Charlotte’s dining scene is booming, and we’ve got dozens of new restaurants to prove it. From casual spots to high-end eateries and everything in between, here are some of the latest, greatest additions to the Queen City’s growing list of places to add to your must-try list.
Upscale fare, gorgeous interiors, extensive wine lists and more await at these high-end eateries.
Putting a new twist on the “farm-to-table” concept, much of Chef William Dissen’s menu is about paying respect to the people behind the ingredients. Even the name, Haymaker, is another word for farmer. For your pre-dinner snack, try the Whole Wheat Levain Bread with cultured butter and sprinkled with sea salt from J.Q. Dickinson, a family-owned salt works in Dissen’s hometown. And for your main course, try the Wild Caught NC Grouper with spring vegetables and a shrimp bisque. 225 S. Poplar St. 704-626-6116.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Located in the Bank of America Plaza, Uptown’s new restaurant has joined the ranks of some of the city’s finest dining spots. Eddie V’s offers fresh seafood dishes, craft cocktails, live jazz nightly, and a wine list with more than 300 options. 101 S. Tryon St. 704-333-5262.
Once Paul Verica shut down his small but popular Heritage restaurant in Waxhaw—after a James Beard semifinalist nod, no less—local foodies couldn’t wait to see what was next for the chef and restaurateur. Enter: The Stanley, the long-awaited Elizabeth restaurant that opened in late May with inventive small plates (think foie gras funnel cake with strawberries and mint) and luxurious comfort food. Check out this closer look at Paul Verica’s new venture. 1961 E. 7th St. 980-299-2741.
Enjoy the homey vibe of this modern, chef-driven Italian restaurant, located in the new Kimpton Tryon Park hotel, with its fine selections of comfort food and traditional Italian dishes. All pastas and pizzas are made in house, and their signature dish is the Braised Oxtail Strozzapreti pasta, tossed in taleggio cheese and an arrabiatta sauce. 303 S. Church St. 704-445-2540.
Fin & Fino
At this new Uptown spot—brought to you by the team behind Dressler’s, Dogwood Southern Kitchen, and The Porter’s House—the fish and shellfish are all sustainably caught and raised, and delivered daily. Try one of the restaurant’s oyster pairings from its raw bar, and indulge in a creative cocktail that’ll make you feel like you’ve got your toes in the sand. 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts. 704-800-5680.
One of the newest additions to the popular Park Road Shopping Center Back Lot offers guests dinner and a show—the kitchen is literally in the dining room. Watch the staff pull crusty bread out of the wood-fired oven and work on the dough that will later become the Lemon Bucatini on your plate. 530 Brandywine Road. 980-299-3754.
No fuss. No frills. Just delicious food and approachable atmospheres at these laid-back restaurants.
Tandur Indian Kitchen
Brothers H.P. and J. T. Patel first opened this fast-casual Indian restaurant in Knoxville, Tenn., before bringing it to SouthPark. Take in the vibrant atmosphere, the visible tandur ovens with mosaic designs (yes, that’s the smell of the naan bread baking), and the spice room filled with enormous jars of turmeric and more. The menu ranges from starters like spiced okra fries to main dishes like biryani bowls and tikka masala. 721 Governor Morrison St., Unit F-150. 704-366-7669.
As one of the most sought-after restaurant chains to come to Charlotte, Shake Shack had lines of hungry customers filing out the door and down the street for weeks after its April opening. In addition to its iconic shakes and burgers, the joint serves up griddled hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and frozen custard, with local craft beers. 1605 E. Woodlawn Road. 980-265-3188.
Holler & Dash
This Southern-style restaurant, a concept developed by the folks behind Cracker Barrel, offers creative biscuit combinations for sweet and savory fans alike, as well as classic brunch fare. 2725 South Blvd., Suite A. 980-430-6863.
This Atlanta-based restaurant is a Tex-Mex lover’s dream, bringing everything from steak fajita nachos to gulf shrimp and snapper ceviche. Chef Ford Fry opened the 7,000-square-foot space in May, and it’s already one of the hottest spots in the Queen City. 101 W. Worthington Ave., #100. 980-321-9914.
The Rogue Irish Pub & Kitchen
Irish-inspired pub fare completes the menu at this East Boulevard gem, with items like the Irish bacon and cheddar potato pancake with a goat cheese crema and tomato jam, or the Irish onion soup topped with soda bread croutons and swiss cheese. Twelve taps line the bar, along with a frozen margarita maker for frozen Irish coffees. 1315 East Blvd. 980-949-8021.
Restaurateur and philanthropist Deedee Mills has brought the tobacco town of Williamston, N.C., where she was born, to East Morehead Street. With rocking chairs seesawing out front and tobacco baskets hanging from the ceiling, The Packhouse gives you a rural Carolina feel and a true Southern dining experience. Just try the jalapeño hushpuppies, Cajun-seared shrimp and grits, and sweet tea-brined fried chicken. 500 E. Morehead St., Suite 150-A. 980-938-5709.
