The restaurant scene isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Charlotte, but the Queen City is starting to become known as a culinary heavyweight with the opening of more restaurants serving creative dishes made with fresh ingredients. The restaurant renaissance isn’t just happening in one neighborhood. Around the city, from Uptown to Plaza Midwood and NoDa, neighborhood pubs, chic bistros, and ethnic eateries dominate the landscape.
It’s not just new restaurants that have helped Charlotte establish its culinary identity. Some of the most talked-about dining hot spots are mom-and-pop restaurants that have been part of the dining scene in Charlotte for decades. These historic eateries are known for dishes ranging from fried chicken and collard greens to pizza and hamburgers, but all have one thing in common: They offer meals you’ll remember long after the evening is over.
It goes without saying that the Charlotte food scene extends beyond barbeque and sweet tea (though the Queen City is known for both, so be sure to sample a traditional Southern meal while you’re in town). It’s possible to find restaurants serving dishes from around the world as well as dishes made from ingredients grown right here in North Carolina. In fact, the number of restaurants focusing on organic, locally grown ingredients has increased tremendously and a growing number of wine lists now feature selections from North Carolina vineyards.
The dining scene in Charlotte is pretty laid-back. With some exceptions at high-end restaurants, mostly those in South Park and Myers Park, it’s acceptable to wear anything from a little black dress to jeans and sneakers out to dinner. Jackets and ties are a rarity.
Charlotte is finally coming into its own as a food town. Don’t just listen to the hype: Get out there and start sampling.
- Best Fried Pickles: Alexander Michael’s
- Best Place for Barbeque: Mac’s
- Best Special-Occasion Restaurant: McNinch House
- Most Sinful Chocolate Cake: Crave Dessert Bar
- Best Southern Fried Chicken: Price’s Chicken Coop
- Best Burger: The Penguin
- Best Place to Get Pastries at 3 a.m.: Amelie’s…A French Bakery
- Best Place to Dress Up for Tea: Ooh-La-La’s
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition