Best Local Eats

Best Local Eats Charlotte NC

New to Charlotte? The best way to see the city is by exploring it one bite at a time! The Charlotte food scene is one of the fastest growing sectors in our city, which is made abundantly clear by the constant new pop-ups, food trucks, and restaurant openings each week. Whether you’re a total foodie who loves gorgeous dishes to snap onto Instagram, looking for a date night dish, or ready to wander the streets in search of unique tastes and experiences, Charlotte has so much to offer!

New Eats in the Queen City
There are so many new restaurants to capture in the QC, but in an effort to capture some of the variety of options, we’ve listed some of our favorite new restaurants you can add to your to-eat list.

The Goodyear House
3032 N. Davidson Street
Charlotte, NC 28205
Neighborhood: NoDa
Chef Chris Coleman, whose name you may recognize as being a winner from the popular reality Food Network’s competition series Chopped, opened The Goodyear House with his friend AJ Klenck. As a neighborhood restaurant situated in the heart of NoDa, The Goodyear House opened on February 4, 2020, in a renovated mill house with a gorgeous, sprawling outdoor patio. Only six weeks into opening last year, they were forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But now in March 2021, they’ve reopened to the public and thriving – you’ll definitely want to snag a reservation if you’re planning to eat here on the weekends!
The food is locally sourced, regional cuisine, described as ‘simple plates with complex flavors’ and ‘elevated comfort food.’ The menu changes on a weekly basis, but a staple of the menu and a must-try is the Goopy Burger – it might have a silly name, but this burger is one of the best in Charlotte! The Goodyear House also has a great variety of mixed drinks; the perfect summer drink is their frozen rosè!

Leah and Louise
301 Camp Rd
Charlotte, NC 28206
Neighborhood: Camp North End
Leah & Louise is a new ‘modern juke joint’ created by Chef Greg Collier and his business partner and wife, Subrina Collier. The menu features modern interpretations of Southern classics that honor Mississippi river valley foodways. You won’t find food like this anywhere else in Charlotte, and you’re sure to enjoy everything from their unique appetizers like the ‘Rich Boys’ fried oyster sliders to the ‘Oxtail and Dumplings’ entrée.

What makes this place interesting? Well besides delivering amazing interpretations of beloved Southern food dishes, you’ll see on their main menu entrée #10 “No Meat.” Made up of a rice bowl, seasonal vegetables, field peas, and black garlic dressing, the price of this dish is listed as $PWYC. “Pay What You Can” (PWYC) is listed for this dish as a way to give back to the community with excellent food and service, no matter a patron’s status, social or financial.
Leah & Louise are operating on a reservations-only basis, due to COVID-19.

Xiao Bao
Optimist Hall
115 N Brevard St #14
Charlotte, NC 28205
Neighborhood: NoDa
Xiao Bao is a Charleston native restaurant that just opened its second location in Optimist Hall. Xiao Bao is owned by chef Joshua Walker and Duolan Walker, another husband and wife duo. The menu focuses mainly on Southeast Asian cuisine, like Okonomiyaki is a classic Japanese cabbage pancake, and their signature dish, which you can add egg or bacon pork candy to.

3221 North Davidson St
Charlotte, NC 28205
Neighborhood: NoDa
In the former location of Solstice, Bargaritas is the newest venture of the Mason Jar Group in Charlotte, which operates four other establishments in the Charlotte area including TILT and The Union. Bargaritas, as its name might suggest, is all about festive craft margaritas. Give a try to the strawberry jalapeño or the Champagne lemonade. They also offer four types of tacos (brisket, banh mi, BBQ chicken, and pork), and the same four options on their burritos. If you’re chilling with friends, you can order the taco board, which comes with 10 tacos for $45.99.

Charlotte Beer Garden
1300 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Neighborhood: South End
If you’re wanting to experience the world’s largest selection of draft beers in one restaurant, Charlotte Beer Garden is definitely where you need to be! Due to a constantly changing selection of draft beers, their menu is all digital and you can check it right from your phone with their Untappd app. They also offer a variety of cocktails and wines. They opened last year in February, and is a sister site to the Raleigh Beer Garden.

Obviously, if you’re enjoying the beers, you’re going to need to soak up some alcohol with some food! Instead of having rotating food trucks or a limited menu, Charlotte Beer Garden has a full kitchen and a robust food menu ranging from appetizers and pizzas, poutine to burgers, sandwiches and entrees, all at reasonable prices. With three stories of seating at 16,663 feet, 436 beer taps, and a very tasty brunch menu, next Sunday, you already know where you should be heading to enjoy the beautiful North Carolina spring weather with a mimosa in hand.

Oldies, but Goodies
Established restaurants are here for a reason; they’ve clearly withstood to test of time to the coming and going of Charlotte’s favor!

Mert’s Heart and Soul
214 N College St
Charlotte, NC 28202
Neighborhood: Uptown
Locally owned and operated, Mert’s Heart and Soul is right in Uptown, and basically serves as the soul of uptown. Serving to die for fried chicken, alongside staple Southern classics like collard greens and mac and cheese, Mert’s is comfort food at its very best. You must also try the Soul roll; an egg roll wrap that comes stuffed with collard greens, black-eyed peas, seasoned rice, and diced fried chicken.

