Don’t wait until the new year for a new experience in Charlotte. Here are four openings that have added something fresh to the dining scene in the past month.
The newest addition to the Charlotte dining scene from co-owners Lewis Donald and Laura Furman Grice (with a Dec. 5 opening date), Sweet Lew’s aims to offer a “real North Carolina barbecue experience” in the Belmont neighborhood. The barbecue joint is housed in a flipped old service station, with a smoker burning a blend of hickory, pecan and peach woods. The menu will stay consistent at its core, with daily smoked meats including Lexington-style chopped barbecue made with North Carolina pork shoulder, dry-rubbed ribs and smoked chicken. Other options range from brisket, to fried chicken, to fried fish. Don’t overlook the classic sides: baked beans, collards, mac and cheese, boiled peanuts, and Carolina boiled potato. Top it off with a sweet serving of banana pudding.
A little turquoise building in the Belmont neighborhood now boasts one of the Queen City’s newest coffee shops, aptly called Queens Coffee Bar. Stop in for locally crafted UpDog kombucha on tap, plus coffees (Farmers First Coffee Company beans are featured), teas, and smoothies. For something extra sweet, consider the selection of baked goods and specialty cakes, as well as this month’s holiday drink special: the Christmas mocha latte. A modest selection of heartier options includes soups and small casseroles.
New to NoDa’s former Salvador Deli address, Stu’s honors the name of the deli’s late owner, Stu Sloan. The Barrel House is serving up a relaxed interior (complete with a stage for live music), plus patio seating and creative craft cocktails. Try the House Old Fashioned, showcasing demerara, orange and angostura bitters, garnished with a house-candied orange slice.
While this elegant eatery became a date-night staple in Elizabeth over the span of 12 years, the staff shut the doors in August for a facelift on the 115-year-old structure, before reopening this month. Step inside for warmer decor tones, a new bar and new tables, and a menu featuring American dishes with Italian, Spanish and French influences. Tuck into potato gnocchi with octopus, chorizo and corona beans; duck breast with candied beluga lentils and dates; and more. And expect menu shifts — the seasonal availability of local ingredients is key here.