Top off your salad, rice, or pita with a variety of toppings, like tzatziki, falafel, or sumac radishes at Cava, located in University City, with other locations planned at Park Road Shopping Center and Atherton Mill. Take these Greek- and Mediterranean-styled dishes to go or dine in while sipping on one of Cava’s juices, made fresh every day. We recommend the Strawberry Mint Lime. 8936 J.M. Keynes Drive. 704-243-5900.
Inside this all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue spot in South End, you’ll find 28 tables with built-in stovetops in the center of each one, as well as servers wandering the aisles to assist customers with their table-cooking techniques. Order a selection of meats and marinades for your table, and take a stab at cooking your own pork, chicken, or beef to the temperature of your liking. 1400 S. Church St., Suite B. 980-299-4389.
HI Tide Poke & Raw Bar
Step into this fast-casual Dilworth restaurant and you’ll be greeted by walls of gleaming white subway tiles, a massive handmade maple table, and cases upon cases of fresh seafood. You can order from the raw bar—try everything from lobster rolls to East and West Coast oysters—or opt for a poke bowl. 919 S. McDowell St. 980-585-2122.
These hotspots opened up outside the city limits—and are well worth the drive
Sitting lakeside in Cornelius is husband-and-wife team Joe and Katy Kindred’s newest venture, Hello, Sailor, which took over the space vacated by Lake Norman staple The Rusty Rudder. The Kindreds’ version of a modern upscale fish camp has a kitschy, Palm Springs feel with a chef-driven menu, tailoring to the appetites of both seafood and fried-food lovers. Grab a seat on the patio and enjoy a cocktail decked out with fun straws and umbrellas. 20210 Henderson Road, Cornelius. 704-997-5365.
Davidson Ice House
Food writer and restaurant consultant Jenny Brulé and her husband are serving up bowls, wraps, soups, and salads, with an international twist and less meat than you’d usually find on the typical menu. As for the name, the “fine casual” spot occupies an old, historical ice house. 416 S. Main St., Davidson. 704-895-5555.
The lauded bakery featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” has come to town, bringing the people of Indian Trail decadent cinnamon rolls, brownies, cookies, and drinks. The bakery is 100-percent vegan, cutting out all dairy, eggs and cholesterol. Want milk with your coffee? Try a splash of oatmeal milk. 6461 Old Monroe Road, Suite F, Indian Trail. 704-218-2444.
Trade those entrées for shareable tapas at these trendy new local spots.
Immerse yourself in Spanish culture without leaving the SouthPark neighborhood. Bulla’s authentic Spanish menu offers Madrilenian classics, including paella (Valencia-style rice filled with calamari, prawns, clams, shrimp, red sofrito, and saffron) and croquetas de jamón (serrano ham croquettes with fig jelly). 4310 Sharon Road, Suite W01. 704-837-4442.
Merchant & Trade
Located on the rooftop of the Kimpton Tryon Park hotel in Uptown, Merchant & Trade is the perfect spot to order an original cocktail and take in the spectacular view overlooking Romare Bearden Park and the Charlotte Knights’ BB&T Ballpark. Get a few small plates to share, like the lobster corn dogs with tarragon aioli and the duck confit bao buns. Note: There is a dress code. 303 S. Church St. 704-445-2550.
This eclectic, chef-driven restaurant in Charlotte’s Gold District is the brainchild of Executive Chef Michael Noll and renowned local mixologist Amanda Britton. The small plates range in influence from Spanish to Japanese and beyond, featuring mouthwatering dishes like lamb belly, ricotta tortellini, crudo kampachi and more. Pair each plate with a unique craft cocktail like the Cooling Effect, featuring Lunazul Reposado, arbol and guajillo peppers, aloe, agave, and lime. 1508 S. Mint St., Unit B. 980-585-2433.
This dinner-only spot in South End is heavy on the small plates (don’t miss the Scratch Buns with sweet miso Heritage pork belly) and craft cocktails. Executive Chef Vince Giancarlo believes it’s possible to serve upscale food and drink in an environment that’s laid-back with an industrial early-1900s vibe. The spot is named for the massive cylindrical airships (think The Hindenburg), and its centerpiece is an oversized moss “Z” on the back wall. 235 W. Tremont Ave., Suite 100. 980-209-0008.
Market & Grocery
Whether you’re grabbing a meal, a cup of coffee, or light groceries for a dinner party, these markets have you covered.
This fast-casual restaurant and grocery in South End offers everything from coffee and tea to salads and sandwiches (try the grilled cheese with gruyere, shallots, and thyme), while also selling small items, such as greeting cards, dog treats, and potted succulents. Bring a book, find a comfy chair, and if you find yourself there all day, make the switch from a flat white in the morning to a pre-dinner glass of wine. 1300 South Blvd., Suite S. 704-910-4660.
The casual People’s Market in Dilworth took over the space once occupied by 131 Main and has quickly become a one-stop-shop for everything from breakfast biscuits and cappuccinos to Pasta & Provisions to-go meals and Two Scoops ice cream. Pop in and out or stay a while and enjoy the frequent live music. 1315 East Blvd. 980-299-0703.
This story first ran in the July 2018 issue of SouthPark Magazine.