1220 Thomas Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Dish has been a staple to Plaza Midwood for 18 years now, but has recently transitioned into new management. With new menu items that honor the history of Dish and an updated look to adapt the restaurant to the Plaza Midwood nightlife scene, Dish is a happening spot! They now offer a brunch menu from 9am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday, with favorites like biscuits and gravy, gluten-free pancakes, and a tomato biscuit casserole. They’ve also added more cocktail items, and Dish is aiming to expand its late-night offerings with live music and more entertainment.

If you want a dish recommendation from Dish, the Pork Flat Iron ($13.99) served with bacon-caramelized onion, Cheerwine jam, mashed potatoes, and your choice of side. Don’t forget to take a look at the incredible back patio mural by SHE Originals!

Pinky’s Westside Grill (multiple locations!)
1600 W Morehead St
Charlotte, NC 28208
Neighborhood: 4th Ward
Pinky’s is an American restaurant that has all the greasy delights your heart desires, alongside perfectly healthy vegetarian/GF options. From sandwiches, hotdogs, and tacos to cocktails, Pinky’s is super eccentric, offbeat, and casual. They were featured on Food Network’s Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dives. Check out Guy Fieri’s eats here.

300 East
300 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
Neighborhood: Dilworth
300 East has been serving the Dilworth neighborhood since 1986! With a full regular menu of eclectic American cuisine, a Sunday Brunch, and a full wine and beer menu, 300 East has something for everyone. They were also featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives! You can check out the indulgent dishes Guy Fieri ordered from 300 East here.

Seoul Food Meat Co.
1400 S Church St.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Neighborhood: Midtown
Another husband and wife team, Tim Chun and Lisa Kamura opened Seoul Food Meat Co. back in 2016, and has been bumping ever since. No, it’s not a butcher’s shop or just a Korean restaurant – it’s, well, soul food meets Korean barbeque. The pulled pork and wings are a must-have, and you’ll want to add a side of ramen mac and cheese. In addition to plenty of tasty food, they have wine and beer from local breweries, as well as Asian specialty beers. Seoul is conveniently located in Uptown and is the perfect meal before walking to other local bars and hang-outs.

Chima Steakhouse
139 S Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28202
Neighborhood: Uptown
The truly all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse is a staple to a fancy night out in uptown. You can grab your sides land salad from the serve-yourself buffet, and then waiters will walk around with a rotation of different meats (rodízio) ranging from angus picanha, baby top sirloin, to lamb chops and 12 more options, all sliced fresh right onto your plate.
Chima offers authentic Brazilian cuisine, and one of the best views of Uptown Charlotte from their elegant upstairs lounge. The complete rodízio is priced at $58.90, which is expensive, but you absolutely have to experience Chima at least once!

Enjoy exploring Charlotte’s dining scene!
With so many options and ever-expanding lists of new and top restaurants in the area, you’ll never tire out of finding something exciting to eat in the Queen City. If you need a few more insider tips on how to find the best local eats, here are our recommendations:

· Annual Charlotte Restaurant Week (Queen’s Feast)
One of the best ways to try out new food is during the annual Charlotte Restaurant Week (Queen’s Feast). It was canceled for January 2021, but it’s likely to be rescheduled in the spring. During Charlotte Restaurant Week, you pay $30 or $35 (not including tax or gratuity) for a three curse meal from your choice of over 140 restaurants in the Charlotte area. There are a range of dining experiences within the restaurants, but basically, this is a fantastic way to experience some of Charlotte’s high-end dining without paying top dollar. The restaurants go beyond Uptown and its neighborhoods and expand into the greater Charlotte area, for cities like Belmont, Gastonia, Concord, Mount Pleasant, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Denver, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and Lake Wylie Reservations are definitely recommended during this week!

· Taste of Charlotte: June 11th – 13th, 2021
This food festival typically takes place in June and shuts down Tryon St. for the entire weekend. Taste of Charlotte features booths with many of the city’s best restaurants and samples of their signature dishes. Admission to the festival is free, and you purchase festival coins to use for restaurant samples, beverages, and kid’s activities. The 100+ restaurants span 6 city blocks from Stonewall to 5th street, and along the way, there’s plenty of entertainment, street performances, and interactive tours. Check it out here.

· When summer comes back around, hit up Food Truck Friday at Resident Culture and Sycamore Brewery!

· Check out best restaurant list-articles or reviews from sites like Charlotte Axios or Charlotte’s Got a Lot!

· Follow local food trucks on social media, alongside Charlotte foodie influencers! We recommend:
o @thedumplingladyclt
o @whatthefriesclt
o @Charlottefoodtrucks
o @lobsterdogsfoodtruck
o @charlottefoodscene
o @wheretoeatcharlotte
o @charlottefoodguide
o @cltfoodbloggers

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