QC Exclusive - No 78 - 2021 - Issue 6 - The Food issue

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The Quintessential Charlotte Luxury Magazine

A delicious menu from South End's VANA


Our top Charlotte restaurants you need to experience in 2021.

N O. 7 8 | L AT E S U M M E R 2 0 2 1

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FEATURE — 88 Let's Eat Our top 100+ Charlotte restaurants you need to experience in 2021.

NO. 78 / THE FOOD ISSUE 2021


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A Portrait of Defying The Odds Artist Nico Amortegui creates to inspire compassion.


All About The Art Visit the historical space for innovative creations: Dilworth Artisan Station.




Mother-Daughter Magic A conversation with Lily Sanford, owner of Lilbelle Boutique.


Fashion For The Discerning Eye A pop of color, an interesting texture, a subtle detail from designer Daniel Gonzalez.

Immersed In Art Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte at Camp North End.



A Southern Harvest At Supperland, church potluck meets Southern steakhouse for an upscale dining experience in Plaza Midwood.


Noble Smoke’s Chopped Pork A delicious plate of barbecue on Freedom Drive.


Dilworth Tasting Room’s Seared Tuna A tasty and refreshing appetizer.


Haymaker's Daytripper A colorful cocktail in Uptown.


The Royal Tot’s Rum Swizzle A taste of the Caribbean right in Charlotte.


23 36 34





Built To Last Charlotte luxury home builder Simonini celebrates half a century of service in the construction industry.


Curation & Craftsmanship Charlotte’s new decor destination reframes consumer culture.



A State-Of-The-Art Farmhouse Kitchen A Karen Kettler space shines.


Clean Lines A gorgeous Carolina Design Associates dining room.


Backyard Minimalism A stunning Myron Greer outdoor space.




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No. 78 In ten years of publishing our magazine here in the Queen City, we've had the pleasure of watching Charlotte's food and drink scene grow and evolve. I remember, not so long ago, when people talked or wrote about food cities in the South you'd hear about Atlanta, Asheville, Nashville, New Orleans, and Charleston. Charlotte would rarely be mentioned in the same breath. My, how times have changed. Despite all of the challenges our community's restaurants encountered (and endured) over the last 18 months, the city's culinary scene has arrived and is finally getting the attention it deserves. We've got James Beard Award nominees, Top Chefs, Bon Appetit "best restaurants," national television cooking contest winners, and an overflow of rising talent. It's such a nice thing to see — and taste — and it has been an honor to cover this evolution and blossoming! In this issue, we wanted to showcase the top 100+ Charlotte restaurants our staff here at QC Exclusive trust for a great meal and a proper drink. We visit the new Plaza Midwood restaurant Supperland, sip a cocktail from The Royal Tot, savor a Dilworth Tasting Room treat, experience a mustvisit Charleston luxury hotel (and eat at their delicious restaurant Frannie and the Fox), and explore Asheville's burgeoning food scene. It's an issue we had so much fun making and hope you enjoy! Let's cheers, to all of you—our beloved readers who have supported us for ten years—and to all of the hard working restaurant professionals, chefs, and owners in our city. Thank you for all you do to make Charlotte great. Sincerely, Jon-Paul Grice, Art Director Brett Barter, Publisher


EST. 2011






We welcome your feedback—both positive and negative—and believe it is very valuable in our constant pursuit to be better as a publication. We encourage all of our readers to contact us with any critiques, compliments, or questions by email at info@qcexclusive.com.

Brett Barter

1910 Abbott Street Suite 200 Charlotte, NC 28203

EDITORIAL Contact JP Grice by phone at 828-773-4922 or email at jp@qcexclusive.com.

ART DIRECTOR Jon-Paul Grice EDITOR Sunny Hubler

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A R T S • S T Y L E • W E L L N ES S

A PORTRAIT OF DEFYING THE ODDS Artist Nico Amortegui creates to inspire compassion. words ELEANOR MERRELL





Nico Amortegui grew up in Bogotá, Colombia amid a closeknit family of artists and creators. He moved to the United States at the age of 17 and spent a period of time living undocumented. This experience left an indelible mark on him, and now he creates in dedication to the underdog, for those defying the odds in order to live out their humanity or compassion. Here’s what he had to say about his artistic practice and the impact of his work. How did you successfully turn your passion for art into a career as an artist? I made time to create and the more I did so, the more it became a necessary daily practice. I think any career as a full-time artist requires a certain level of crazy, a slightly obnoxious level of tenacity, and no fear of failure. For me, it evolved in such a way that there was no other choice. What is the process like for you from the start to finish of a piece? Free flow paint slinging at first. The image is there waiting to be materialized. Maybe it sounds cliche, but it is definitely an energy I release in that moment. For my canvas pieces, I usually tap my


creativity with music and a little mezcal. In general, I have to move to think and I paint-dance my energy out. It’s a flow. I will absolutely do sketches for murals, but it feels completely different than creating paintings. You say you create portraits of people who have “defied the odds.” Who do you most want to paint next? I want to paint more women that are/were change makers. I think it’s important for my daughters to see. I should paint my wife for defying the odds and homeschooling them for almost a full year now! Where do you typically draw your design or artistic inspiration from? Traveling to new places is a big one for me. Folk art is almost an obsession. Art across indigenious and African cultures is fascinating to me and I love interesting architecture. A lot of what I paint is how I see symmetry and lines. What has been the most rewarding thing about what you do as an artist? Practically speaking, it’s being able to work from my home studio and be around for my girls.

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Artistically speaking, creating and having an audience to share my art with is amazing. The most rewarding is when people really connect with my art. I recently received a message from someone who walked into a gallery and had an impactful moment with one of my pieces. She wrote to me and explained how the piece affected her... It was completely humbling. As a self-taught artist, what are some of the greatest lessons you have learned throughout your career? I’ve learned not to take anything personal. No matter what you do, there will be supporters and haters, successes and failures. How does your work comment on current social or political issues? I identify with the struggle that various minority communities face. From injustices to discrimination, or lack of resources and opportunities, it’s an issue that bothers me and comes out in my work. Who are some of the artists or makers who inspired you? Artisans that have practiced their craft through familial generations is something I find truly amazing. I am also inspired by anyone that is determined to create. I met a ceramics artist in Mexico that was blind and his drive to create despite his disability was incredible.

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What does the future hold for you? Just to keep working and improving in all areas. I have plans to work with metal and create more sculpture works. info nicoarte.com / @nico_malo1




ALL ABOUT THE ART Visit the historical space for innovative creations: Dilworth Artisan Station. words ELIZABETH SALERNO

Located on 118 E Kingston Avenue, Dilworth Artisan Station is a historic building that houses a variety of artists as tenants. This factory-turned-arthouse has served many purposes throughout its life in South End, Charlotte. From furniture, textiles, and even storing soldier’s cars during World War II, this building has always had a specific purpose. Today, that purpose is curating and gathering the Carolinas’ best artists into one three-story building for the sole aim of creation. Formerly owned by the Fuller brothers, this art collective is now owned by Jay Levell and Erik Johnson, founders of White Point. Far from being the distant real estate firm that some



might associate with building ownership, Levell and Johnson are familiar with the culture of the Carolinas. Both received their education from the University of North Carolina and went on to successful careers in retail and business before co-founding White Point Partners. In order to benefit both the tenants and the artistic community, the new owners of Dilworth Artisan Station wanted to continue to celebrate the natural, historical structure of the building, allowing art to flourish. The space itself is a three story structure, which dates back to the early 1900s and is entirely brick and beam construction. This historical architecture in-


spires the artists, and according to White Point, many individuals are inspired by the “natural light, wooden floors, oversized columns, and beams” which create a natural “environment for artists to thrive.” In a neighborhood that changes as rapidly as South End, historical structures and natural lighting can feel like a boon to the artistic soul. Artists like Evelyn Henson particularly value what she calls the “creative hub” engendered by DAS, that allows “artists [to] engage with, learn from, and support each other.” Additionally, the very presence of Dilworth Artisan Station allows the public to interact with art and art creation in a completely different way than in a gallery setting. Because artists are actively creating in the space, and the space is open to visitors on weekdays,


the public can more easily participate in the creation of the art. The walls of DAS are covered with original art, allowing visitors and collectors alike to appreciate new pieces. The selection of artists might seem mysterious to the outside observer, but DAS’ “mayor” Paul Hastings regularly works with the leasing team of the building in order to coordinate new creators coming into the space. Due to the creative and artistic nature of the space, it’s entirely possible to run into new art purveyors due to word of mouth. New artists might think it impossible to make it into such a historical space, but Hastings implores “good technique” and “learn[ing] to use equipment and materials” in your craft is instrumental in any artist’s career.

