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13 Vital Charlotte Restaurants To Visit

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Charlotte
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Charlotte is a city that struggles with its identity on a seemingly daily basis, but that’s what makes it a great food city right now. The kitchens and the city perform best when it's trying to prove something. The best way to see what it has to prove is to experience it. More than ever, Charlotte is recognized for being a city with no similes attached. It's not like Atlanta. It's not trying to be like Charleston. It's Charlotte and the city is delicious right now. Straight-laced bankers, crunchy hippies, and adventurists — everyone should experience it.

Note: Map points are listed in geographical order and are not ranked. Did we miss your favorite spot? Show it some love in the comments, send us an email, or start a forum thread in its honor. Have a suggestion for the next Southern city you'd like a guide for? Shoot us a note on that too.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Price's Chicken Coop

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1614 Camden Rd
Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 333-9866
Visit Website
Charlotte fried poultry connoisseurs generally fall into two categories: they either swear by Price’s or they only stop in to the East Boulevard Shell station for chicken with an almost equal cult following. No matter what your chicken persuasion is, Price’s is number one with a bullet on the fried chicken bucket list. They only take cash, aren’t open for dinner and haven’t changed much about their décor since they opened in 1962, but none of it matters once you get the sweet tea and a quarter chicken meal in your hands. Hugh Acheson seems to agree.

2. The Punch Room

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201 E Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 547-2244
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Named the 2015 Bartender of the Year by Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte local Bob Peters has elevated his inventive cocktails to the 15th floor of the Ritz in uptown. At Peters’ bar, every cocktail has a personal story behind it and ingredients sourced locally (like from his rooftop garden). His Instagram feed alone is enough to make you mash the elevator buttons to close the door on someone if it means getting to The Punch Room before they meet their 37-occupant capacity.
The Punch Room

3. Kindred Resturant

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131 Main Street
Davidson, NC 28036
(980) 231-5000
Visit Website
The restaurant that made Davidson, N.C., not just for college kids found the spotlight on Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 list in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. From the small basement of a restored pharmacy, chef Joe Kindred elevates humble staples like birthday cake and house pickles, while proving his culinary creativity with dishes like the handmade pastas like the tagliatelle with morels, favas and caramelized cream. And milk bread, which may be the biggest revelation to bread service since the invention of the slice.
Courtesy of Kindred

4. Heirloom

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8470 Belhaven Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28216
Charlotte, NC 28216
If there was an award for the most locally conscious restaurant, it would probably be called the Clark Barlowe Award. Chef Barlowe and his team at Heirloom are dead set on only using North Carolina ingredients — even behind the bar. The only exceptions to this rule are for ingredients like olive oil and wine, where the local terroir doesn’t support the associated crops adequately for frequent use. From rooftop beehives to the garden boxes out front, the dedication is visible. An alum of the French Laundry, Barlowe also offers one of the only tasting menus available in the city.

5. Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub

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3116 N Davidson St
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 910-6543
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Equal parts crêperie and tavern, people squeeze into this Jeff Tonidandel-owned stop in NoDa for comfort foods, a little European refinement, and good conversation. The buckwheat crêpes are a sturdier version from Brittany, France that can hold more ingredients, melted gruyère and ham for example. The standout winners, though, are the shoestring pesto fries. Get some for the table, but eat them all yourself. And don’t sleep on the cocktails. Bartender Colleen Hughes can cast some liquid charms on a highball glass.

6. Brooks' Sandwich House

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2710 N Brevard St
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 375-7808
Visit Website
Forty-three years of burgers, hot dogs and chili later, the squat building in the Davidson Mill neighborhood still attracts standing-room only crowds for lunch. It’s partially because it doesn’t have chairs at the take-out joint, but it’s also because there’s 43 years of flavor built up in every meaty portion they dish out. Brothers David and Scott Brooks satisfy at every step, but don’t expect them to be open for dinner or on weekends.

7. 300 East

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300 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC
(704) 332-6507
Visit Website
Fitted into a historic house in South End, family-owned and operated, 300 East checks all the boxes on typically Southern dishes for lunch, dinner, and brunch. It’s the standby for when family comes to town. The stunning desserts by Ashley Boyd, though, rival what one would expect to find in a dessert laboratory. They simultaneously blindside expectations but make so much sense that it’s hard to conceive of why they haven’t been thought of before. Celery sorbet with grape and peanut brittle? Take that dessert (if it’s on the seasonal menu) as an afternoon snack

8. Alexander Michael's

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401 W 9th St
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 332-6789
Visit Website
This is the place to go if you crave what it must have been like to grab a drink behind Sam Malone’s bar in “Cheers.” Consistency in the meals has been the drawing point here since they opened in 1983. Serving a traditional tavern menu, with exception to the black bean and quinoa burger perhaps, the guest’s experience is paramount. Servers always ask how you are doing. Always. A comforting pasta dish like the honey chicken with penne is matched perfectly with a warm atmosphere.

