Where a Master Sommelier Eats and Drinks in Charlotte, North Carolina

| Chelsea Morse | Food & Wine | Full Article

Master sommelier Laura Maniec has fallen in love with Charlotte, North Carolina, where the new outpost of her incredible New York City wine bar, Corkbuzz, will open in June. Amid the madness of getting the new restaurant up and running (including setting up classes and events and creating a retail space), she shared her favorite spots to eat and drink in her new favorite city.
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For a cozy dinner: One of my favorites is Good Food on Montford. It’s quaint and has a nice ambiance, but the food is the reason I go back time and time again. I love the steamed bun with pork belly and the garganelli pasta with house-made sausage. And I can’t forget about the mussels and fried oysters. They also have a great wine-by-the-glass list—a perfect mix of wines that are unique and interesting and some that are recognizable and well-known. goodfoodonmontford.com

For killer brunch: Heritage is amazing, especially for Sunday brunch. I’ve had an awesome duck potpie there, and I also really love their Hangover Helper: brioche with fried green tomato, bacon, pimento cheese, pulled pork, egg and onion rings. The fried chicken with scrambled eggs, grits and biscuits is phenomenal, too. When I go there for brunch, I like to drink Champagne—it’s really reasonable priced. heritagefoodanddrink.com

For crave-worthy ramen: If I’m craving traditional Japanese food, I always head to Musashi. I love to round up a group of my friends and order a bunch of appetizers like agedashi tofu and the Japanese-style potato croquettes. They’ve also got an amazing tonkotsu ramen that I’m obsessed with. musashi-nc.com

For picnic prep and cocktail essentials: Earl’s Grocery is a really great informal eatery and gourmet grocery store. They have delicious prepared foods, all sorts of condiments and great bitters and syrups for making your own cocktails. I love to pick up cheese and wine there for at-home cooking and entertaining. earlsgrocery.com

For stocking up on wine: Every time I’m in Charlotte I stop at the Wine Shop at Foxcroft because they have some of the best premium wine selections. What’s neat about this place is that you can either take the wine to go or you can drink it on premise. They’ve got some of the best German and Austrian wines. And I really love their lamb sliders. thewineshopatfoxcroft.com

For a craft cocktail: I like to sit at the bar and have a cocktail at Kindred. It’s got a great, welcoming atmosphere, and I think it’s so neat that the building was originally a pharmacy. When you’re drinking you’re bound to get hungry, and when that happens you must order the Chicago-style hot dog. kindreddavidson.com

CEO: SunTrust plans to continue growth in Charlotte

| Rick Rothacker | Charlotte Observer | Full Article

Fresh off the opening of a new regional headquarters building in SouthPark, Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks plans to continue its growth in Charlotte, CEO Bill Rogers said in an interview Tuesday.

“We want to continue to invest in this market,” Rogers said during a Charlotte visit that included meetings with employees, customers and community leaders.

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The bank now has about 500 employees in the Charlotte area, and Rogers expects that number to increase over time. About 200 of those employees, in businesses ranging from wealth management to bond trading, work in the new five-story headquarters building off Sharon Road.

“It’s a great symbol,” said Rogers, 57, who joined a SunTrust predecessor in 1980 and became CEO in 2011. “It’s the first post-crisis, large investment made in SouthPark, and we really love being part of that.”

SunTrust first entered North Carolina in 2004 when it acquired Memphis, Tenn.-based National Commerce Financial, parent of Central Carolina Bank. That deal came after the bank was unsuccessful in breaking up Charlotte-based First Union’s 2001 bid to buy Winston-Salem-based Wachovia.

“I don’t spend a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror,” Rogers said of the thwarted Wachovia deal. “I want to keep my eyes focused on the windshield and the opportunities that sit in front of us.”

Later, the combined Wachovia nearly failed during the financial crisis before being bought in 2008 by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo.

“Wachovia was a great competitor,” said Rogers, who grew up in Durham and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill. “And Wells Fargo is a great competitor. And SunTrust is an incredibly good competitor.”

SunTrust, the 13th-biggest U.S. bank by assets, has long been considered a possible acquisition target for a rival interested in entering the Southeast, but Rogers said the bank is focused on building its client base and improving shareholder value.

“Our goal is to control our destiny and make our company great,” he said.

As far as making acquisitions of its own, Rogers said the best investments the company can make are in SunTrust. For example, it’s adding premier bankers for select clients and expanding its corporate banking service nationally.

“Those are the equivalent of small acquisitions,” he said.

SunTrust remains a relatively small player in the Charlotte area, especially compared to Charlotte-based Bank of America and Wells Fargo. As of June 30, the Atlanta-based bank was the sixth-biggest by deposits, with 0.69 percent market share and 38 branches, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

“What we want to do is grow,” Rogers said. “We don’t sit back and say, ‘Gosh, we want to have this amount of deposit share or loan share.’ We say, ‘Here’s the opportunity for the things we do, and how do we make sure we’re growing those businesses?”

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/banking/article10554365.html#.VOtvnktripd#storylink=cpy