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While each studio has separate “business hours,” you’re sure to find something exciting if you stop by DAS. Typically, although DAS caters to both large and small tenants, they celebrate the small tenants that occupy space within the building, as—according to the team at White Point, it’s the “small tenants who give the building energy and character that would otherwise not exist.” This small-tenant energy is doubtlessly a key point in the cultivation of new artistic voices in the Charlotte art scene, which allows individual creators and creations to be seen at leisure in this space. info dilworthartisan.com @dilworthartisanstation




IMMERSED IN ART Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte at Camp North End. words SUNNY HUBLER

photos courtesy BLUMENTHAL ARTS

Blumenthal Performing Arts and Lighthouse Immersive present Immersive Van Gogh, the highly anticipated exhibition bringing Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces to life through 500,000-plus cubic-feet of projections in Camp North End’s historic Ford Building. The show will also feature a paid residency designed for local artists to showcase their work in a unique space with the inspirational backdrop of Vincent van Gogh. “We firmly believe that Charlotte is ready to be a big city that has huge, international shows come here, and we would also like to recognize that we would be remiss not to highlight and uplift the immense local talent that exists in our beautiful, creative city,” said Bree Stallings, Blumenthal’s Director of Artistic Experiences. From the creators of the blockbuster exhibit seen by over two


million visitors in Paris and after a sold-out run in Toronto, Immersive Van Gogh will be presented in the historic Ford building at Camp North End, a state-of-the-art creative development that has been redeveloped for work, artistic expression, dining and hospitality, entertainment, recreation and community building. Designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi, with soundtrack by Luca Longobardi, the exhibit features over 500,000 cubic feet of monumental projections animating Vincent van Gogh’s oeuvre. Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte opens at Camp North End and will run through Sept. 12, 2021. info vangoghclt.com / @blumenthalarts



MOTHER-DAUGHTER MAGIC A Conversation with Lily Sanford, owner of Lilbelle Boutique. words ELEANOR MERRELL

In 2020, one of the hardest years in living memory to start a business, Lily Sanford rolled up her sleeves and opened the doors to Lilbelle Boutique in South End. It was the culmination of a lifetime spent in the fashion retail industry under the nurturing wing of an entrepreneurial mother. “While I’m the sole owner of the business, this was really a family effort,” Lily shares. “My older sister Caroline is an extremely talented graphic designer and responsible for my branding and many interior decisions. My oldest sister, Katie, helped me with business logistics and she accompanies me on buying trips. Her husband is a tech guru and graciously helped me with all things technology. And my mom helped me make this a reality. She saw my potential and believed in me from a young age and for that I’m forever grateful.” Despite the myriad struggles of the year, Lilbelle has emerged a thriving, brightly colored, and airy boutique, guided by a young



proprietor whose sunny disposition has the power to shine through others’ stormy days. Where are you from? I was born and raised in Connecticut. After living through too many winters, I ventured down south to Davidson College. I loved Davidson and knew I never wanted to move back north. You got your start working in your mom’s store at age four. How did that sculpt your passion for the fashion industry? I remember customers asking my mom, “...Are you sure she can ring me up?” and my mom was like, “Oh yeah, she’s more than fine. You’re in good hands.” I don’t think it really sculpted my passion for the fashion industry, as I’m not your typical fashion lover, but subconsciously it really helped my wardrobe (my closet was the go-to borrowing closet in high school and college) and sense of


style. Working at a young age for my mom taught me how to work hard and how to relate to people older than me. Retail isn’t that glamorous, so I’m glad the fashion aspect isn’t what sparked my interest in entrepreneurship. What did you do before you started working on Lilbelle? Right out of college I went through Belk’s Retail Development Program, where I was an assistant buyer in men’s clothing. I learned the ins and outs of how a business runs on a macro level and had some really cool opportunities to launch brands, such as Chubbies, which reignited my entrepreneurial flame. I left in the fall of 2019. Sitting at a desk ultimately wasn’t fulfilling my entrepreneurial needs. Serendipitously, my mom needed help running her incredibly successful boutique because she had seriously injured her back. I made a spur of the moment decision to move home for a year to learn from my mom in preparation of starting Lilbelle. It was the best career and family decision I’ve ever made. Opening a business in 2020 is no easy feat. It surely isn’t. I decided to open the store in the fall of 2019 before COVID-19 was a thing, so I didn’t really have an option not to open in 2020. I worked with my mom when the pandemic hit in spring 2020, and it taught me invaluable lessons as a business owner, like how to still serve your customers and be a bright spot when the world feels like it’s falling apart. While the rest of the world was shutting down, we maintained a strong presence in our small town, which didn’t go unnoticed. Quitting wasn’t and isn’t an option for me, especially when you’ve poured so much time into something and feel incredibly emotionally connected to it. As tough as things can be, I am as prepared as I could ever be. Why did you set up shop in South End? I lived in South End prior to owning the business and love it here; I rarely venture out of my little bubble. I also felt that South End


had so many places to eat and drink, but nowhere to shop so it just felt right. I also really love that the area is walkable! What sets you apart from other Charlotte boutiques? Well, for one, I am in my shop every single day… right now at least. I want to cultivate personal relationships with my customers, because honestly that’s why I love what I do. I love when customers keep coming back just to see what’s new and update me on their lives! There are plenty of places in Charlotte that you can go to get a cute outfit. Describe a typical Lilbelle customer. Honestly, I’ve had so many different types of customers and I love that. I don’t love to target a certain age group, but rather like to attract a lifestyle. I attract the woman who buys with a purpose, whether she’s going somewhere (granted there aren’t many places to go in 2020) or she simply wants to update her seasonal wardrobe. Describe the process of building the business. Who did you work with to make it a reality? In terms of the build out for the store, I have to thank Kazebee Design for helping me with the architectural layout of the store and to Fine Grit for making our vision of my built-in fixtures come to life. I hired Balfour Beatty as my general contractor, which was the best decision since we literally share a wall. The storefront (which wasn’t a storefront prior to Lilbelle) was painted by the insanely talented Jen Hill. She captured my bright, tropical aesthetic with the mural outside!

info shoplilbelle.com @shoplilbelle





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FASHION FOR THE DISCERNING EYE A pop of color, an interesting texture, a subtle detail from designer Daniel Gonzalez. words ELEANOR MERRELL

Daniel Gonzalez is the newly minted owner of Daniel Gonzalez Designs. His is one more name on the list of fearless Charlotte entrepreneurs who possessed the unwavering dedication necessary to open a new business in the midst of a pandemic. Daniel Gonzalez crafts custom and made-to-wear, handcrafted fashion pieces that are sleek, artistic, and rich with subtle details. He releases two major collections annually—spring/ summer and fall/winter—but took a break from the studio to share his story with us. Where are you from originally? I am originally from Colombia, South America. My parents moved to the United States in 2001 with the hope of creating opportunity for my brother and me that didn’t exist in Colombia.



When did you become interested in design and fashion? In 2010, I was dancing professionally and my partner needed new ballroom costumes for our competitions. We were pouring all of our financial resources into training and competition travel. I decided that I could figure out how to make beautiful costumes for her. What started out of necessity quickly became a passion of mine, leading to designing and creating wedding gowns and evening dresses commercially. Is this your first business? Leading up to the recent launch of my brand, my primary business was teaching ballroom dancing and running a ballroom dance school for kids. As my passion for fashion and design have continued to grow, I have focused more exclusively on my brand.













How did Daniel Gonzalez Designs go from an idea to a business? When Covid hit I took the time to pivot and launch my ready-towear business, taking advantage of the slower pace to truly understand the business, our product, and all of the steps involved to get from first inspiration to the DGD woman wearing her piece.

a celebration of the powerful women in our lives, and I named each piece after an important woman in my family. Pulling inspiration from vintage army jackets, I took traditionally masculine components of the army jackets and added them to traditionally feminine silhouettes.

Who are some of your early style inspirations? Cristóbal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel have been my greatest inspirations. I’m attracted to sublime, timeless styles that communicate a culture and style while also pushing the norm in their time.

How do you see Charlotte's style and where do you fit in? I think the Charlotte fashion scene, while small, is quite exciting. I do believe we are the only fashion atelier in town that creates luxury custom gowns as well as ready-to-wear collections. I also pride myself in offering a more cosmopolitan style. Many of the stores currently tend to be drawn to beautiful florals and ruffles, while our style is defined by solid colors and sleek lines.

How would you describe your client? My client is the powerful, chic, artistic woman. Her closet spans from timeless, elegant, and luxurious pieces she wears in a business setting to colorful fashion forward pieces she wears in her time of leisure. Our client also appreciates the importance of supporting slow fashion, her local economy, and artists. She's a woman many look to for answers and inspiration. What is the inspiration behind your collections? Clarity, color, and culture. I gravitate towards timeless shapes and structures, clothing that could be worn through the ages, not just a single three-month season. I want the colors we use to speak for themselves. For our debut collection, I was inspired by the current women's empowerment movement. Our clothes are


Do you source from or use any local vendors? The only aspects of the brand that are not local are our fabrics and packaging. Everything else including design, production, and marketing are all done locally. What are your hopes for the future of the business? I aim to one day become a global brand with retailers all over the world. We plan to begin with a strong local presence and contribute to an exciting fashion scene in Charlotte. info danielgonzalezdesigns.com / @danielgonzalezdesigns




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A SOUTHERN HARVEST At Supperland, church potluck meets Southern steakhouse for an upscale dining experience in Plaza Midwood. words SUNNY HUBLER /





In 2009, the year Jeff Tonidandel opened Crepe Cellar in NoDa, he had no prior restaurant experience. Together, Jamie Brown and Jeff (business and life partners) now own and operate Growlers Pourhouse, Reigning Donuts, and Haberdish, and well over a decade later, Charlotte has been graced with the opening of the duo’s fourth sit-down restaurant: Supperland. Located in Plaza Midwood, the upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge opened its doors officially in early 2021. Way back in a 2017 interview with us about Haberdish’s opening at the time, Tonidandel explained that the team was “trying to [re]create the handmade family meal that you would have after church on Sundays.” With Supperland, Jamie and Jeff furthered that mission


by going one more step and actually opening inside of a renovated church building with a menu that playfully pays homage to potluck-style dining. Opening right on the heels of the end of 2020 put even these seasoned restaurateurs to the test, but with Supperland and the Bar at Supperland officially serving, Charlotteans have a new upscale dining destination that stands apart from any of the city’s other offerings. “When we opened, it felt like utter elation... Anytime you do something like this and people show up, it's just an incredible feeling,” Jamie said. “This is a smaller family operation, there are a lot of options in this city, and we've been in the midst of a pandemic, so of course there were doubts and uncertainties.”


“It's like a living, breathing piece of art that unites the physicality of food and flavors with the unquantifiable senses, feelings, and emotions of each individual who walks in the door.”

THE HISTORY — Jamie and Jeff first stepped into the 1212 Plaza Midwood church building years ago, well before it was a feasible project. The space was rugged, but Jamie and Jeff saw huge potential in a restored building with two separate structures. “It was a chance to think bigger and create something really special for our city using our unique talents.” As the duo courted the space, it became clear there would need to be extensive remodeling done first. Don Peadon, of Peadon Finein Architecture, led the structural changes and planning, and Jeff and Jamie did the interior design themselves. The attention to detail is everywhere: custom designed plates, tables handmade from NC hickory in the owners’ garage, icon drawings on the menu by Jamie herself, and even hymnals in the backs of the pews that came as a donation from Myers Park Methodist Church and have been hand-spray painted.