9. Beef & Bottle Restaurant

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4538 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28209
(704) 523-9977
Visit Website
The unassuming exterior is the perfect cover to keep this steakhouse a local hangout for red meat lovers across the city. Each steak is crowned with a crispy golden onion ring and served to the temperature of your liking. Go for the optional lobster tail on the side to complete the effect of carnivorous satisfaction. Traditional sides and accompaniments are great additions, but the many rave reviews of their fresh salads are what many patrons like to recommend most. The best way to describe the experience is simply to refer back to its eponymous name.

10. Soul Gastrolounge

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1500 1/2 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 348-1848
Visit Website
One of the pioneers of Plaza Midwood’s burgeoning modern eating options, Soul Gastro is still consistently thrilling with cocktails from Kel Minton and dishes like the pork belly watermelon tacos and chicken skin nachos. The leather-bound interior and hip accents help make getting on the well-known waitlist worthwhile. And sushi, don’t skip their sushi bar. There’s a reason they frequent the Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Awards.

11. Futo Buta

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222 E Bland St
Charlotte, NC 28203
The ramen craze isn’t — and hopefully will never be — dead in Charlotte. Futo Buta epitomizes the trend with their 24-hour broths, homemade noodles, and addictive sides like the fried rice cakes with spicy tuna. Chef Michael Shortino has turned North Carolina ingredients, including locally made ramen bowls, into slurpable feasts that have become the highlight of the Bland Street station light rail stop. Even when it’s warm out, Futo Buta entices with green tea and black sesame-flavored soft serve and a cold version of their noodles.

12. Fahrenheit

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222 S Caldwell St
Charlotte, NC 28202
(980) 237-6718
Visit Website
The little sister of Fahrenheit in Cleveland, Ohio, chef Rocco Whalen opened this rooftop concept in 2014. At the time, it was the uptown only rooftop dining experience, providing unmatched views of the Queen City skyline. Along with the garden on the 21st floor, the restaurant mostly sources its ingredients from the Carolinas to keep the business local. Whalen also partners with Johnson & Wales to attract and train new culinary talent to the city, making the Cleveland transplant as much a part of the city’s cultural fabric as banking. Rocco still roots for the Cavaliers over the Hornets, though.

13. Heritage Food & Drink

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201 W South Main St
Waxhaw, NC 28173
A 20-year career, complete with stages with Alain Passard and Bernard Louisseau, led chef Paul Verica to Waxhaw, just south of Charlotte, to open Heritage Food & Drink. His own unique plating style, unreal originality, and insistence on having a relationship with local farmers makes the drive to sit at his table and eat the American-inspired dishes more than worthwhile. The daily deviled egg special put out by his son-turned-sous-chef Alex elevates the humble dish to a point where the once maligned dish has become Instagram fodder.

1. Price's Chicken Coop

1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Charlotte fried poultry connoisseurs generally fall into two categories: they either swear by Price’s or they only stop in to the East Boulevard Shell station for chicken with an almost equal cult following. No matter what your chicken persuasion is, Price’s is number one with a bullet on the fried chicken bucket list. They only take cash, aren’t open for dinner and haven’t changed much about their décor since they opened in 1962, but none of it matters once you get the sweet tea and a quarter chicken meal in your hands. Hugh Acheson seems to agree.
1614 Camden Rd
Charlotte, NC 28203

2. The Punch Room

201 E Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202
The Punch Room
Named the 2015 Bartender of the Year by Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte local Bob Peters has elevated his inventive cocktails to the 15th floor of the Ritz in uptown. At Peters’ bar, every cocktail has a personal story behind it and ingredients sourced locally (like from his rooftop garden). His Instagram feed alone is enough to make you mash the elevator buttons to close the door on someone if it means getting to The Punch Room before they meet their 37-occupant capacity.
201 E Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202

3. Kindred Resturant

131 Main Street, Davidson, NC 28036
Courtesy of Kindred
The restaurant that made Davidson, N.C., not just for college kids found the spotlight on Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 list in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. From the small basement of a restored pharmacy, chef Joe Kindred elevates humble staples like birthday cake and house pickles, while proving his culinary creativity with dishes like the handmade pastas like the tagliatelle with morels, favas and caramelized cream. And milk bread, which may be the biggest revelation to bread service since the invention of the slice.
131 Main Street
Davidson, NC 28036

4. Heirloom

8470 Belhaven Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28216, Charlotte, NC 28216
If there was an award for the most locally conscious restaurant, it would probably be called the Clark Barlowe Award. Chef Barlowe and his team at Heirloom are dead set on only using North Carolina ingredients — even behind the bar. The only exceptions to this rule are for ingredients like olive oil and wine, where the local terroir doesn’t support the associated crops adequately for frequent use. From rooftop beehives to the garden boxes out front, the dedication is visible. An alum of the French Laundry, Barlowe also offers one of the only tasting menus available in the city.
8470 Belhaven Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28216
Charlotte, NC 28216

5. Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub

3116 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Equal parts crêperie and tavern, people squeeze into this Jeff Tonidandel-owned stop in NoDa for comfort foods, a little European refinement, and good conversation. The buckwheat crêpes are a sturdier version from Brittany, France that can hold more ingredients, melted gruyère and ham for example. The standout winners, though, are the shoestring pesto fries. Get some for the table, but eat them all yourself. And don’t sleep on the cocktails. Bartender Colleen Hughes can cast some liquid charms on a highball glass.
3116 N Davidson St
Charlotte, NC 28205

6. Brooks' Sandwich House

2710 N Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Forty-three years of burgers, hot dogs and chili later, the squat building in the Davidson Mill neighborhood still attracts standing-room only crowds for lunch. It’s partially because it doesn’t have chairs at the take-out joint, but it’s also because there’s 43 years of flavor built up in every meaty portion they dish out. Brothers David and Scott Brooks satisfy at every step, but don’t expect them to be open for dinner or on weekends.
2710 N Brevard St
Charlotte, NC 28205

7. 300 East

300 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC
Fitted into a historic house in South End, family-owned and operated, 300 East checks all the boxes on typically Southern dishes for lunch, dinner, and brunch. It’s the standby for when family comes to town. The stunning desserts by Ashley Boyd, though, rival what one would expect to find in a dessert laboratory. They simultaneously blindside expectations but make so much sense that it’s hard to conceive of why they haven’t been thought of before. Celery sorbet with grape and peanut brittle? Take that dessert (if it’s on the seasonal menu) as an afternoon snack
300 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC

8. Alexander Michael's

401 W 9th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
This is the place to go if you crave what it must have been like to grab a drink behind Sam Malone’s bar in “Cheers.” Consistency in the meals has been the drawing point here since they opened in 1983. Serving a traditional tavern menu, with exception to the black bean and quinoa burger perhaps, the guest’s experience is paramount. Servers always ask how you are doing. Always. A comforting pasta dish like the honey chicken with penne is matched perfectly with a warm atmosphere.
401 W 9th St
Charlotte, NC 28202

9. Beef & Bottle Restaurant

4538 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209
The unassuming exterior is the perfect cover to keep this steakhouse a local hangout for red meat lovers across the city. Each steak is crowned with a crispy golden onion ring and served to the temperature of your liking. Go for the optional lobster tail on the side to complete the effect of carnivorous satisfaction. Traditional sides and accompaniments are great additions, but the many rave reviews of their fresh salads are what many patrons like to recommend most. The best way to describe the experience is simply to refer back to its eponymous name.
4538 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28209

10. Soul Gastrolounge

1500 1/2 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
One of the pioneers of Plaza Midwood’s burgeoning modern eating options, Soul Gastro is still consistently thrilling with cocktails from Kel Minton and dishes like the pork belly watermelon tacos and chicken skin nachos. The leather-bound interior and hip accents help make getting on the well-known waitlist worthwhile. And sushi, don’t skip their sushi bar. There’s a reason they frequent the Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Awards.
1500 1/2 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205

11. Futo Buta

222 E Bland St, Charlotte, NC 28203
The ramen craze isn’t — and hopefully will never be — dead in Charlotte. Futo Buta epitomizes the trend with their 24-hour broths, homemade noodles, and addictive sides like the fried rice cakes with spicy tuna. Chef Michael Shortino has turned North Carolina ingredients, including locally made ramen bowls, into slurpable feasts that have become the highlight of the Bland Street station light rail stop. Even when it’s warm out, Futo Buta entices with green tea and black sesame-flavored soft serve and a cold version of their noodles.
222 E Bland St
Charlotte, NC 28203

12. Fahrenheit

222 S Caldwell St, Charlotte, NC 28202
The little sister of Fahrenheit in Cleveland, Ohio, chef Rocco Whalen opened this rooftop concept in 2014. At the time, it was the uptown only rooftop dining experience, providing unmatched views of the Queen City skyline. Along with the garden on the 21st floor, the restaurant mostly sources its ingredients from the Carolinas to keep the business local. Whalen also partners with Johnson & Wales to attract and train new culinary talent to the city, making the Cleveland transplant as much a part of the city’s cultural fabric as banking. Rocco still roots for the Cavaliers over the Hornets, though.
222 S Caldwell St
Charlotte, NC 28202

13. Heritage Food & Drink

201 W South Main St, Waxhaw, NC 28173
A 20-year career, complete with stages with Alain Passard and Bernard Louisseau, led chef Paul Verica to Waxhaw, just south of Charlotte, to open Heritage Food & Drink. His own unique plating style, unreal originality, and insistence on having a relationship with local farmers makes the drive to sit at his table and eat the American-inspired dishes more than worthwhile. The daily deviled egg special put out by his son-turned-sous-chef Alex elevates the humble dish to a point where the once maligned dish has become Instagram fodder.
201 W South Main St
Waxhaw, NC 28173

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