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All-Day Mexican-Inspired Cantina and Gaming Venue Debuts in Charlotte

Partners Reid Olsen and Joe Lariscy are pleased to announce the opening of El Thrifty Social Charlotte on Thursday, October 3rd at Optimist Hall. As an anchor tenant of the development, El Thrifty Social promises guests an authentic Mexican cantina dining experience with all-day service in addition to indoor/outdoor gaming options. This is the second location of El Thrifty Social. The first location opened in Greenville, SC in late 2018. El Thrifty Social will open to the public with limited hours on Thursday, October 3rd and Friday, October 4th from 4p.m. – 10p.m and with a limited dinner menu. Full operational hours will begin October 10th.

El Thrifty Social is the second joint-venture for partners Olsen and Lariscy, who opened Queen Park Social together in 2017. Developers of Optimist Hall approached the duo after the success of Queen Park Social as an experience-driven entertainment destination and made the decision to open the second location of El Thrifty, a natural extension of their brand. “After opening Queen Park Social, Joe and I realized that by providing guests an added entertainment element outside of the usual options you find in bars creates a welcoming atmosphere and destination to gather with friends, family and co-workers,” says Olsen. Gaming options will feature four duck pin bowling lanes, golf simulator, shuffleboard, fúsbol, and ping pong. Additionally, Olsen and Lariscy plan to launch happy-hour and late-night menus featuring food and beverage specials to coincide with live music and DJs in the coming months.

Olsen and Lariscy have enlisted General Manager, Drew Tatum; Director of Operations, Brad Byrd; Director Sales & Events, Andrea Nivens, and Chef Sean Appleby to lead the culinary and service teams. The menu at El Thrifty Social will highlight authentic Mexican dishes including Chicken Torta with avocado crema and queso; Hanger Steak with chipotle butter and chimichurri; Octopus with ancho chile, tomatillo and chipotle squash puree; and a variety of tacos including Al Pastor, Chicken Tinga, Camaron, Carne Asada, and Veggie made on fresh, housemade corn tortillas. Bar offerings include a large library of agave-based spirits, mezcal, and tequila for craft cocktails, as well as an assortment of local craft beer and wine. El Thrifty will offer a traveling bar cart that will feature customizable mezcals and tequila cocktails in addition to mezcal flights.

Charlotte design firm, House of Nomad was enlisted to transform the 6,931 square-foot space. Designers, Kelley Lentini and Berkeley Minkhorst traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico for inspiration and to source authentic photography, tiles and textiles for use in the space. The colors range in neutral tones with teal, pink, and patterned accents to create an old-world meets modern cantina. The “cantina” dining room features woven basket light fixtures sourced from Bali and a custom painting situated above the DJ booth made by Mexican artist, Cori Jacobs, who has been residing in Sayulita, Mexico for 15 years. The restaurant seats 85 guests in the cantina, 50 lounge seats in the gaming room, and 30 patio seats along with custom lounge areas adjacent to the outdoor gaming entertainment.

To continue celebrating the grand opening, El Thrifty Social will host a three-day long Halloween Fiesta beginning October 31 through November 2 with live music, entertainment, and food and drink specials. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for more details as they are announced.


El Thrifty Social began in 2018 in Greenville, SC as an authentic Mexican-inspired cantina and an experience-driven entertainment destination. El Thrifty Social features fresh and locally sourced ingredients highlighting authentic Mexican dishes such as Chicken Torta with spicy slaw, oaxaca cheese, refried beans and chipotle mayo; Pozole Roja with pork, hominy, radish, chicharrones, cilantro, lime and tortillas; and South Carolina Fish with avocado verde cruda and pineapple cucumber salsa. El Thrifty’s bar offerings include a large library of agave-based spirits, mezcal, and tequila for craft cocktails, as well as an assortment of local craft beer and wine. The gaming lounge features duckpin bowling, shuffleboard, fúsbol, snookball, billiards, ping pong, and more. The upscale indoor/ outdoor space is the perfect spot to gather with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. President of El Thrifty Hospitality, Reid Olsen along with partner, Joe Lariscy of Queen Park Social opened the second El Thrifty Social location at Charlotte’s Optimist Hall in Fall 2019. For more information, please visit El Thrifty Social here and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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