THE MENU — Supperland, like Haberdish before it, has a menu as grounded in history as the space itself is. Jamie and Jeff researched Southern cooking, of course, but also studied traditional church potluck, as evidenced in menu items like the sausage gravy croquettes or the franks and beans. “As far as ingredients go, we certainly take liberties,” Jamie says. “But, we always try to circle back to Southern roots; you'll find local produce, regionally-sourced items and dishes with a little history in the church genre.” FreshList helps Supperland source the freshest local produce. Even items you might not think of as “local,” like the miso from American Miso Company in Rutherfordton, NC or the sustainable farmed NC caviar, are all coming from just a short distance away. The menu was created to be shared. The dishes are served in larger portions to allow for that communal feeling of sharing food around a table.


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When it comes to the star of the show, the entrees, the first thing you can expect is a large, open-fire show kitchen where most of the proteins are cooked. Think local seafood, Prime steak, whole chicken, and more. “Jeff really wanted to explore fire cooking,” Jamie explains. “There isn't a beast of a grill like this in Charlotte so it was a way of distinguishing our menu and then also challenging our Executive Chef, Chris Rogienski, with a new type of cooking.” THE BAR — For both Supperland’s own bar and “the Bar at Supperland” (housed next door in the separate building next to the main restaurant) mixologist Colleen Hughes brought over Rhea Buck, one of the bartenders at Haberdish. The two women create and craft the beverages at The Bar, and most of the cocktail menu is the same from the bar to main dining. Expect creative drinks built off well-known classics. Every drink is creatively made and meant to feel like it's a special occasion. Colleen is intentional about the ingredients, the sourcing, the flavors, the glassware, the colors, the presentation and the garnishing. One unique item is the highball machine, which allows the bar team to serve up simple, carbonated, refreshing drinks with subtle herbal and citrus notes, like the Toki Highball on tap over the summer. The Toki uses Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky, soda water, sliced grapefruit, grapefruit bitters and sage.


There are a few specialized drinks that will only be found at the Bar at Supperland, but mainly what it offers that’s different is a more cocktail lounge-feel in a smaller, more intimate setting than the main restaurant. THE FUTURE — Supperland’s emphasis on experience is well-timed for the post-pandemic diner, craving something we truly can’t create for ourselves at home. “A restaurant is closer to the entertainment business in my mind,” Jamie says. “It's an interactive exchange with hundreds of different touchpoints. It's like a living, breathing piece of art that unites the physicality of food and flavors with the unquantifiable senses, feelings, and emotions of each individual who walks in the door.” Supperland was an ambitious project to be certain, and is sure to continue to push forward the face of Charlotte’s culinary scene. It’s stunningly designed, thoughtfully executed, and upscale—like the Tonidandel/Brown’s other restaurants, we expect it will also continue to evolve, both seasonally and in keeping with the duo’s ever creative and visionary nature.

info supper.land @supper.land

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Noble Smoke is food by name and pursuit. Local restaurateur Jim Noble established this new spot in town as a library of Barbeque knowledge in its combination of meticulous research with years of bbq dreams (and a healthy dose of Texas rivalry). Made using just salt, pepper, and pork, the chopped barbecue is smoked

for eight hours and then served with Eastern vinegar sauce, emphasizing the natural taste of the pulled pork in its simplicity. Located off Freedom, Noble Smoke Barbeque makes ample use of its spacious, tall, brickwalled building that invites comfort and community, all centered around the pursuit of good barbeque.

— info — noblesmokebarbecue.com / @noble_smoke

— info — cuplux.com / @cuplux


D E A N ’ S I TA L I A N S T E A K H O U S E






If there’s anything Dilworth Tasting Room knows how to do, it’s set an atmosphere. This place perfectly blends the casual with the sophisticated and has a place for everyone, whether that’s outside on their premier patio dining area or indoors at their speakeasy-style bar. DTR's menu is just as versatile as their space, featuring everything from flatbreads to seafood. The seared tuna in particular stands out as a beautiful entrée. Encrusted with pistachios, this tuna is seared to perfection and served alongside a bed of arugula with avocado and tobiko. The arugula adds earthy notes to the dish, while the fresh wasabi cream adds a bold kick that brings out the best in the tuna. Visitors can order this at DTR in SouthPark alongside a glass of wine or cocktail. — info — dilworthtr.com / dilworth_tasting_room


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As a restaurant that’s always specialized in bringing out the best of the Appalachia and Piedmont regions’ seasonal offerings, Haymaker always has something new in the works. Their cocktail menu features both new concoctions and beloved staples alike, such as the Day Tripper. The Day Tripper pairs the smooth Tito’s Vodka with soda water, rosewater, lemon, and hibiscus syrup—all garnished with edible flowers sourced locally. This beautiful floral drink provides a well-rounded experience that’s fulfilling both visually and aromatically. Plus, as one would expect from anything off the Haymaker’s menu, it tastes excellent. The different floral notes all contribute to a drink that’s as unique as it is pretty.

— info — haymakerclt.com / @haymaker_clt


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Where cutting-edge innovations meet timeless designs, Cadenza brings any homeowner’s unique requests to life. Driven by passion and solutions, Cadenza’s team of experts make it happen. We are Charlotte’s experts for countertops, fireplaces, and shower surrounds.

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Located at 933 Louise Ave, The Royal Tot, opening late this summer, will be an experiential cocktail lounge serving tropicalinspired food and drinks. The Royal Tot is a multifaceted spot that will include an interior bar, patio, rooftop deck with sweeping skyline views, and a private event space. The Royal Tot is named for the Queen’s Navy’s tradition of giving a daily ration of rum to its sailors. With that in mind, reaching for the Rum Swizzle there is always a solid choice: Made with Bacardi Cuatro and Velvet Falernum, the swizzle is topped off with fresh lemon and lime, Demerara sugar syrup and spiced with a dash of Angostura bitters. — info — theroyaltot.com / @royaltot


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BUILT TO LAST Charlotte luxury home builder, Simonini, celebrates half a century of service in the construction industry. words ELEANOR MERRELL portrait JAMEY PRICE photos of homes COURTESY SIMONINI




Simonini Homes has been a staple of the Charlotte area for nearly 50 years, spanning three generations and is now under the direction of the Owner and President John Tammaro, Founder Alan Simonini, and their Strategic Team consisting of COO Gus Pappas, President of Renovations Bob Pugh, President of Luxury Neighborhoods Walter Nichols, Director of Commercial Construction Carlos Carreno and Comptroller Mark Pennline. The company, which builds custom homes, creates luxury neighborhoods, and executes renovations throughout the Queen City, has thrived over the past half century. This is as much due to its commitment to high quality results as to its outstanding customer service, which can — dare we say — make the building process fun and low stress. John, Alan, and Gus took a moment to tell the QC team about Simonini’s origins, evolution, and greatest hits.

What sets you apart from other custom home builders in the area? John: I give my clients many options so they have enough information to make an educated choice. I never want them to come back to us and say we did not think of something. I am direct, to the point, and want the best results for my clients.

What inspired you to start Simonini? Alan: I worked for my dad, Al Simonini, right out of college. Ray Killian and I bought my parents out and went on to become America’s Best Builder 2002, National Housing Quality Award 2004 and 2010, National Builder of the Year 2006, and inducted into the Residential Design Hall of Fame 2010. I started Alan Simonini Homes in 2010 with John Tammaro after seeing an industry that was lacking the design, quality control, and good customer experience that other businesses were able to master. We continue to strive for the best possible design, quality, and customer experience to this day.

What are the main reasons you have been able to make it through all of the changes in industry, economic struggles, etc? Gus: The main reason we are able to make it through the challenges and changes that face the home building industry is the fact that we deliver on what we say we will. Exceptional building practices, unparalleled attention to detail, and a genuine interest in partnering with our clients to provide a great experience are the cornerstones of our business. All of this rests on the shoulders of our amazing Simonini Team, a group of individuals working tirelessly to deliver the best.


Gus: The Simonini Team looks for ways to improve and streamline processes, whether they relate to the physical construction of the home, the decision making for the finishes of a home, or the communication involved to pull it all together. Ultimately, we are in a partnership with our clients, one in which we hope to foster trust so that we can build a relationship that is built to last well beyond the completion of construction.

HOME & DESIGN You have a great relationship with real estate professionals in and around Charlotte, how have you fostered those relationships? Gus: Our real estate community is one-of-a-kind. We are blessed that there are so many knowledgeable and hard-working real estate professionals in Charlotte. We often host events or visit their offices to talk about what we have to offer. We also rely on our area agents to provide us with feedback so that we are on top of what clients are looking for in the market. Simonini prides itself on its repeat clients, what is it about the Simonini experience that keeps customers coming back? Gus: Let’s face it, home building and home renovations are difficult, even for those that have experience in building or renovating a home. Keeping that in mind, our team strives to find new ways to make it a better experience for our clients. We look beyond

“We continue to strive for the best possible design, quality, and customer experience to this day.” the construction of the project. It is someone’s home, a place where they will come to unwind after a tough day, a place where they will raise their family, a place where they will entertain their friends, and a safe place where they can comfortably live their lives. Alan: I believe we do a good job of making the building process low stress and fun. John: The praise that sticks out to me the most is, “I can always count on you guys to be there for us, even in year 10.” Our clients invite us to birthday parties and various events, which says a lot to me about the team's involvement with the client. We become part of the client’s family. info simonini.com / @simonini_homes









Charlotte’s new decor destination Nave reframes consumer culture. words ELEANOR MERRELL / photos courtesy NAVE photos by ANTHONY EYNARD & KYO NAM

Beth Peterson and Griffin Gullickson are the mother-daughter team behind Nave, Charlotte’s emergent decor and furniture store. The grand opening of Nave, near Freedom Drive, was the culmination of a lifelong dream from Gullickson and Peterson. “My mom and I have talked about having a store together for as long as we can remember,” says Griffin. “And the great thing about working together as a mother-daughter duo is that we speak telepathically at this point. The challenge is that it’s all we talk about.” Both women have an eye for design. Peterson is particularly adept at technique painting and, through trial and error, has learned to recreate any finish with any medium. On the other hand, Gullickson is a creator in her own right and found her way into the Charlotte art scene via block prints and natural dye textiles.


