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Charlotte Area Suggestions

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  • Hermosa Beach Girl Oct 17, 2005 06:03 PM
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My husband and I will be moving from LA to Charlotte in less than three weeks. I'm been trying to read about the restaurants in the area but have seen very little and was hoping to get some suggestions.

We are in our mid-twenties and will be living short-term in NoDa until we buy our house.

We tend to like fun, hip or quirky restaurants. We aren't into chains or stuffy environments. (So even if the food is excellent, we won't like the place if we feel like we have to be on our most proper behavior.)

So far I've heard about a place in NoDa that has fish tacos and we've put that on our list. I think we went to Village Tavern on our last trip. It was a place in Dilworth.

Any unique places we should check out. Mainly dinners and perhaps breakfasts. All price ranges. Food types - we eat just about everything except indian.

To give you an idea of the places we liek..We have a favorite breakfast place in LA where we can eat in a garden patio and enjoy our breakfast and coffee. Our favorite neighborhood restaurant is a small plates place where we pile up appetizers during the 2 for 1 happy hour and enjoy wine. Our favorite special occasion restuarant is an organic restaurant set in the woods with tables next to the creek with all candlelight. We also love loungey type places.

Any help is much appreciated. I know we won't have the culinary options we are used to, but there have to be some gems in Charlotte, too.

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  1. Where in Charlotte are going to be located?

    18 Replies
    1. re: michael b
      h
      Hermosa Beach Girl

      We will be living short term in NoDa, but will be looking to buy a home soon. We are looking in Midwood, Myers Park, Dilworth & the Elizabeth areas.

      We'd love to find things in any of those aras, but we don't mind travelling, either.

      1. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

        I would recommend a search using Brent K as the primary resource for info and myself as a much more minor one.

        1. re: michael b
          h
          Hermosa Beach Girl

          Well, I think I have read almost every post about Charlotte for the last 2 years. That being why I posted a new thread.

          You guys have some great suggestions, but it seems most of what I have found for Charlotte revolves around BBQ, is upscale or was posted a while ago.

          Just looking for some fresh ideas that haven't been posted.

          1. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

            Here are a few, mostly inexpensive, ideas for you:

            The Diamond (Plaza/Midwood) - old fashioned meat and three

            Anntony's (Elizabeth) - Jamaican

            Hawthorn Pizza (Elizabeth) - NY Style pizza

            Snoops (Elizabeth) - Burgers

            Lupie's (Elizabeth area) - chili and burgers

            Price's (Dilworth) - fried chicken take out

            Pike's Soda Shop (Dilworth) - diner-style food

            Copper (Dilworth) - upscale Indian

            Restaurant i (Dilworth) - upscale Japanese fusion

            Welcome to Charlotte!

            1. re: brentk

              Brent - do you REALLY like Price's? I tried it again for lunch today. I just don't get it. The place was MOBBED but there wasn't much meat on the chicken I got.

              1. re: southernitalian

                It's been a few years but I always enjoyed Price's chicken.

            2. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

              Kinda confused because there is NO good BBQ in Charlotte but here are some good places near where you're temp staying and then looking to move.

              Cabo Fish Taco- NoDa area, great stuff.

              Sole-East Blvd-Spanish food.

              Mai-Best authentic Japanese in Charlotte

              Price's Chicken Coop-Best fried chicken in CLT

              Phatt Burrito-huge burrotos and great on site made salsas.

              Southend Brewery for the beer only

              And across the street is a great little holee in the wall for burgers...Mr. K's

              Ru San's is a crazy but low cost place for sushi...you may love it or you may hate it.

              Patout's is a great French bistro.

              Rhienland house is a great German place.

              My fav place in town is Hotel Charlotte.

              Arthur's is the best place in town to buy wine. Ask for Robert Balsey. World of wine or some such has a bigger selection and lower prices but no one knows what is in the place.

              Blackhawk Hardware is the place for door pulls and the like for fixing the place in Dilworth.

              I prefer Dilworth Coffee to Starbucks and Caribou...all are on East Blvd.

              1. re: michael b
                h
                Hermosa Beach Girl

                BBQ - you're right. Most of those posts were just NC posts that seem to revolve around BBQ a lot.

                Thank you both for all of the suggestions. The LA Chowhound board is quite expansive and I have become dependent on it.

