Friday, April 20, 2018

An Armenian restaurant near Charlotte, NC? Yes, indeed! Welcome to the Ararat 17 Restaurant, Indian Trail, NC

It’s hard to find an Armenian restaurant – unless you’re in Armenia.

We never expected we’d find one across the state line from our new house, but we did – the Ararat 17. I know where they got the name Ararat, but haven’t a clue what the ‘17’ refers to. Maybe we’ll find out some day.
Update: I recently learned that the '17' refers to the year the restaurant opened, 2017 - now I understand!

Our area exploration brought us to the Ararat 17 on a Saturday afternoon for lunch. They serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday, but only serve lunch on the weekends. (Closed Mondays)

The restaurant is tastefully decorated; the music of Mozart gently plays in the background. A well-stocked bar fills one section of the room, and the menu is surprisingly sophisticated. 

Although the menu is not ALL Armenian (there are hints of Russian cuisine, too), they do serve a number of traditional Armenian dishes.

Artak, our server, is the son of owners Vardan and Gayenne Vardanyan. Artak is well-trained, personable, and frankly, adorable! His mom and dad work diligently to prepare delicious food for their guests.
L-R; Gayenne Vardanyan, me, and Vardan Vardanyan (Sorry, I didn't get a picture of Artak.)

Before placing our order, Doug wandered over to the bar to see if they stocked any Armenian spirits. To their credit, they do! Doug spotted Ararat beer from Gyumri, and Armenian Pomegranate wine. Artak offered Doug a sample of the wine, but I took it instead. Doug was very happy with the beer.
Ararat Beer

We wanted to try just about everything on the menu, but chose specific ones which we felt represented the Armenian-side of their offerings.
Pomegranate Wine

A complimentary basket of toasted pita bread and a bowl of dried herbs were brought to the table before we ordered. Artak explained that we were to drizzle olive oil - that was already on the table – onto the herbs, then dip the bread.
Ararat Salad
Tender Stuffed Grape Leaves
Our meal began with the Ararat salad, slices of basturma, and tender, tasty stuffed grape leaves which we shared. We each chose a sandwich and side: lamb lule kebab with hummus, and lamb shish kebab with hummus.

What we didn’t know was that the Greek-style pita for each sandwich was spread with hummus (the same as the side we chose), and topped with a generous amount of Ararat salad! It wasn’t a problem; we took the rest of the appetizer salad home.

When I noticed gatah on the menu, I decided to save room for it for dessert. Doug and I ordered Armenian coffee and a gatah to share, but, alas, no gatah! We ordered the paklava instead, and are happy to report that it was light, crisp, and delicious.

Would we return? In a heartbeat!

1 comment:

  1. Vanessa J (kazarian) RinaldoApril 20, 2018 at 7:09 PM

    i'm soooo gonna go!!!!! only 1 1/2 hrs from us!!!