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“Both of our design backgrounds allow us to help customers make their purchases based on design and what's best for their space,” Beth explains. This is integral to Nave’s mission. Peterson and Gullickson sense the way spaces evoke feelings, and they have a keen eye for how subtle changes to a place can influence its vibe. Gullickson and Peterson also want to challenge customers to rethink the kinds of purchases they make. In our current age of mass production, it’s easy for many Americans to devalue the objects around them. The Nave team hopes to inspire shoppers instead to intentionally curate pieces in their home that have a rich history and that homeowners will be motivated to keep and to pass on to their descendants. “We want to inspire people to create a home that they love


going to,” says Griffin. “The day-to-day can begin to be mundane. Why not make your home a place that tells a story?” To help customers tell that story, Gullickson and Peterson scour trade shows, auctions, and antique barns for pieces to add to their store’s carefully curated selection. They also source from lifelong-friendsturned-vendors, trade shows, local artisans, and international distributors. They offer a wide selection of sourced goods, in addition to pieces that the mother-daughter pair makes themselves. Plus, the Nave team is always ready to order or create new pieces specifically tailored to a customer’s space. As seamless as the customer experience at Nave is, running a business is far from a walk in the park: “We’re both artists and we both have ADD, so we tend to only want to focus on the creative side,” explains Griffin.

JL ayton Int erio rs



Jlaytoninteriors.com @jlaytoninteriors 704.506.6159 2500 Distribution St. Suites 10/11 Charlotte NC 28203


“The day-to-day can begin to be mundane. Why not make your home a place that tells a story?” The two split the business decisions equally and know when and how to put their heads down and grind for the sake of their shared business. The result of their constant hard work is a beautiful business that’s sure to make a splash in Charlotte, a place where artistry, craftsmanship, and design combine in a well-curated destination. info navefinds.com @navefinds


Sophisticated Design, Personal Approach.

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This South Charlotte home was built in 1969, and the kitchen and dining area were remodeled in 2020 to introduce some much-needed updates. Karen Kettler began by removing a wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room, arranging the bones of a space more conducive to living and entertaining. The greatest challenge in constructing the new kitchen was finding a way to accommodate the clients’ list of desired appliances while still preserving the openness of the kitchen. A 60" wide refrigerator; 48" wide range featuring a steam oven, induction, and six-burner gas cooktop; wine store column for 92 bottles; and bever-

age fridge for drinks all found their way into the space. Karen incorporated double islands (one with a live edge from Kauffman and Co.) to provide a work space for cooking and entertaining at the bar, as well as enlarged windows at the dining banquet to give a better view of the pond in the backyard. Cabinets from Touchstone Fine Cabinetry enhance the usability, while tile and countertops from Harkey Tile and Stone and lighting from Ferguson add style. The end result is a state-of-the-art kitchen with a beautiful farmhouse aesthetic that functions well for both cooking and entertaining.

— info — karenkettlerdesign.com / @karenkettlerdesign




A large, round table takes center stage in this dining room from Carolina Design Associates, staking its claim as the centerpiece around which the rest of the room was designed. Clean lines take precedence in the furniture, while the draperies and Couture

Knot Tamarian rug offer texture and elegance. Tall custom cabinets provide ample storage and a pop of color that complements the Phillip Jeffries wallpaper. A bold Currey and Company chandelier rounds off the aesthetic.

— info — carolinadesignassociates.com / @carolinadesignassociates coutureknots.com / @coutureknot




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As a part of the greater Charlotte community since 2002, Myron Greer Garden Design remains at the forefront of crafting expertly designed, gorgeous, personalized outdoor spaces for discerning clients. Owner Myron Greer has always had a strong passion for landscapes: His parents were gardeners and he worked at a young age on his grandparents’ farm.

This project, completed in 2018, was Myron’s effort at updating a dysfunctional pool and waterfall. He replaced it with a pet-friendly, artful, and newly low maintenance backyard space. He used a clean line, minimalist approach to create this courtyard garden and yard. It’s the perfect complement to the stunning home, and an ideal way to make the most out of the Carolina weather.

— info — myrongreer.com / @myrongreergardendesign


Blue Ridge Mountain Club embraces a lifestyle centered around community and exceptional hospitality. Gather with family and friends and enjoy a life well-lived with unique indoor and outdoor dining experiences that are second to none, surrounded by the

Expect Exceptional Two Hours from Charlotte • World-Class Amenities • 50+ Miles of UTV & Hiking Trails Four-Season Community Near Blowing Rock • Three Paths to Ownership Homes from $800k | Homesites from $150k

Schedule your Discovery Tour to begin a life well-lived. ExploreBRMC.com | sales@brmountainclub.com | 828.520.8901

exquisite Blue Ridge Mountains. Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This information shall not constitute a valid offer in any state where prior registration is required. © 2021 Blowing Rock Resort Venture, LLC.



THE NEW HOME OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY Take a visit to one of Charleston’s newest luxury hotels: Hotel Emeline. words SUNNY HUBLER and SLOANE WICK photos courtesy of Hotel Emeline




If Southern hospitality had a single home, it would be Hotel Emeline. The beautiful, historic hotel is nestled in downtown Charleston, right by the market, and offers a unique blend of oldfashion Southern charm and modern luxuries. The creators of the boutique hotel experience imagined Emeline as a person; well-traveled, a collector of items from all over the globe, and the preeminent hostess, ready to hand you a cocktail and usher you into her sitting room. The hotel playfully weaves that idea into the entire stay, creating a place that feels equally suited to the out-oftowner and to the Charleston native, looking to nestle up in Clerks coffeeshop or sip a glass of wine in the courtyard of Frannie & the Fox, the on-site restaurant and bar. The building incorporates various local vendors, from Smithey Ironware to the Urban Electric Co. fixtures, and while it was fully renovated, retains much of the charm of historic Charleston through thoughtful design choices.


Once inside the rooms, of which there are more than 200, the amenities include custom embroidered linens and towels from Matouk, Signature Emeline soft-water room mist from Red Flower, and custom ceramic vanity accessories crafted by Susan Gregory, a talented Charleston artist. All rooms even come with Crosley turntables, custom vinyl records and a highly versatile dining or workspace. Emeline’s hospitality doesn’t stop at the individual suites, either: The hotel offers a breathtaking outdoor courtyard and greenhouse, still and sparkling water stations in every corridor, a valet parking service, a concierge service, a fitness center and a dry cleaning service. Emeline even has some amenities for furry, four-legged travelers! If you can bring yourself to leave the rooms and your snuggly robe, the dynamic area around Emeline brings its own history and luxuries. Frannie & the Fox downstairs presents a wood-burning, Italian-inspired concept of shareable dishes and craft cocktails.

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The restaurant extends outdoors with a twinkle-light strewn courtyard and an event space behind it, nestled out of view. Emeline is in one of Charleston’s most prime, walkable locations, right off of Market Street. Tempest, an upscale sustainable seafood restaurant, is only a three-minute walk away from the hotel, and Carmella’s bakery and Kaminsky’s dessert cafe are both around the corner for after dinner treats. From there, using Emeline’s bicycles or on foot, you can also experience Charleston’s infamous Pineapple Fountain at the twelve-acre waterfront park. The site even won the 2007 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Speaking of beautiful views, Rainbow Row is also worth a stop: This distinctive line of colorful Charleston houses is amongst the most picturesque and well-known spots in the entire city. No matter what brings you to the Holy City, Hotel Emeline provides ample access to whatever it is you’re seeking, and a reliable place to return to time and again. info hotelemeline.com @hotelemeline


Gather Your Imagination The Elegance of Candle Light: Romance has taught us that no source of light can replace the mysterious beauty of a candle

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An Italian Style Eatery with True Hospitality. WOODFIRED PIZZA





TR AVEL Left: Jargon | Right: Hole Donuts

For a date night — The Admiral A small, nondescript concrete building evokes “divey,” but this place is anything but. Known for its small plates and the chefdriven, creative menu, The Admiral offers a rustic, wholesome dining experience with a globally-inspired palate. The Market Place Chef William Dissen serves up American farm-to-table food in an eclectic space in downtown Asheville. The locally sourced menu changes frequently, and the food is as unique as it is delicious.

FOOD FORWARD No matter what type of dining experience you’re seeking, we’ve got you covered for your visit to Appalachia’s culinary capital, Asheville.


words SUNNY HUBLER photos JAMEY PRICE or JP GRICE or courtesy of the restaurant

It’s easy to love Asheville: The mountain-town-meetsurban scene, with its endless views and cooler temps, make the short two-ish hour drive from Charlotte feel like a real getaway. Home to about 100,000 full-time residents, Asheville is beloved for another of its characteristic offerings: the food. From bars to bites, gourmet to street food, Asheville has been dominated by creative, challenging, and changing chefs of all kinds. And, as tends to happen in all great foodie cities, each neighborhood is emerging with its own type of distinctive style. Whether you gravitate toward casual dining, gourmet experiences, Southern comfort food, or the greenest vegan fare, we’ve got you covered with the best Asheville has to offer this year. And trust us: You’ll want to come hungry.


