An Ohio restaurant group makes NC debut with new Italian restaurant near SouthPark mall

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A new Italian restaurant group is making its North Carolina debut near SouthPark mall.

Leo’s Italian Social opens its third upscale restaurant Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 4720 Piedmont Row Drive in Piedmont Town Center, owned by Principal Real Estate Investors and leased and managed by Lincoln Harris. Leo’s has two other locations in Ohio with plans to open two more this summer in North Carolina, in Asheville and Morrisville.

Owner Chef Art Pour, founded by Bret Adams and based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, also has several other restaurants, including Burntwood Tavern in Ohio and Florida.

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But Adams and regional director of operations Greg Roach have ties to Charlotte. They ran the former Brio restaurant at Leo’s new spot for 16 years, Roach said. Adams started a restaurant concept Burntwood Tavern 12 years ago, followed by Leo’s in 2019 with a plan to enter more markets, Roach said.

In Charlotte, the bar is the centerpiece of Leo’s with seating for 30 people, compared to Brio’s 10 seats.

“The bar was never big enough,” Roach said. “We definitely wanted to give people in SouthPark a really nice place to experience social hour and enjoy our restaurant family atmosphere.”

Leo’s at SouthPark has about 70 full- and part-time employees.

On the menu at Leo’s

The approximately 8,000-square-foot Charlotte Leo’s restaurant’s menu includes appetizers such as short rib raviolis, beef carpaccio and calamari.

The main menu includes classic pasta dishes, entrees like lasagna and classics eggplant and chicken parmesan, and wood-fired pizzas, along with steak and seafood.

“We pride ourselves on having our chefs make everything in house,” Roach said.

The list of Italian desserts features tiramisu, cannolis and gelato.

Saturday and Sunday brunch offers seven menu items, including ricotta pancakes and bellinis.

Plus, there are lunch combos served until 3 p.m. allows mixing soup or salad like wedding soup and half pastas, pizza or a sandwich.

Also featured at Leo’s

The restaurant, which aims to serve as a neighborhood gathering spot, will have live music, typically on Thursday nights with martini specials.

The Coconut Groove Band is scheduled to play Aug. 17.

Social Hour deals include $3 off appetizers and pizzas from 3 to 6 p.m daily. Leo’s patio has 16 tables plus other seating.