Smalls Food & Spirits Preview

When I received an email from my PR friend about a new restaurant opening in town called Smalls, I was interested…especially when I read this snippet:

Owner Joseph DiLeo says, “Food lovers will appreciate that we ground our beef, bake our bread and make our pasta in-house. Combine that with extraordinary hospitality and creative handcrafted cuisine and we’re optimistic Smalls will become a destination restaurant, lounge and bar. We designed Smalls as a family friendly restaurant with a relaxed setting through the day that will gain energy into the night, especially with our late night hours Wednesday through Saturday.”

Um…yes, please! And before I could start making plans to visit, I got invited to a special Friends & Family preview event. Score! I happily RSVP’ed and decided this would be a great restaurant to visit as my one cheat meal for Eat in Month.


{Inside Smalls}

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My friend Sarah and I went to the event after Zumba. We arrived a little late, but luckily, there was a table for us.


{Our view}


I loved the menu. It was simple, but had a nice selection with mouth-watering descriptions.


As part of the event, Sarah and I each got a free drink coupon (good for a beer or wine of choice) and one free entree. We decided it was a beer night. I got the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper, which is a locally brewed beer.


We decided to share an appetizer of crab cake sliders.


The crab cakes were absolutely wonderful. They didn’t have a fishy flavor like some can. The outside was nice and crispy and the inside was tender and well-seasoned. I loved the little microgreens on top, and the jalapeno cheddar biscuit was one of the best parts of a restaurant like this – from-scratch touches.

Our order turned into a happy-accident from there. We ordered the Beef Short Rib and Chicken & Waffles, but they were out of the short rib. So, instead, we ordered the Pimento Cheese Sliders and some onion rings.


The onion rings were nice and crispy.


They were served with a sauce that reminded me of buffalo wing sauce.


And since our original order had to get replaced, the waitress / restaurant sent out some goodies for us to try on the house – the mashed potatoes, which were nice and cheesey…


…and thought we couldn’t get the Beef Short Rib entree, they had some sliders left!




The chicken and waffles were a little difficult to share since they were bone-in, not to mention Sarah and I were feeling pretty stuffed by the time we got to it, so we didn’t eat as much of this one. The fact that I’m a lazy eater and prefer boneless chicken probably contributed to this. 😆 But the flavors of this dish were really fun and delicious.


Saving the best for last – the Pimento Cheese Sliders were one of my favorite eats of the night. I love how they grind their own beef here, and I think you could taste the difference in the sliders. I wish the pimento cheese flavor would have been a little stronger, but the beef was top-notch.

All of the food was really tasty. I just want to come back so I can try their house-made desserts. I bet those will be really special, and I’m a sucker for handmade desserts.

Foodies like me will appreciate the attention to detail, small touches, simple but interesting menu, friendly staff, and the fact that they make so many things from scratch. Thank you Smalls!

Reader question: What’s the most important thing to you when you’re choosing a restaurant? Organic ingredients? Supporting local farmers? Having your favorite entree? Location?

6 thoughts on “Smalls Food & Spirits Preview”

  1. When I get to choose a restaurant, I always try to check if they have any decent vegetarian options. Dining out can be a challenge if you are not an omnivore. Many restaurants in my area have very few meat-free entrees on their menus, and even though I love a good salad, some measly greens and a slice of bread is not what I’d call a satisfying dinner.
    That’s why I love my favorite local Indian restaurant. It offers more than a dozen vegetarian appetizers or entrees! I still have to try them all, but so far their palak paneer is outstanding!

  2. The food looks delicious!
    I tend to go with (a) location (London is a big city & we meet up from all directions) and (b) what kind of cuisine; & then I look more into the options such as those you suggested – can we find an organic one, what does the setting look like (I like it to be cozy and well thought out and no bright lights etc)
    I agree with Sue in the comment above that it’s harder to find good veggie options, so if I’m eating out I tend to save my meat/fish eating night for then (I am an omnivore, but meat just isn’t a huge part of my diet and if I do eat it I want it to be perfect, you know?)

  3. I think the restaurant being organic and local is great. I also really love it when the customer service is on point. My husband is super picky about customer service.

    Everything looks delicious from your pictures btw!

  4. Wow, all of that food looks scrumptious! Seems like a great restaurant!

    I really like when a restaurant has a lot of choice on the menu — it makes it much easier when dining out with a group if a restaurant has enough choice to (hopefully) please everyone!

  5. If I’m traveling, I look for the highest rating and a lot of reviews on Yelp. Then I will read a few and look at photos. My favorite words to search when traveling, coffee, thrift stores and bloody mary. You mean, you actually eat? (ha) Sometimes, I am totally visual too, I see a restaurant and I am like…. I want to eat there!!!

    Around town, I look for real food/local food, booze specials & spicy, hot, burn the baby ethnic food.

  6. I have to admit I totally don’t “get” chicken and waffles; I’m from California, so it’s not something you can easily find here. I’m not opposed, it’s just a baffling combination. That place looks really great, though! And I love how the mashed potatoes are served.


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