A New Spin on Barbecue in Charlotte | Charlotte restauranteur adds another great concept to the city's restaurant scene
Not many of us can claim being “born and raised” in Charlotte. During my four years in Charlotte I can probably count on one hand the number of people I’ve met that can and those my friends are “the unicorns”. At least that’s what I call them. Just this past week I had the opportunity to sit down with Will Bigham, one of those unicorns but Will has oh so much more to claim beyond being born and raised here in Charlotte. Will is one of the city’s more prominent restauranteurs with a number of successful restaurant concepts under his belt. Beyond growing up in Charlotte, Will has grown up in the restaurant industry. It is these deep roots that have led to the passion that anyone who meets Will can see when talking about his restaurants, menu, customers and staff.
So now that you have a little bit of a background on Will, how about giving you an idea of where you can experience the result of that passion I mentioned.
Will Bigham is the man behind The Pizza Peel & Tap Room restaurants in both Cotswold and Plaza Midwood neighborhoods as well as the Flying Biscuit Cafes here in Charlotte located at the Park Road Shopping Center on Park Road as well as StoneCrest at Piper Glen off of Rea Rd. Meeting with Will helped me to understand the level of determination he has when it comes to seizing opportunities. As an example, one of Will’s very own concepts, The Pizza Peel & Tap Room, stemmed from a series of events that took Will and his staff from knowing little to nothing about pizza to now operating two locations for one of Charlotte’s greatest pizza restaurant concepts. I speak from experience on this of course; I mean who could pass up a pizza lunch buffet in the heart of Plaza Midwood!
Will and his team’s latest restaurant concept is one that I am very excited about. It’s called The Improper Pig and it’s also located in Cotswold (110 S. Sharon Amity Rd). I was thrown off a bit by the name at first but the story behind this place brings everything together.
The location for the Improper Pig was previously a franchise concept (also owned by Will Bigham) called Mama Fus, a fast casual Asian restaurant. When the Mama Fus concept ran its course Will decided he wanted to try something new, yet traditional, yet totally different. From that, came The Improper Pig, what can almost be described as a traditional southern barbecue Asian fusion. That’s right, this is the only barbecue restaurant you’ll find with a wok in the kitchen! Did I lose you? Okay, maybe an example will help. How about the Wow Bao Taco? – pulled pork, chicken or chopped brisket (or smoked tofu) tossed in a spicy hoisin sauce (always house made) in a steamed bao bun with Asian slaw. This is just one of the out-of-the-box creations that make the barbecue options here a bit improper if you will. Take a peek at some of the other items on the menu at The Improper Pig here. When I met with Will he also hinted to the possibility of some “blue plate specials” coming soon. Stay tuned.
Given Will Bigham and his family’s experience in the restaurant industry here in Charlotte, I was interested in what recent trends Will has witnessed. However, in typical Will Bigham fashion, he responded that he doesn’t keep track of trends but rather focuses on what he knows works – “creating a great place for people to work and giving the team an opportunity to love their job and have fun doing what they do. That’s what leads to positive customer experiences” he says. I couldn’t agree more and it is this I’m sure that has led to the success of Will’s restaurants here in Charlotte.
I look forward to continuing to follow Will and his restaurants as they evolve and grow. I highly suggest you doing the same. Oh, and as a little extra, The Improper Pig is holding their Grand Opening Event on Friday, December 19th from 11am – 11pm with 10% of sales going to Crisis Assistance Ministry. As if you didn’t already have plenty of reasons to visit The Improper Pig. Be sure to stop in on December 19th to support this great organization.