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A Restaurant in a Converted Church? Heavenly

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Bill Head Shot
Photo by Gerin Choiniere

It may have been a while, but chances are you remember the first time you tried to order a real glass of wine. The waiter might have been intimidating, the menu intimidating, and let’s not even begin to think about pronunciation. You probably stumbled a bit, but it was worth it when the wine arrived, liquid sunshine in a glass.

Well, forget about that intimidation. Bonterra Dining & Wine Room in Charlotte has 200 wines by the glass, but they definitely don’t have the attitude that could go along with it. Guidance was served with a smile, and the results were delicious, leading me to try different varietal blends.

Located in the heart of the historic Southend District, Bonterra is housed in a renovated 110-year-old church. Chef Bill Schutz (pictured above) has worked in numerous New York kitchens, including Tribeca Grill, but since settling in at Bonterra, he’s been tailoring the menu to take full advantage of the seasonal bounty of the South. One surprising newcomer on the menu is the bison rib eye, now one of his best sellers.

There are many standout main dish options on the menu, but whatever you do, do not skip the calamari as a starter. Tender, lightly dusted and fried with okra (!), it’s served with a chile-lime dressing that will make you wish you had a double order. Ask your server what wine pairs best (remember, no intimidation, just education), and you’ll be enjoying some of the best Charlotte has to offer.