Aug 31, 2022 - News

Scoop: Customshop’s new owner wants to bring Michelin Star-worthy meals to Charlotte

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Customshop has a new chef and majority owner from Miami.

In fact, chef Andres Kaifer has been manning the reins for the past four months, and you probably haven’t noticed. If we’re being honest, neither did we.

Why it matters: Customshop has become a dining institution in Elizabeth during its 15-year tenure, and it came in at No. 6 on our Best Restaurants ranking.

“I’m gonna stay true to the restaurant’s identity and its bones,” Kaifer tells Axios. “The bones are golden.”

Context: Customshop is chef Trey Wilson’s inaugural Charlotte restaurant, it opened in 2007. Its success led him to open Flour Shop in 2018. And soon, he’ll open Pizza Baby on Thrift Rd.

  • “Taking a step back allows me to focus on Flour Shop and some other ideas and dreams,” Wilson said in a statement to Axios.

Driving the news: Kaifer took over as the majority owner and chef of Customshop in June and Wilson is now a minority owner.

  • They’ve kept the announcement hush-hush because they wanted the transition to be seamless.
  • The bottom line: Customers of the Elizabeth dining institution should expect the same quality of food and service they’ve come to know and love.

The menu has changed a bit, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise because Customshop is known for its seasonal menu.

  • “It’s one of the things that attracted me to North Carolina as a chef,” Kaifer explained. “How insane the produce is here, and how easy it is to access.”
  • At its core, the restaurant will remain the same. “There are legacy dishes that are on that menu that I’m not going to change,” Kaifer assured me — like the bread pudding and burrata for example.

Zoom in: Kaifer, known for helping to open restaurants like Beaker & Gray in Miami, has been cooking for about two decades. He moved to North Carolina with his wife about four and a half years ago to work as the culinary director for Mac’s Hospitality Group (of Mac’s Speed Shop and South Bound).

  • He signed an 11-year extension on the Customshop lease, so the restaurant is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

What’s next: Aside from adding his own touches to the rotating menu, Kaifer is bringing big culinary names to Charlotte. On Sept. 14, Kaifer and Customshop will be collaborating with chef Michael Beltran — of Michelin Star award-winning restaurant Ariete in Miami.

  • It’ll be a five-course dinner hosted by the two chefs featuring dishes from both restaurants.
  • Beltran will make his signature canard a la presse dish. “It’s one of only four restaurants doing it in the country,” Kaifer said.
  • Tickets for the meal will go on sale tomorrow.
Burrata ($16) — with peach butter, fennel, pistachios, grilled bread. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Spaetzle Stroganoff ($28) — braised brisket, pearl onions, UGF mushrooms. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Ribeye Deckle ($38) — buttermilk blue cheese, candied cipollini onion.Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
The peach buttermilk ice cream is seasonal so if you want some, try it now. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

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