Stop by Fine & Fettle in the morning and you’ll discover a cozy coffee shop with pastries and an espresso bar. Return in the evening and you’ll discover something different — an intimate, unpretentious yet sophisticated, farm-to-table restaurant.
At the helm of this transitional operation is Executive Chef Daniel Wheeler, formerly of Dot Dot Dot. Wheeler, who has lived in North Carolina for much of his life, carries with him a genuine appreciation for the city, particularly the community he has found in the hospitality venture.
It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that Wheeler’s new venture hinges on the ecosystem of local people, ingredients, and enterprises that thrive in Charlotte and the Piedmont more generally. Wheeler tends these connections carefully, whether they’re among members of his kitchen staff or between himself and the farmers who stock his pantry.
“Community — that is the bottom line,” says Wheeler. “I love building relationships with the farmers and artisans we use here. Being able to hear their stories and see their passion sparks my own passion.”
Ebb and Flow Ingredients
The Fine & Fettle menu harnesses the flavors of seasonal ingredients from local farms to procure an ever-changing selection of dishes. “As long as a particular ingredient can be sourced locally we will have it on the menu. Once its season is over, so is the ingredient,” explains Wheeler, who self-describes as “an ebb and flow type of chef.”
All dinner dishes are either shareable plates or family-style platters best described as new American cuisine. Standout shareables include the burrata (topped with roasted beets, pickled beets, hazelnut, and charred citrus) and the wings (glazed with bourbon teriyaki and topped with benne, scallion, and smoked buttermilk vinaigrette). Be sure to save room for the garganelli family-style dish, served with butternut squash mornay, mushrooms, blistered tomato, carrot top pesto, and crunchy walnuts. Or try the cassoulet, featuring guinea hen, mushrooms, sausage, and green tomato verjus.
Fine & Fettle’s kitchen staff and mixologists meet daily. They use these meetings to maximize collaboration and ensure memorable guest experiences, from the first forkful to the last swig.
The Challenges of 2020
Of course, opening Fine & Fettle in 2020 has been no small feat for the team.
“Attempting to open a restaurant in any facet is a difficult thing. But doing so during a pandemic has been a test of our drive and determination,” confesses Wheeler.
But they’ve brought us plenty to look forward to nonetheless. Chef table dinners with menus tailored to each guest’s taste buds, private dinners in on-site board rooms, and many, many more seasonal menus inspired by the people and tastes of the Carolinas are ahead.
Daniel Wheeler worked in tandem with Canopy, a concept by Hilton Hotels, to bring Fine & Fettle into existence. Catering to millennials’ thirst for local flare, Canopy seeks to bridge the gap between a reliable, consistent hotel experience and the location-centric experiences that set one excursion apart from another. Currently, Canopy only has outposts in a few flagship cities. You can find their Charlotte location and the Fine & Fettle restaurant in SouthPark.