Gan Shan West This frequently packed out eatery is an interesting melding of Asian-fusion and Appalachian fare. The team offers a diverse array of noodle dishes and a seasonally-evolving menu. Sovereign Remedies This imaginative cocktail lounge also offers a seasonally-driven food and drink menu featuring whatever is being harvested from area farms. Expect bright herbs, fresh produce, and plenty of options for both dine-in and take-out. For the health-nut — BimBeriBon If you like your health food to actually taste delicious, check out this organic, globally inspired eatery, serving a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even a bakery, barista, and a bar. There’s organic meat and eggs, as well as plenty of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian eats, too. Plant Just north of downtown, Plant serves an inventive all-vegan menu that’s also roughly 90% organic and mainly gluten-free in all of its offerings.



A Magliocca Co.



TR AVEL Green Sage The food at Green Sage (with three locations around Asheville) is all carefully-picked: it’s always nutrient-rich, chemical-free, 95% organic, and thoughtfully-sourced. The menu is also impressively extensive, and the team serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, juice and smoothies, sweets, coffee and more. For the beer lover — Archetype Brewing Company Asheville has long been known as a brewery destination, and West Asheville has been quick to capitalize on the popularity of the hoppy beverage. Archetype boasts a large, open taproom with regular live music, events, activities, and outside space. Sit down with a glass of craft beer and watch the brewers at work in the 10-barrel brewhouse. UpCountry Brewing UpCountry Brewing is a perfect place to gather craft beer, local music, and for getting outside. With a large backyard, intimate indoor seating, and a generous space for live local music, UpCountry Brewing serves a wide variety of craft beer styles while providing a full brewpub food menu. For the Southern food lover Biscuit Head Southern tradition meets unique flavor combination at this couple-owned, biscuitheavy brunch spot. The team sources as much produce and products from local farms and suppliers as possible and recycle everything they’re allowed. For the experience-seeker — Jargon Inside a cozy historic building in West Asheville is this unique “melting pot” dining experience, featuring creative, locallysourced dishes, many of which are meant to be shared. Chai Pani Chef Meherwan Irani’s homage to Indian street food is a forever favorite in the heart of downtown Asheville. Perfect for a snack or a full meal, Chai Pani features


Clockwise from top left: Gan Shan West, Haywood Common, Rhubarb, Archetype

bright, modern Indian flavors and twists on classic street dishes. Hole Donuts All of the doughnuts are made from a single, yeasted dough recipe. Doughnuts are always made-to-order right in front of you and served piping hot. You can also enjoy a hot cup of coffee freshly roasted by their neighbors at PennyCup Coffee for a perfect breakfast or midday snack. RosaBees Located in the River Arts District, RosaBees offers up a marriage between savory Hawaiian classics and sweet, inventive pastries. Expect everything from poke and saiman noodle soup to cinnamon sugar banana lumpia and black sesame shortbread. For the grab-n-goer — West End Bakery West End Bakery on Haywood is a long-time neighborhood staple, serving up breakfast all day with their assortment of homemade baked goods. You

can also pick up a loaf of hand-made bread, house sandwiches, or pastries. The team uses only high quality ingredients, sourced from many local farms, with no preservatives. Taco Billy If you’re up early and have a craving, this family-owned taco joint dishes up some of the best breakfast tacos around. They set themselves apart with organic ingredients and authentic flavors, and make for a perfect graband-go West Asheville meal. Standard Pizza Co. This casual pizza place dishes up a mix of classic and unusual pizza toppings plus a few other dishes, making it perfect for a night in or lunch on-the-go. The Rhu The younger sibling to John Fleer’s dinner restaurant, Rhubarb, serves a wide selection of breakfast sandwiches, salads, bowls and more, plus a full coffee menu. Swing by to start your day or post up with your laptop for the morning.


LET'S EAT Our top 100+ Charlotte restaurants you need to experience in 2021. words SUNNY HUBLER, BR ANDON MITCHELL , AND DANI BOYE T T photos JAMEY PRICE, THE PLAID PENGUIN, and KYO H. NAM



THE EXCLUSIVES Orto If you’re looking for a fine dining experience that offers authentic Northern Italian cuisine, Chef Paul Verica’s latest restaurant is the place for you. Featuring simple, fresh housemade pastas, traditional handcrafted pizzas, salads, and sandwiches, Orto is now open in the heart of the NoDa art district. The Fig Tree Restaurant Tucked away in a restored 1913 Craftsman bungalow, The Fig Tree brings upscale, innovative dishes and an abundant wine list to the Elizabeth area. With the staff’s exceptional service and culinary knowledge, you’ll be in great hands during your seasonal French and Italian-inspired meal and glass of wine.


Haymaker Bustling with Uptown’s energy, Haymaker offers farm fresh fare and crafted cocktails with an emphasis on sustainable meats and heirloom ingredients from Chef William Dissen. Open Wed-Sunday, this eatery also showcases a weekend brunch menu.


The Charlotte food scene has expanded rapidly, bringing exciting newcomers and at the same time solidifying the place of Charlotte’s longtime staples, quietly elevating the food scene and preparing it for its expansion over the span of many years. From casual dining on Lake Norman to food stalls in Camp North End or fine dining in Plaza Midwood, these are our top restaurants, cafes, and eateries — in no particular order — to head to this summer. Plus, we’ll tell you the restaurants you should keep an eye out for once they open later this year. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s eat. —

Kindred Located in historic downtown Davidson is Chef Joe Kindred’s unique take on Italian meets New South cuisine in a beautiful setting. With a menu that rotates daily, there are always new flavors to try here. The team behind Kindred goes to great lengths to source the best ingredients available for both their food and drink menus through their large network locally, regionally and beyond. Bardo This 45-seat South End restaurant is intimate enough in size that Chef Michael Noll can focus on every detail that goes on each plate, and you can expect to see the same attention in each cocktail as well. The menu features eclectic, American small plates with surprising flavors and pairings.


Vana When visiting VANA, the experience is just as important as the dish. VANA is the Sanskrit phrase for “wooded area in forest,” and the restaurant is true to its name. Almost all the furniture, decorations and plating are wood-crafted. Even the food is cooked over an open wood-burning fire. Barrington’s Chef Bruce Moffet’s high-end, locally sourced New American restaurant in the heart of SouthPark is one of Charlotte’s staples and has been for quite some time now. It is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or try some of the most consistently delicious and creative food in the city. Peppervine Nestled in Charlotte’s SouthPark neighborhood, Peppervine delivers outstanding gourmet food and over 3,000 bottles of wine to choose from in an elegant setting where world-class art rotates on exhibit. This is the spot to head for your next celebration or date night. Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen This staple of SouthPark is known for its wood-fired techniques and Southern flavors. Start with the chicken wings, move on to the short rib or hanger steak and enjoy a ton of sides family-style —think mac and cheese, butter beans, corn, peas, spinach and more. Soul Gastrolounge The menu at Soul is eclectic, to say the least, covering everything from sushi to wings to spanakopita. It’s a tricky feat for a chef to pull off, but the team at Soul does it and does it in style.








The Cellar at Duckworth’s The underground gastropub is equipped with exposed brick walls, low ceilings, and, of course, speakeasy vibes. The Cellar has a large selection of rare and specialty beers, all served at the appropriate temperature, or try one of their carefully curated cocktails made by the master mixologists behind the bar.

no other. Counter- adds excitement to fine-dining where food is not only paired with wine, but with music.

The Stanley Chef Verica uses a combination of classic and modern cooking techniques to create a unique gastronomic experience. The Stanley's menu changes daily and with the seasons. No matter what time of year you decide to stop by, their food is sure to excite and inspire.

Fine & Fettle Coffee house by day and gastrolounge at night, Fine & Fettle is the perfect place for a drink whether you need to energize your day or relax after work. Come for brunch and enjoy both. With seasonal locally-sourced Southern dishes and cozy, intentional design, this home-turned-restaurant in SouthPark will impress at any point in the day.

Noble Smoke Slow-cooked premium beef, pork, and poultry smoked over hickory coals is the inspiration for the name and menu of this Jim Noble creation. A smoked main paired with a Southern side and followed by Heath banana pudding makes for an unforgettable BBQ meal. CounterA concept that started as an epiphany birthed by an old Kanye West album has turned into a re-defined way of fine dining in Charlotte’s Wesley Heights neighborhood. Sam Hart’s Counteris a reservation only, themed, 10 course dining experience like

Stagioni Tucked inside a Tuscan revival mansion in Myers Park, Chef Bruce Moffett’s beloved Stagioni proffers unrivaled Italian fare in an elegant but cozy setting.

O-Ku O-Ku provides the freshest fish from the world’s finest producers and markets for its sushi. It’s no surprise that this contemporary spot set up shop a few years ago in South End, one of Charlotte’s most popular neighborhoods. AQUA e VINO Italian born and trained Chef Gabriele Grigolon draws from career experiences in Milan, Monte Carlo, Paris and the U.S. to bring Charlotte the experience of a Northern Italy boutique


restaurant. With traditional European flare and modern Mediterranean specialties, you can peruse the course and cocktail offerings with the promise of quality and authenticity. Fahrenheit With unparalleled views of the city above the Skye Condos in Uptown, Fahrenheit offers guests tasty craft cocktails, a New American cuisine-inspired menu, and the chance to cozy up to one of their large, glass outdoor fire pits. Hello, Sailor From the playful name to the East vs. West coast oysters, paired opposite one another with images of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G, Hello, Sailor is for more than just satisfying your appetite for good seafood. Hit this fun, fresh spot, and you may not be able to say goodbye easily. Leah & Louise Swing by Camp North End for a bite at Leah & Louise, a Mississippi-inspired, modern juke joint dishing out deliciously inventive concoctions from James Beard-nominated Chef Greg Collier.



