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Venue Review: Savor

Savor lets you do just that
By "Helen Schwab, Restaurant Writer"
The Charlotte Observer

1404 W. Morehead St.

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The word seeped out about Savor gradually. Fans felt a little possessive about this cozy lunch place, and wanted newcomers to love it, too. It has bloomed into a dinner destination as well now, complete with beer and wine, but there's still that whiff of surprise about it: A place with bright colors and a progressive menu in a funky renovated setting - on West Morehead? Across from the Open Kitchen? With a view of downtown?


Lisa Burris and Lori Pearson own Savor and ran catering businesses in Charlotte before going in together on this. As it happens, Pearson's husband, Shane, was one of Burris' teachers at Johnson & Wales in Charleston.

They opened Savor in mid-June serving lunch only, and got busy quickly, says Burris: "We just opened the door and people came." Dinner has been slower, but their aim is the same for that meal, as they say on their Facebook page: to offer ingredients (local when possible) prepared "with integrity, flavor and soul."

We felt that Southern-tinged depth in a hefty, moist piece of salmon over asparagus with a bit of char, plus green beans, brussels sprouts and carrots. We saw it in a daily special of crabcakes - fat, crusty, crab-centric, and the best I've had in a while. These came over "succotash": a term here stretched to include bits of potato and asparagus, but resulting in a rich, not kitchen-sink-ish, dish.

A plethora of other dishes show commitment to simple flavors, too: an interestingly smooth pimento cheese dip, hummus with warm pita pieces, a reductive salad with punchy vinaigrette, and perhaps my favorite: plump Carolina shrimp and andouille sausage-dotted gravy over substantial (but not too rich) yellow grits.

Area seafood reliably appears on the weekend specials list, as well. Savor considers the shrimp and grits a signature, along with a pan-fried, panko-crusted chicken breast at dinner, plus the salmon BLT and grilled meatloaf at lunch.

Desserts are Pearson's domain, with Bettie Lou's Coca-Cola Cake a stalwart in the lineup (rich, moist and comfortingly old-fashioned) and the enormous bread pudding, sans raisins, is worth a look. You can get cookies and bars to go, as well.

Walls of rough brick help Mandy Johnson's food art - done in vibrant lime and teal and red and orange, and helpfully labeled! - leap out cheerfully. Servers boast an equally warm, if not quite so bold, approach, chatting knowledgeably about each dish, making recommendations and steering capably.

The pace is a mite leisurely at dinner, appropriately for the place's name. So lean back a little in your gray chair, take in the view and do as you're told.

Reviews & Comments
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Feb. 25, 2010 - The Charlotte Observer - Helen Schwab, Restaurant Writer

On West Morehead Street, a cozy lunch place has bloomed into a dinner spot with funky ambience and flavorful menu.

(Full review)
Feb 27, 2010 - lv_wrk_ply_clt
Surprised Me!

I had lunch here and was amazed that the salad was made with FRESH ingredients..way to go! Chicken and Dumplings were even better with just the right amount of flavor. I will be back and will be telling all my foodie friends!!

Feb 26, 2010 - bs8177
Savor is a fantastic restaurant!!

This is a jewel of a restaurant for the west side of town. I go to this restaurant at least once a week for dinner. Its a cozy little spot to have some delicious food for a fair price. It has fabulous wait staff and awesome chefs. The owners are super friendly. The peanut butter pie is sooooo good!! The salads are amazing! The bleu cheese dip and pimmento cheese dip with home made chips are out of this world! They make everything that they serve, so everything is super fresh. There is a gorgeous view of uptown from the entire restaurant. I would suggest this restaurant to anyone, period.

Feb 26, 2010 - twsjr2

I have eaten at this restaurant several times and love the salads, the peanut butter pie is to die for and make sure you try the blue cheese dip as an app. I LOVE THIS PLACE!! The view of the city is great from their location as well!!
Tony, Charlotte NC

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