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Ava Pizzeria Announces Grand Opening at Optimist Hall

Tampa-based concept brings inspired Neapolitan pizzas to Charlotte’s premier food hall

White Point Partners and Atlanta-based Paces Properties and Confluence Real Estate (jointly, White Point Paces Partners) are pleased to announce that Ava Pizzeria will bring authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza offerings to the Optimist Hall food stall line-up. With its Grand Opening on Friday, November 22nd, Ava is the 12th tenant to open in Optimist Hall since August 1 of this year.

Ava serves traditionally prepared Neapolitan pizza cooked between 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit in a specially designed wood-fired oven. Using a sourdough starter, Chef Joshua Hernandez’s pizza dough is hand-rolled and topped with tomato sauce made fresh each day from hand-crushed Italian tomatoes. The pizzas, which take only 90 seconds to cook, include creative options like Funghi: Cremini & Shiitake Mushrooms, Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, Pecorino, and Balsamic and – with a name inspired by Chef Hernandez’s time working under Ori Menashe at Bestia in Los Angeles – La Bestia: San Marzano Tomato, Mozzarella, Spicy Nduja Sausage, and Arugula. In addition to the pizza selections, Ava will offer fresh salads and select sandwiches, both executed with the same care and quality as the hand-crafted pizzas.

With a rustic, yet modern, design aesthetic – spearheaded by Joshua Charles from Atlanta-based design firm Flags of Origin – Ava’s roaring oven is the visual centerpiece of the stall, providing guests with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The white oak that’s featured prominently in the food stall’s design is also the same wood that fuels the pizza oven fires.

“I believe pizza is a basic food group, and it certainly is in a food hall.  From the moment I tasted Ava, I knew we had to have them at Optimist Hall.  We are incredibly excited about Ava opening and joining our growing lineup,” says Merritt Lancaster, Partner of White Point Paces.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of Optimist Hall. We think Charlotte is going to love our pizza, and we are excited to share it with the city,” says Ava’s principal owner, Michael Stewart. In addition to Stewart, additional partners behind Ava include Joe Maddon, a World Series-winning former professional baseball player and current team manager.

Ava Pizzeria at Optimist Hall is the first Charlotte location of the Tampa, Florida-based company, joining the concept’s flagship full-service restaurant in South Tampa’s Soho district and a food stall at Armature Works, Tampa’s largest food hall destination. Ava joins Zukku Sushi as the second Tampa-based concept to open within Charlotte’s newest and largest food hall.

The 525 SF market stall is located next to Zukku Sushi and across from Spindle Bar in the food hall section of Optimist Hall. Ava Restaurant will be open Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm and Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm.


@optimisthallclt |

Opened in Charlotte, NC on August 1, 2019, Optimist Hall is a 147,000 SF redevelopment of a former gingham mill that features a food hall complemented by retail, restaurant, and creative office space. Located in the Optimist Park neighborhood between Uptown and NoDa, the development has transformed the turn-of-the-century textile mill into one of the most unique projects in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Optimist Hall retains many of the property’s original, 120+ year-old elements including hardwood floors, soaring 14+ foot ceilings, and brick and beam interiors with true industrial character. With heritage rooted in the industrialization of the South, and a space dedicated to innovation, sustainability, and urban renewal, Optimist Hall melds the legacy of Charlotte’s rich history with the opportunity of tomorrow. Open tenants include the following: Archer Paper, Bao & Broth, Duke Energy, Dumpling Lady, El Thrifty Social Club, Honeysuckle Gelato, Papi Queso, Pet Wants, Spindle Bar, Undercurrent Coffee, Village Juice, and Zukku Sushi. Additional tenants slated to open in the coming weeks and months include Billy Sunday, Botiwalla, Boxcar Betty’s, Felix’s Empanadas, Fonta Flora Brewery, Mezeh, Suarez Bakery & Barra, and Velvet Taco. Additional tenants will continue to open on a rolling basis throughout the remainder of 2019 and into 2020.

#foodhall #pizza

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