Bonterra Dining & Wine Room Housed inside what was an 1800s Methodist church, Bonterra now offers Southern delicacies—like the baked pimento cheese starter featuring roasted shishito peppers, Benton’s bacon marmalade, and wood grilled flatbread— within its historic walls. Make sure to check out one of their special wine pairing events. Haberdish NoDa’s Haberdish is characterized by elevated Southern fare in an elegantly industrial setting. The drink menu is just as strong as the food, and features original craft cocktails shaken, stirred, and poured from a 1950’s style soda fountain-inspired bar. Mama Ricotta’s Mama Ricotta’s has been a Charlotte staple since 1992. Frank Scibelli delivers fresh, homestyle Italian with this original concept. Mama’s menu features new recipes (spicy shrimp and mussel linguini, organic spaghetti and wagyu meatballs) and old-fashioned ones (lasagna, chicken parmesan, and penne alla vodka) with options for individual or familystyle presentations. Futo Buta South End's Futo Buta is the go-to destination for flavorful, inventive ramen, donburi, raw bar options, and steamed buns in an upbeat, funky environment. This is not your college dorm room ramen. Hot tip: order the rice crispy squares. Good Food on Montford The small plates have allowed the chefs at the popular Good Food to fully flex their creative spirit. In the case







of this restaurant, the name says it all: Look no further for minimalist luxury dining that spares no room for anything that is not delicious.

fers an eclectic, chef-driven mix of traditional and innovative American dishes inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish cuisines and a global wine list.

Supperland This renovated Plaza Midwood church may no longer be a place of worship, but its elevated Southern dishes will make you feel a little closer to heaven. An open-fire stove sits in place of the former Pulpit. With potluck-style dishes and welcoming staff, a meal at Supperland is like having an afterservice dinner at your grandma’s... That is, if your grandma were an experienced chef and mixologist.

Stoke Find Stoke inside Charlotte Marriott City Center, but don’t mistake it for your typical hotel restaurant. Here, you’ll find scratch-made plates dished out of an open kitchen and made from rustic flavors and local ingredients.

The Jimmy The Jimmy is the latest addition to owner Jim Noble’s impressive roster. The restaurant will be open all day in Italian trattoria and Mediterranean bistro tradition. Offerings will include coffee and pastries by Copain in the morning and light Mediterranean-inspired dishes at lunch. For dinner, expect dishes such as Neapolitan-style pizzas and handmade pastas. Copper Copper’s upscale Indian cuisine located in the heart of Dilworth is certain to make your heart skip a beat. Although Chef Naveen Sadana’s food is a modern interpretation of the classics, traditional techniques do not go unnoticed here. Their menu is divided into a modern and traditional section allowing you to experience both styles uniquely. Mico Mico is the perfect place for Charlotteans seeking an elevated dining experience. Located in the Grand Bohemian Hotel, the restaurants’ sophisticated interior will impress guests even before they get a chance to look at the menu. Despite the elegant ambiance, Mico’s dishes remain affordable making it amazing for date night or a special occasion. For each meal, the restaurant provides unique, carefully crafted dishes that pay homage to its Argentinian heritage. Osteria LuCa Opened in early 2020 in Park Road Shopping Center, Osteria LuCa is authentic Italian with an open setting, floor-to-ceiling windows, long marble bars. Enjoy the view of your pizza and antipasti being made. Dilworth Tasting Room Located in a 1940s era building in none other than Dilworth, this charming wine bar has much to offer. Enjoy craft cocktails, local beer, or wine under the string light lit patio for a perfect low key date night or gathering with friends over sips and small plates. Customshop Housed over on Elizabeth Avenue, this modern trattoria of-

Harriet’s Hamburgers As if you needed another reason to check out Optimist Hall, Harriet’s is open and serving up hot and fresh patties daily. With three different burgers to choose from (or two for the kiddos) that use only the best ingredients. Red Salt Chef David Burke’s Red Salt—a play on his patented Himalayan sea-salt dry aging process— is an unconventional approach to American dining. Located in Le Méridien Hotel, even the walls of Red Salt have Burke’s touch featuring some of his original artwork. Known for his gruyere popovers, lobster dumplings, and (of course) salt-aged steak, Burke’s creations will make your mouth water before you’ve even entered the doors. The Pickled Peach The Pickled Peach is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a wide variety of items for many different dietary needs. Their menu includes farm-to-table sandwiches and salads, as well as a variety of baked goods, coffees, and drinks. They also offer customers the unique ability to purchase groceries and take-home dinners so you can bring The Pickled Peach home with you. Beef ‘N Bottle Steakhouse Since 1958, Beef ‘N Bottle has been a Charlotte institution, gaining the attention of USA Today and consistent recognition on their Top 100 Steakhouses in the country list. Whether you're a local or in town for business, this quaint spot is a must for a great steak. RH Rooftop Restaurant Formerly Dean & Deluca in SouthPark’s Phillips Place, RH Rooftop Restaurant can be found above Restoration Hardware’s modern collection store. With its stunning views and stylish atmosphere, sit back and enjoy a lobster roll and truffle fries over the best peach bellini in Charlotte. Dogwood Southern Table Grab a drink or bite at this stylish SouthPark Southern-leaning restaurant. Enjoy local ingredients in a setting where rustic meets chic. In addition to a perfect date night dinner spot, we recommend trying a cocktail flight and hanging out during their brunch hours.


Flour Shop Bar style seating surrounds an island of chefs and creators perfecting their crafts and bringing it right to you. Watch in person as pasta is made from scratch, bread is baked, and dishes are orchestrated, all while experiencing the results: an incredible meal that delivers the freshest and most wholesome meats and produce local farms have to offer. McNinch House Celebrate like royalty in this historic Fourth Ward home for a multi-course culinary journey. Featuring set and tasting menus of high-end multicultural courses, the McNinch House is the perfect choice for your next special occasion. Expect more than just a meal: This is an experience for an unforgettable evening. La Belle Helene Inspired by 19th-century French architecture, La Belle Helene features a gorgeous pewter-topped bar, luxurious leather banquettes, and a brasserie-inspired menu. Recently acquired by the 5Church team, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this eatery.



Ace No. 3 Sometimes less is more—at least that’s what Andrew Chapman and Paul Manley, owners of Ace No. 3, swear is the key to the best burger. The signature Ace burger features two thin patties, American cheese, onions, pickles, and comeback sauce, or opt for a build-your-own option. This isn’t the place to skip out on a sweet treat, so be sure to indulge in a classic shake before leaving! Crepe Cellar This NoDa neighborhood hangout has a cool, laid-back vibe and both a great dinner and brunch service. At Crepe Cellar, you almost have to stick to what the team does best—not because everything on the menu isn't stellar (it is), but because the crepe isn’t their namesake for no reason. Bar Marcel Bar Marcel brings a splash of Europe to SouthPark with cuisine inspired by French, Italian, and Spanish flavors. Expect scratch-made dishes, local products, and an extensive wine list. The Crunkleton The Crunkleton is a stylish bar with attentive service, and each visit will be different. Specialty cocktails and curated spirits served with style are their specialties. Crunkleton opened its Charlotte location in 2018 in historic Elizabeth and offers live fire cooking and weekend brunch. Whether dining or drinking, there is something for everyone. The Asbury Located in the historic Dunhill Hotel, Executive Chef Mike Long brings a modern twist to this Southern restaurant. The


Asbury serves locally sourced food, lending its menu to some exciting daily changes. Their brunch is outrageously good— sticky biscuits with pimento cheese gravy, banana pudding pancakes, warm banana nut bread stuffed with chocolate ganache, and deviled eggs. The Goodyear House Another 2020 addition, The Goodyear House serves Southern fare under the watchful eye of Chef Chris Coleman, whose name may sound familiar from his stint as Director of Culinary Experience at Charlotte Marriott City Center or from his time competing on Food Network’s reality TV series Chopped. Kid Cashew Kid Cashew is one of the best lunch spots in Dilworth. With a wide variety of Mediterranean meats and vegan options, you’ll want to try something new each visit. The meat is never frozen and is always cooked on a wood-fire grill. The rustic decor and affordable prices give the place a simple charm that’ll make any customer feel right at home. Sea Level This bustling seafood restaurant at the Hearst Tower in the heart of Uptown serves signature dishes using sustainable and local catches. Enjoy a rotating seasonal menu and plenty of fresh picks on a bustling outdoor patio.

Indaco Indaco, at Atherton Mill, delivers delicious, rustic options such as hand-crafted pastas, wood-fired pizzas, house-made salami and cured sausages. Enjoy the menu family-style or a la carte, and indulge your senses with the open kitchen, large windows, and array of Italian wine varietals. Plant Joy This 100% vegan restaurant in Camp North End serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Plant Joy was created by talent from Nourish, a food delivery service. The Dunavant The Dunavant introduced a bottomless steak and fries concept to the ever-hungry patrons of South End. Their curated menu also includes weekend brunch, small plates, elevated entrees, and a bounty of delicious appetizers. Aliño Located in Mooresville, this pizza spot is well worth the drive. Expect a counter serve setup with a large outdoor patio. Aliño offers wood-fired pies, salads, and fresh gelato. Superica These days, there are many restaurants duking it out in South End for Charlotteans’ dinner business. Do yourself a favor and put





Superica at the top of your to-visit list for a tex-mex experience characterized by fresh ingredients and tantalizing tastes. Intermezzo A rare little spot, Intermezzo is an informal restaurant offering a mix of Serbian and Italian dishes such as Serbian cabbage rolls, pizza and schnitzel. Cajun Queen Located in historic Elizabeth, Cajun Queen is a 100-year-old house that proudly features live music upstairs, dining downstairs, and is open seven days a week serving authentic New Orleans cuisine. Gallery Restaurant Housed inside The Ballantyne, this restaurant underwent a massive renovation in 2013. The result over the years has been an innovative and sophisticated dining spot that serves inventive American cuisine with a farm-to-table bent. Barcelona Wine Bar Barcelona’s seasonal tapas menu and impressive wine list bring the best of Spain right to your table in the heart of South End. The menu shifts frequently but you can never go wrong opting for a charcuterie board and wine flight. 5Church Charlotte 5Church is owned and operated by Chef Jamie Lynch. His restaurant deserves a trip for more than just Jamie’s star power; the lamb burger is a beloved Charlotte favorite, and the nightlife experience is unparalleled in Uptown. Fin & Fino Fin & Fino brings you so close to the sea you can almost feel the salty air, but not so close that you might get your shoes wet. The dining room is beautifully done and inviting, the menu changes constantly to incorporate the seasons and the freshest catches, and the wine list is catered to complement every single dish. Alexander Michael's Also known to locals as Al Mike’s, this beloved pub is located in the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood of Uptown. Their signature dishes include the “What It Is” with blackened chicken breast over fresh rotini in a Cajun cream sauce. Sweet Lew's Sweet Lew’s is perfect for those craving real North Carolina barbecue. Located in Belmont, you can expect to find authentic barbeque using hickory, pecan, and peach woods to smoke their recipes, giving it a unique taste. Enjoy classic sides like mac and cheese and collard greens. Papi Queso Charlotte loves this grilled cheese food truck and Optimist Hall stand. They rotate their decadent grilled cheese sandwich options and, naturally, serve up a fresh, bright tomato soup.

