It’s been a tough two years for Charlotte-area restaurants. Now as pandemic restrictions have eased, two local chefs have set up shop inside The Market at 7th Street.
One of the restaurants — Mad Dash — is already famous for its chicken sandwich. The other — Mano Bella Artisan Foods— serves authentic Italian.
Why it matters: The Market is more than a food hall. It also functions as a business incubator, helping aspiring chefs and retailers prepare for what comes next.
Chef Corey Jones, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, launched Mad Dash as a ghost kitchen in the teeth of the Covid-19 pandemic. The next year, in 2021, Charlotte Five named his chicken sandwich the best in Charlotte.
Jones grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to Charlotte in 2008 to study food service management and culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University.
In addition to its chicken sandwich, Mad Dash also sells wings, tacos and loaded fries. Most items sell for $10 to $20.
Jones said he developed a love for cooking while hanging out in the kitchen with his father and grandmother back home in Alaska. He described them both as “great cooks.”
Mad Dash had a soft opening in June, and Jones said he will spend the rest of the month building out his location inside The Market. Until then, the restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Jones said he wants to grow Mad Dash into a brick-and-mortar location, and maybe even franchise someday.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said. “However far God allows me to go, that’s how far I’m going to take it.”
Mano Bella Artisan Foods
Chef Raffaele Patrizi grew up in Rome and was a chef at Mama Ricotta’s in Charlotte’s Midtown area before striking out on his own. Along with his wife Madison he launched Mano Bella, first at local farmers markets.
He described the restaurant as an “Italian bodega.”
“It’s an experience, what we offer to customers, something that is not much known here,” he told Livin’ Charlotte.
For example, he sells fresh pasta by the pound and offers a weekly pesto based on a “close collaboration with local farmers.
Patrizi said he is most proud of two family dishes — pancetta and sausage — that are based on family recipes that are more than 400 years old. His father was a butcher in a town north of Rome.