Jordan Vineyard & Winery at Primo ($95); and Robert Mondavi at Palm ($120). Also on the website is additional information about the wine tasting events, cooking classes, gala and auction. Reservations may be made at their website or by calling: 704-338-WINE.