Baku Baku, on Sharon Road in SouthPark, is an upscale, stylish Japanese eatery that features innovative dishes and fresh sushi rolls all prepared in an open kitchen. Bossy Beulah’s Sammies like their Beaut and Cheesy Beaut as well as the hot thigh sandwich make this a true destination for people who love Southern-style chicken. Add in their Bossy Bites, fries and hand pies, and you have a true destination on Freedom Drive. The Suffolk Punch Like the horse, The Suffolk Punch is a jack of all trades. A brewery, coffee bar, restaurant, and taproom all in one, this is a great place to work or meet friends for food and drinks. Their menu changes with the season; from local greens to flatbreads to shrimp po’boy tacos, pair any meal with one of their signature cocktails (like the Rosemary Paloma) and you are in business! Oh My Soul Oh My Soul opened early in 2020 in NoDa to the excitement of vegetarians across the Queen City. The South African-owned establishment specializes in vegetarian dishes using ingredients grown in its on-site garden and has all the charm needed to turn this gem into a neighborhood staple. Yafo Located in three different spots in the Charlotte area, Yafo is a fast-paced kitchen with Middle Eastern-style street food. The restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly options alongside eclectic meals such as the shawarma-spiced rotisserie chicken, hummus with organic chickpeas and homemade items like pickled vegetables and hot mezze sides. Inizio With its Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked to perfection in a woodfire oven, Inizio’s multiple Charlotte locations are unrivaled. The owners import ingredients from around the world for an authentic experience and pizzas are made from scratch for every order. Eight & Sand Turn to Eight & Sand if you’re looking for a place to enjoy a nice, warm sandwich for brunch or dinner. You can also pair it with a coffee or a specialty drink, ranging from wines to mimosas. Eight & Sand is located near to the New Bern Station light rail stop, making it easy to stop by and grab a snack or coffee to start your day. Rhino Market Offering craft beer, fine wine, breakfast, and some of the best sammies in the Queen City, Rhino Market’s got it all! In addition to their diverse selection of food, they have a bunch of local goods available for purchase. King's Kitchen This non-profit restaurant and bakery in Uptown serves up some


of the best Southern fare in the city including a mouthwatering bowl of shrimp and grits. Heirloom Farm-to-table, locally sourced and sustainable eats at the touch of your fork; The menu at Heirloom features an ever-evolving six course tasting menu along with some staples like a charcuterie plate made with NC Farm and Orrman’s Cheese Shop cheeses. Barrel And Fork This quaint Cornelius spot serves up delicious steaks, creative plates, and delicious craft cocktails. We like to sit on the beautiful porch or sip around the firepit! 300 East 300 East is a family-owned restaurant that’s been serving the Dilworth community since 1986. Their menu is locally sourced and offers a variety of seasonally-driven New American style choices.


The Waterman The Waterman prioritizes sustainable seafood sourcing and relies heavily on Paul Manley’s extensive network of ethical sea farmers, not just for ingredients but also for mission and ambience. With its rooftop views, chilled cocktails, and perfectly refreshing menu items, it’s an easy favorite. The Dumpling Lady Zhang Qian— better known as The Dumpling Lady— brings a taste of Sichuan to Charlotte. Although dumplings might be part of her brand, Qian would recommend the noodles as her favorite. With a location in Optimist Hall as well as a traveling food truck, there’s a reason The Dumpling Lady has long been a Charlotte staple. Bottiwalla Botiwalla brings Indian street food to Charlotte’s Optimist Hall. Let the sweet and savory aromas fill your senses and transport you. Their menu highlights Chaat (street) food options so good you’ll want (and have) to lick your fingers after indulging. Flower Child Flower Child has sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free options on their menu and everything is made from fresh, local ingredients. Sit back and enjoy the creative and colorful atmosphere with a fresh lemonade in hand. Craft Tasting Room This Tasting Room believes “craft beer and good food go hand in hand.” We couldn’t agree more—Craft’s alternating 36 beers on tap and food combinations exclusively feature locally sourced beer, cheese, meats, and pastries. Dine in and enjoy all they have to offer while watching a movie on their outside projector screen during the warm months.


Roots Cafe This South End café is cozy and tidy with lots of natural light and greenery. In classic café fashion, customers place their order at the counter, choosing from a selection of salads, bowls, and handhelds on the lunch menu or all-day breakfast items and pastries. The menu changes frequently as seasons shift and the crowd favorites include the savory BLT with an egg, breakfast burritos, and grit bowls.

charming dining room, and contemporary American dishes in an intimate space.

Midwood Smokehouse Good barbecue is hard to find in Charlotte, but this Plaza Midwood staple is the exception. Midwood Smokehouse has everything you’re looking for when it comes to good old-fashioned barbecue. The restaurant takes pride in cooking their meats the traditional way, but that hasn’t kept them from putting their unique spin on dishes.

Luce Ristorante & Bar Nestled in Charlotte's First Ward at the base of Hearst Tower, Luce is a beloved spot with a wide range of seasonal, Italian cuisine. Expect handmade pastas and fresh daily entrees and seafood dishes.

Bistro La Bon Don’t let its unassuming exterior fool you. At Bistro La Bon, every dish is meant to be an edible work of art. Once inside, the restaurant’s regal interior design will make you forget that you are next door to a Five Guys. If you want to impress without the busyness of Uptown, this is the place for you. Fern, Flavors of the Garden Fern is one of very few 100% non-meat establishments in Charlotte. Located on East Boulevard with a large patio and an inviting arrangement of greenery inside, you can expect an elevated vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free selection for lunch and dinner, plus a mouthwatering weekend brunch menu. Angeline's Tucked away into the side of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, stepping into Angeline’s is like stepping into Charlotte’s last hidden culinary trove. Blending North Carolina’s local ingredients with Italian flavors and techniques, Angeline’s food and drink are a perfect pairing, and while the welcoming atmosphere may draw guests inside, it’s the inspired menus that will make them stay for more. 204 North Kitchen & Cocktails Offering refined but approachable dining in Uptown, this New American restaurant features fresh, local food alongside an impressive list of wines, local beers and handmade cocktails. It's the perfect complement to a night out in Uptown. Dressler's Dressler's is the flagship for Rare Roots Hospitality Group, now with two locations in Birkdale and Midtown. Expect upscale steaks and inventive New American fare all served in a stylish, modern setting with a patio. Bernardin's An Uptown staple, Bernardin's sits across from the Levine Center for the Arts, the upscale restaurant features an arched ceiling,

The Capital Grille As you'd expect, Charlotte's outpost of The Capital Grille offers the best of classic American fare and an extensive wine list, all in a buzzing, upscale setting. Sit on the porch and take in the hustle and bustle of Uptown for yourself.

Thai Taste Located on East Boulevard, Thai Taste dishes up delicious Thai classics and a variety of lunch specials each week at a budgetfriendly price point. OGGI OGGI is a modern-day classic Italian restaurant with an emphasis on artfully crafted food. OGGI is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week, making it a go-to neighborhood spot for the whole family. Living Kitchen While the emphasis at Living Kitchen has always been on serving up fresh, plant-based eating in a stylish setting, Living Kitchen’s menu has a variety of options and flavors intended to appeal to all types of eaters. Open for breakfast through dinner, they also make smoothies, a variety of different coffee and tea beverages, and cold-pressed juices. Dot Dot Dot Located off Park Road, Dot Dot Dot is a Prohibition-era, speakeasy-style cocktail bar with a menu of upscale, shareable plates. Get your membership and head here on the regular. The Porter’s House The Porter’s House has created a contemporary, guest oriented dining experience. The chop house-style restaurant offers everything from 36-ounce Prime Porterhouse steaks to beef tartar and lobster ravioli. Indulge in their diverse selection of wine and craft beer to lend yourself to The Porter’s House experience. The Loyalist This is the place for people who love trying new things— especially those who like charcuterie boards paired with wine (or beer). This locally sourced culinary experience will leave you with knowledge of where everything in front of you came from and how to identify the unique characteristics of cheese. Yama Yama is a culmination of some of the best sushi in the Queen City,


THE EXCLUSIVES an impressive Sake list with some of the rarest bottles on the planet, beautiful restaurant design and ambiance, and amazing service.

sandwich with pickle and garlic sauce, or for plant lovers, a veggie plate that includes tabbouleh, falafel, lentils, grape leaves, spicy potatoes, an eggplant and tahini dip, and of course, hummus.

Little Mama’s Italian New from FS Food Group, Little Mama’s is the sister concept to Charlotte’s beloved, long-standing Mama Ricotta’s. Go for the beautiful bar, the home-style Italian cooking, and the fresh twists on classic favorites.

Alchemy C3 Lab With a selection of vegetarian focused dishes and locally sourced options for omnivores, Alchemy is a restaurant, bar, and entertainment venue in South End.

Crepe Cellar This NoDa neighborhood hangout has a cool, laid-back vibe and both a great dinner and brunch service. At Crepe Cellar, you almost have to stick to what the team does best—not because everything on the menu isn't stellar (it is), but because the crepe isn’t their namesake for no reason.

