The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Harper’s at Carolina Place

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on August 23, 2009

Last night, when trying to decide what to do for dinner, I knew I wanted to go out! This week, the Husband had some dental work done that decreased our meal options to “soft foods” – mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and mac n cheese.  I was hopeful we could find some place to go, that would be casual and would offer some options for the Husband’s healing mouth.

Before choosing a place to eat, we decided to do some shopping at Carolina Place Mall, not too far from our house.  We considered eating at the food court but there was nothing jumping out at either of us.  So, I suggested we check out Harper’s, a restaurant attached to the mall that we had visited during Charlotte’s Restaurant Week earlier in the year.  We reviewed the menu outside and decided this was it!

Harper’s at Carolina Place is part of the Harper’s Restaurant Group, a group that owns a variety of restaurants ranging from casual to modern to elegant with a wide variety of cuisines.  Other restaurants in this group that we’ve enjoyed (and hope to review in the future!) are Zink, Harper’s (which you’re seeing now 🙂 and has a few locations), and Arpa (which unfortunately closed).  There’s also Upstream and M5, both places I’m hoping to get to some time in the next few months.

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When we arrived, we debated about sitting in the bar area (lots of tables with views of the football games on the multiple televisions), outside in the large outdoor patio, or in the restaurant area in a cute booth.  We went with the restaurant section!

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As soon as we sat down, I decided I was going to order a glass of wine with dinner.  I briefly looked over the expansive wine list (for a casual restaurant such as this), but my eye was caught by a table stand that noted two wines from Echelon Vineyards (which our server advised is in California).  The description of the Chardonnay sounded perfect – exactly what I was looking for.

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When the server advised that they were having drink specials – 1/2 priced glasses of wine and $3.50 Sam Adams Summer – I was quite excited!  The Husband ordered the Sam Summer and I was impressed to see that they have the Sam Adams signature glasses.  I found my glass to be fruity, light, and refreshing.  It was a great choice!

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We weren’t overly hungry so we skipped ordering an appetizer and went straight for our entrees.  I debated for a while about what to have and decided to go with the Roasted Salmon Wrap.  It included salmon, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and a lime salsa.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it in a whole wheat tortilla.  I was very happy with my choice! It was satisfying and filling and tasted very fresh.  The ingredients went well with each other.

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The Husband ordered the Harper’s Steak Salad.  It included flank steak, romaine lettuce, charred tomatoes, blue cheese, and creamy garlic beer battered onion rings.  He shared one of the onion rings with me and they were AMAZING! I usually like onion rings but take them for what they are – deep fried, greasy onions.  These were not that way at all! The batter was flavorful and not greasy and you could take a bite without the onion falling out of the batter.  I highly recommend these!

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On the side, we each ordered, a Skillet Side of Pimento Mac N Cheese.  So good!  It was a large side (one that could easily be shared, as they note on the menu) so I was happy to be able to take half home for lunch today (along with half of my wrap).  They were both still very good after sitting in the fridge over night 🙂

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Ambiance: The Husband was concerned at first that we would be under dressed as he had been to the Southpark location previously and felt that everyone there was dressed nicely.  I pointed out that that’s just the norm for most of Southpark and believed that we would be fine in shorts and jeans.  And we were!  The booths are nice and cosy and there’s space for larger groups.  You can make your experience as casual or upscale as you’d like depending upon how you dress and approach your meal.

Menu: There was a wide variety of options in the traditional American style.  I highly recommend the Pimento Mac N Cheese and the onion rings, if you’re a fan of either.  They have a good dessert menu, as well, so try to save room! (We didn’t 😦 )

Something you won’t find on most menus: Pimento Mac N Cheese.  It’s definitely something I’ve started to notice a little bit more since we’re in the south, but it certainly isn’t commonplace.

Service: Our server Jim was wonderful! Very friendly and sociable and was right on top of the Husband’s empty water glasses.  (If I haven’t mentioned it a lot, the Husband goes through numerous water glasses a night! He just loves his water!).  There were some gnats flying around the table that didn’t bother us too much.  Jim, however, was appropriately apologetic and explained about how they likely got in with the door opening frequently for the patio service.  Not a problem for us though!

Food: The Husband noted that the food was beyond his expectations, and he had high expectations.  There wasn’t a single item that either of us disliked.

Overall: This was a great meal for a good price.  We enjoyed every bit of our time spent dining and we look forward to our next visit!

Recommendation: If you’re looking for delicious American food without a steep price and you happen to be in the Pineville area (or close by), check this place out.  And save room for dessert if you can!

Harper’s – Carolina Place
11059 Carolina Place Pkwy (attached to Carolina Place Mall – near REI)
Charlotte, NC
(also a location in Southpark)
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