Finding the perfect place to bring an idea to life is no easy feat. In fact, one may look at, say, over 100 different locations. But when Jaffer Kovic (who indeed previewed that many spots) accidentally drove past the old Dilworth Billiards building on E. Tremont Avenue, he knew he found the one.

Kovic opened Dilworth Tasting Room in 2016.

“In the three years of operating in Charlotte, Dilworth Tasting Room has grown leaps and bounds with the multiple additions to the kitchen, increasing the food menu, adding cocktails, changing the wine program from full retail to a more dining atmosphere without losing the bar feel,” he said.

One major piece that drew Kovic to this gem was the beautiful patio garden located just outside the side door.

There’s no exclusive password or hidden entryway. Simply walk in and ask for a seat on the patio. Then cross your fingers that one is still available.

First, you’ll want to order a glass (or bottle) of wine or a craft cocktail. Daily specials include wine features on Monday, free cheese board with purchase of a wine flight on Tuesday, tacos and $8 sangria on Wednesday, and half-off select rose bottles on Thursday. So plan accordingly.

Shortly after, move on to the food menu. The kitchen, led by Chef Jonathan Shuler, churns out perfect shareable plates, like Classic Bruschetta with heirloom tomato, basil, feta, and balsamic reduction, Roasted Chickpeas seasoned with salt and pepper, and a Truffle Cheese Melt with mozzarella, brie, fontina, and gruyere white truffle oil. For a heavier option, explore the “Really Serious Stuff” section which includes Chef’s Pasta (rotating flavors) and Lamb Meatballs with marinara, feta, basil, and crostini.

The real star of the table will be the Cheese and Salumi Board you create from the variety of cheeses and meats available. Whether you go with small, medium, large, or grande, you’ll also receive salty bites scattered around to accompany the rest (think olives, nuts, fruit, spreads, and more.)

DTR Old Fashioned

Finally, enjoy every sip and bite among greenery and string lights and koi fish splashing in the pond. Doesn’t get much better than that.

On this particular visit, I started with the Le Mexique (Reposado tequila, ginger liquor, pineapple juice, lime juice, chili pepper, salt.) So very refreshing and was gone quite quickly.

Next, we shared a beautiful “medium” plate with two cheeses and two salumi. As much as I love the cheese and meat, I equally enjoy the olives, cornichons, and fruits. These little touches change seasonally.

The Roasted Cauliflower is a great option if you’re looking for something a little lighter. It’s served over romesco and topped with radish, pickled shallots, and microgreens.

Finally, we dug into the Prosciutto and Brie Flatbread topped with apricot jam, apples, goat cheese, brie, and arugula. Love the salty and sweet combos of this little pizza (and that brie is so perfectly melty.)

“Dilworth Tasting Room means a lot to us but most importantly we feel it embodies family, friendship, life, love, happiness,” said Kovic. “Being a small neighborhood bistro, I do my best to make it about the Dilworth neighborhood and Charlotte community and not any one person. DTR is not about me. It’s about the community and the people who gather at DTR for drinks, dinner, conversation or to celebrate a special occasion. A place to relax and feel safe after the stress of a long day at work or home.”

No matter what you order at Dilworth Tasting Room, if you’re with good company, you’ll be good to go.

Dilworth Tasting Room is open Monday – Thursday, 4 – 10 PM; Friday, 4 PM – midnight; Saturday, 1 PM – midnight; and Sunday, 1 – 8 PM.