Lincoln Street Kitchen + Cocktails The deviled eggs and wagyu at dinner are a must, but brunch is where Lincoln Street shines. With a rooftop patio that looks into uptown, unique twists on classic cocktails, and the egg sando, piled high with pimento cheese, you'll mark this place as a "see you again soon."

Lincoln's Haberdashery Not only is it a spot for amazing sandwiches, desserts, breakfast staples, and much more., but it's got to be one of our favorite places just to hang out!

Opening Soon — Trolley Bar Fermentory Trolley Barn is located on the Rail Trail, making this a prime location to enjoy great beer and food with friends. The food hall will include indoor and outdoor seating as well as a second-floor mezzanine and patio with views of Uptown.

Yume Located in South End, Yume is a great place to start a night out with friends. Their sushi and ramen are authentically crafted, but won’t break the budget. Brooks Sandwich House Established in 1973, this burger and hot dog joint located in the heart of NoDa is known for their stellar grab-and-go options. Family owned and operated for almost 50 years, stop in to see why people have been returning for decades. New Zealand Cafe Bringing the tastes of the South Pacific to Charlotte, New Zealand Cafe’s Asian fusion offers a variety of seafood and sushi options. Lang Van Lang Van is a beloved little gem of a Vietnamese restaurant Uptown that well accommodates vegetarian and vegan eaters. The pho is a top menu item. Panca At Panca, in South Charlotte, dishes are made to order, and traditional Peruvian drinks and desserts are handcrafted on site. Panca emphasizes street food in a fast-casual environment. Calle Sol Latin Café and Cevicheria Inspired by their love of traditional Latin food, Calle Sol aims to diversify the Latin food scene in Charlotte and serves traditional food based on the Cuban and Peruvian neighborhoods in Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. Kabab-Je This Mediterannean grill offers the freshest, flavorful tastes of the Middle East. Their menu features a grilled chicken shawarma


Batch House After closing temporarily due to flooding in 2020, owner Cristina Rojas-Agurcia has found a new home at Station West, connected to an outdoor plaza. It will have all the treats beloved by the original location, including the layered brownies, oatmeal creme pies and draft lattes. What the Fries What the Fries is relocating from the food truck to a brick-andmortar in South Charlotte. Chefs and co-owners Jamie Barnes and Greg Williams will serve loaded gourmet fries, handmade tots, homespun milkshakes, and burgers. Night Swim Not Just Coffee and Undercurrent Coffee are combining forces to create Night Swim Coffee, a local coffee roastery and cafe. Projected to open late summer 2021 in Lower South End, Night Swim Coffee will be the official roaster for two Undercurrent locations and all six Not Just Coffee locations. Dean's steakhouse This Italian steakhouse opening late Summer in uptown Charlotte will serve up homemade pasta and delicious cuts of meat including 100% American Wagyu in a modern, rustic space. Milkbread From the dynamic duo of Joe and Katy Kindred comes Milkbread, the third of the Kindreds’ restaurants. Opening later this year in Davidson, Milkbread will offer all their baked goods like the infamous milk bread donuts, plus vegetable bowls, salads, coffee from Summit Coffee, and a selection of beers and wine.





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From tasting menus to creative New American to amazing cafe cuisine and more, these are some of our standout culinary experiences in the Queen City.







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bardo South End bardo /'bɑːdəʊ/ (in Tibetan Buddhism) is defined as the transition or state between death and rebirth. The restaurant was designed carefully with that integral concept in mind: An experience, not just a place to come and eat, where guests' transformation is bardo's goal from the moment of your entry to your exit. The chef-driven, eclectic, American small plate concept in Charlotte's South End neighborhood was developed by two friends, Managing Partner Jayson Whiteside and Chef Michael Noll. In the three-plus years it has been open, the dynamic, intimate restaurant has served as a thoughtful venue for

Dinner Tuesday - Saturday Tasting Menu Beverage Pairings

New American


1508 S Mint Street

Charlotte NC


Charlotte’s food lovers to explore some of Charlotte's most innovative cuisine and cocktails. True to form, the team switched things up once again in October of 2020, unveiling a revamped interior and a tasting menu-only format that emphasizes Chef Noll's technique and exquisite attention to detail. The shift allows the kitchen and bar staff to put out the absolute best food and drinks while guests sit back and enjoy the experience, amplified by an open view of the kitchen. The menus (food and drink) change item by item, usually on a weekly basis so bardo regulars always have something new to try and experience.




VANA South End VANA, in Sanskrit, refers to the “wooded area of a forest," a theme reflected throughout the entire concept at this South End restaurant. Wood is an integral part of the food and drink program and thoughtfully woven through elements of the unique interior. This second concept from the team behind bardo opened last year to offer the same level of creativity and excellence, but in a different, more approachable format. VANA is an opportunity for Whiteside and Chef Noll to have a bit more fun, by focusing on American family-style meals cooked on the fire hearth and wood-fire oven. VANA’s menu changes on a weekly basis, according to what’s in season and freshest. When you dine there, it is likely the dishes you order won’t be available ever again. At

VANA, like bardo, the team doesn’t stick to a singular, specific cuisine or food region; rather, they cook the best ingredients the best way they are able. “This allows us to be versatile in the techniques and flavor combinations we choose,” Executive Chef William Underwood explains. From the front of the house to the back, the whole crew has worked tirelessly to create a memorable experience and to continue to push the food scene forward through an incredibly challenging year. Everyone has an equal role to play, as Chef Underwood puts it, including the dishwashers who “do the hard and tedious work every day to make sure everyone else on the team looks good… If it weren’t for them, we couldn’t do what we love.”

Open 7 days a week Small Plates Cocktails

New American • 1440 S Tryon Street • Charlotte NC • 980-949-6106 • @vanasouthend • vanarestaurant.com


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estled in the South End neighborhood, ROOTS Café is a cozy, inviting locallyowned eatery. Owner Craig Barbour is a third-generation small business owner who spent years honing his culinary skills. After training at Johnson & Wales and apprenticing under Chef Bruce Moffett, he opened ROOTS Food Truck in 2011. In 2015, he added to the ROOTS name with his catering service and shortly thereafter, opened the café in 2017. ROOTS maintains a true farm-to-table approach by sourcing the freshest ingredients from local Carolina farms, Fresh List Charlotte, and from local farmers markets. The dishes at ROOTS, like the savory BLT, breakfast burritos, and grit bowls, are in-

2135 Southend Dr #109


Charlotte, NC •


spired from Southern traditions and often influenced by the chefs’ own backgrounds, too. The café is well set up for a quick, graband-go meal or to stay awhile. There are outdoor tables, and inside you can expect plenty of natural light and greenery. The menu features a selection of salads, bowls, all-day breakfast items and pastries, plus café drinks and local kombucha. The menu changes frequently as seasons shift and staff members flex the creative freedom that Barbour offers. Chef Craig also works to support other local small businesses in the Charlotte area through various hosted events, and he encourages each member of his team to inspire events and menus for ROOTS Café and Catering, too.






en and Tricia Martino are the husband and wife co-owners of Osteria LuCa, Charlotte’s new Italian restaurant in the Park Road Shopping Center. The restaurant opened in January of 2020 and is the Martinos’ second Charlotte venture, following the success of TRUE Crafted Pizza in Ballantyne. The star attraction of the menu at Osteria LuCa, a stylish but still family-friendly spot, is the woodfired pizza selection. Available with red or white bases, Osteria pizzas






feature innovative toppings and sophisticated cheeses. The menu also includes an expansive appetizer list, and, of course, no Italian restaurant is complete without a selection of pasta dishes. At Osteria, options include ricotta ravioli, pappardelle bolognese, and cavatelli with lamb sausage and rabe. The wine list is entirely Italian, featuring small production bottles, and both traditional Italian and modern American cocktails are also available.





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ucked into one of the most desirable locations in the buzzing South End neighborhood, right across the street from Atherton Mill, sits The Wine Loft. Close to the light rail and walkable to Dilworth, The Wine Loft is a beloved, longtime staple known for its 20-plus wines by the glass, innovative small plate menu, weekend live music and a large, popular patio. The Wine Loft was recently purchased by The Menagerie Hospitality Group, led by owner Daniel Weiss. The team’s emphasis is always on friendly reception, guests’ enjoyment, and providing a memorable experience. The Wine Loft embodies that ethos perfectly in an upscale, but approachable lounge setting. Wheth-

2201 South Blvd #120


Charlotte, NC


er you’re going for a date, after-work bite, or with friends, this spot makes for an ideal neighborhood hangout. Chef Kyle changes the menu frequently and seasonally, serving up plates like pan seared pork belly, pomegranate burrata, and seared yellowfin tuna. The wine, available by the glass and the bottle, comes primarily from smaller estates with limited production, and the team chooses the selections for their approachability and great value. You can also order local beers and craft cocktails, and the rotating weekly specials include Sunday brunch, $24 wine flight Wednesdays, and half-price bottle Thursdays.






hef Jim Noble, the restaurateur behind some of Charlotte’s most popular restaurants, including Rooster’s and King’s Kitchen, hit Charlotte with a one-two punch in 2019 by opening barbecue destination Noble Smoke and then his chicken-sammy heaven, Bossy Beulah’s, just months later. Noble’s great aunt Beulah is the namesake for this newest venture, and to create the menu mainstays, he borrowed the recipe his family’s used for generations. The main attraction is The Beaut, with a hunk of Joyce Farms chicken dipped in buttermilk, hand-breaded, and sprinkled with a

dash of seasoning. Topped with housemade pickles and a smear of Duke’s mayonnaise, this sammy is nestled in a toasted potato bun. The Beaut hits that no-nonsense, soul food spot, as do Bossy’s other offerings, including The Cheesy Beaut, Bossy Bites (hand-cut and breaded nibbles of chicken breast) and simple sides like salad, slaw, and fries. Bossy Buelah’s feels like your favorite diner: fast service, no frills, low key vibes, good food, and good people. Enjoy your meal on the patio or mosey over to the beer garden that separates Bossy Beulah’s from Noble Smoke on Freedom Drive.











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