Opening a restaurant is hard work. Doing it during a pandemic, labor shortage and with supply-chain issues may take as much in bravery as it does in skills around the kitchen.
But in 2021, several new eateries gained their start.
Here are the restaurants that made 2021 Year 1:
The Everyday Market
This spot took the place of the old Caravan Coffee at 7 S. Main St. in Belmont.
While The Everyday Market serves fancy coffees and baked goods, it also has sandwiches and bagels and other treats in an expanded space. They also serve beer and wine.
Majid Amoorpour opened the place, taking over from Vince Hill, and has tried to make it his own.
“I can make good food without being fancy… I just translate it to something everybody can afford,” Amoorpour said a short time after opening. “I want to be a neighborhood joint. People we’ll be able to come in and hang out.”
TAXCO Mexican Grill
TAXCO Mexican Grill opened April 1, 2021, at the former location of Hillbilly's BBQ and Steaks on East Garrison Boulevard.
But it wasn't an April Fool's joke.
A blend of Tex-Mex flavors and traditional Mexican cuisine, TAXCO offers an assortment of seafood, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas on the menu with kickers like fresh tamales, salsa and guacamole.
"We had been talking about coming to Gastonia for years and we'd looked for a place and things just kind of came together," said co-owner Sabrina Chavez.
TAXCO began in Atlanta more than a dozen years and the company has another restaurant in Belmont.
R.A.M.S. Kitchen stands for Really Amazing Meals with Soul, a name that's hard to beat.
The restaurant began as a way to provide healthy, affordable meals in the Highland Community, which is considered a food desert. The restaurant operates out of a church.
"Homeless shelters teach you to use underutilized resources like churches to serve the community," said owner Donyel Barber. "I thought, 'Why not use a church commercial kitchen like the one at Third Street Presbyterian for a central kitchen and serve food to the community?'"
R.A.M.S. Kitchen got its start in March 2021, according to county health records.
Hot Plate Soul Eatery
Step inside downtown's new eatery and the sweet smell of candied yams and salty-seasoned, southern-fried chicken fills the air, which the owners say they hope will remind diners of their own grandmother's or auntie's favorite dishes.
Even the menu items at the Hot Plate Soul Eatery try to send a message about the cuisine offered at 141 W. Main Ave. in downtown Gastonia.
"We wanted to stand out with our titles like our Baby Momma Sweet Potato Chicken and Waffles or our Shakeerah's Cussin Jerked Chicken," said owner Terrence Burns. "I want people to remember us by our menu. We like to leave a lasting impression."
The restaurant opened in April 2021 at 141 W. Main Ave.
The farm-to-table restaurant moved from northwest Charlotte to Glenway Street in downtown Belmont in November.
"We wanted to relocate the restaurant where it could be better suited to show that you don't have to go all the way to Charlotte to enjoy fine dining, and we are still growing," owner Patrick Murphy said.
The restaurant buys its products from local farmers and creates a "global cuisine."
Pizza + Buffet
Joe and Carie Scarborough opened Pizza+ Buffet in early December at the site of the former Cici's Pizza that closed in 2020 due to hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When we moved here, we discovered that people like to keep traditions and we aspire to be a family-owned business that will cater to that," said Carie Scarborough, who moved to Mount Holly from Ohio in 2017.
Pizza+Buffet will also include different kinds of pasta, soups and desserts and bi-weekly pizza specials.
"We will serve traditional pizzas and three unique types that we want to surprise our customers with that will be called the 'Gaston Meateater,' the 'All the Way' and the 'Buffalo Yardbird,'" Carie Scarborough said.
The Scarboroughs also opened Joe and Caries Creamery at the former Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop at 3908 E. Franklin Blvd.
We did not include fast food places, such as the new Chick-fil-A in Belmont and new Taco Bell in Cherryville.
But if we missed a new restaurant, please contact us at Kellis@GastonGazette.com.
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823 or email him at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: 6 new restaurants opened in Gaston County in 2021, here's what to try