Foxcroft Wine Co. Burger (ground hanger steak, grilled onion, pea shoots, tomato, truffle aioli, cheddar or blue cheese). Photos by Will Crooks / Greenville Journal

If the painting of Elvis prominently displayed in the new Foxcroft Wine Co. on South Main Street doesn’t immediately make it obvious, the wine bar and restaurant from Charlotte, North Carolina, that opened Sept. 22 isn’t just for the intense oenophile.

“We’re serious about wine but don’t think wine should be serious,” says owner Conrad Hunter.

Located at 631 S. Main St., the former Brazwells Premium Pub location has been restored to the original bones — hundred-year-old hardwoods, exposed brick and all.

Multi-level shelves stacked four bottles deep create walls dividing the space into four areas – retail, semi-private wine room, main dining, and a smaller back section. A hallway lined with only red varieties leads from the front retail area to the bar, where mostly wine but a few local beers are on tap. The covered side patio that can accommodate about 40 guests overlooks Falls Park on the Reedy.

The environment inside is warm and inviting, with seating for 92, but what makes this wine experience slightly more user-friendly for the average diner are a few, intentionally planned aspects:

Retail wine prices

Any of the hundreds of bottles on the shelves, or in the cooler, can be purchased at retail cost and enjoyed at the table – that means none of the usual restaurant markups that can nearly double the cost of the same bottle from, say, Total Wine. That higher-than-retail cost is one of the reasons many diners shy away from ordering a bottle when they’re out to eat, but there’s no need for hesitation here. Be aware, for bottles less than $30, there’s a corkage fee.

Wine on tap

If you’re indecisive and want to try a few different wines that haven’t been sitting open at room temp, post up at the bar and try a couple or three half or full glasses of wines on tap. The temperature-controlled preservation system that uses nitrogen keeps each bottle at the perfect drinking temp and fresh as if second and third pours were the first. Try reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling varieties from many regions.

No regular pairings

Pairing wine with a meal can be stressful. Or, if you order based on a suggestion, it can feel like taking a gamble on a wine you’re unsure about. Here, Foxcroft deliberately doesn’t suggest pairings with the regular menu, so that diners will drink what they like, regardless of what the experts may say. And not to worry, Foxcroft regularly holds wine dinners and tastings, if you’re looking for that traditional experience.

Real food for everyone

While the charcuterie board of imported cured meats and cheeses is a perfect wine accompaniment, there are plenty of other options whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, or omnivore. Chef Justin Solomon, who heads up the Greenville kitchen, says he keeps the ingredients as local as possible. All of the butchery and baking is done in house. The burger features house-ground beef between a house-baked Amish potato roll. The eight-count order of fresh doughnut holes, which put Foxcroft on the map in Charlotte, is a must-order. Sharing is optional. Several dishes have a vegan option but are not listed on the menu. The Asian-inspired Brussels sprouts are already vegan, but flat breads or truffle fries can be adjusted upon request. Or, Solomon says the kitchen will gladly create something on the fly. In short, while the menu is the same at all three Foxcroft locations, the kitchen is under the direction of an actual chef perfectly capable of deviating from the plan in order to create the best possible experience for his guests.

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