                The wine store suggestions will come in handy, too. In California there are quite a few great places to get cheap California wine if you know what you like. I will definitely need new wine haunts.

                We can't wait to start exploring in Charlotte! Thanks again for all your thoughtful suggestions.

                Dilworth Coffee is added to my list, too. I always love a good local coffee shop.

                1. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

                  Since you are interested in wine, another good place is The Wine Shop on Park Road. Both Arthur's and The Wine Shop have regular tastings so you will want to get on their email distribution lists.

                  If you are interested in craft beer, the Mellow Mushroom in NoDa has one of the best selections in town.

                  1. re: brentk

                    Arthur's is owned by the Balsey brothers whom I will admit to having known for over thirty years. The Wine Shop is owned by Frank Redd whose family lived down the road from me when I was a kid.

                    The Wine Shop is in the same shopping center as Ru San's, Rhienland Haus and next door to thee shopping center that has Patout's Bistro. By the way, best runner's store in town is in the same shopping center as well as the best British grocery in town. The whole strip mall is only about eight to ten stores. Just across the road is a great bicycle shop.

                    I still order my case loads of wine from California from The Wine Club. Basically add about $3 per btl for shipping but the selection and cost makes it worth while.

                    http://www.thewineclub.com/info.html

                    1. re: michael b

                      Patou's has moved to East Blvd in Dilworth (and is worth adding to the recommended list, now that I think about it) and CCA British Foods has moved to South Blvd.

                      Michael, you need to get out more :-)

                      1. re: brentk
                        h
                        Hermosa Beach Girl

                        Wow, you guys are a wealth of knowledge.

                        I've been stocking up on all my local favorite wines to take with me. There is only so much I can safely pack in our car with two large dogs, though.

                        My husband is a cyclist and I'm athletic (not avid enough to consider myself a runner) so those other stores will prove helpful, too.

                        And one other question. Not sure if you guys know Raleigh at all, but we are die-hard Goodberry's fans. Any ice cream or custard places in Charlotte worth visiting.

                        Thanks!

                        1. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

                          There's a Maggie Moos on East Blvd but I can't comment on it, I only eat ice cream once or twice a year.

                          1. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

                            Alas, there is no custard. I am a fan of Rita's which is big in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast (and unfortunately open only in the summer months), but I have been unable to find any custard in Charlotte.

                            I am an ice cream junkie. Some of my favorites are Maggie Moo's -good but pricey, Steak and Shake (way south on South Blvd)-best chocolate milk shake in town, decent greasy fast food burger too, and my standby (because they are all over town) is DQ blizzard.

                            It seems all us chowhounds must live in Dilworth because we mention a lot of the same places. Some of my standards are: Penguin for burgers (sometimes Showmars-also all over town), Caribou coffee on East, Portofino's for inexpensive Italian (down park near Tyvola), Copper or Bombay Grille for Indian, Thai Taste (as of late they have stepped it up) also on East, Village Tavern is okay for mainstream inexpensive dinner options, they also have outdoor (fountain nearby) seating, popular for after work drinks.

                            If you like Ethiopian, there are two places near Dilworth-Eskerem and Red Sea. I have found no decent Chinese. Other Asian not mentioned here would be the Fuse Box uptown and Restaurant i (Brent probably suggested it).

                            I also like LaTorre's uptown, Brixx for pizza, Trio's is okay for pizza, sandwiches, middle of the road entrees. I like Cantina 1511 on East for Americanized Mexican (same guy owns Mama Ricotta's- popular Italian restaurant on Kings.) I haven't seen any other opinions on here of it. I know a number of folks on here can recommend the more authentic taquerias located mostly on South.

                            Welcome!

                            1. re: jlw

                              There is a Rita's Custard opening in Mooresville. Unsure of timing.

                            2. re: Hermosa Beach Girl

                              There is frozen custard at Decadence Frozen Custard in Indian Trail. It's a bit of a haul from downtown out Independence Blvd. but worth it if you need to have a fix.

                              1. re: brentk

                                There is also another frozen custard stand in a coffee shop (whose name I can't remember) in the strip shopping center across from the Syskey YMCA in Weddington. I can't vouch for it as the one time I went there I only got a cup of coffee.

                            3. re: brentk

                              Sold our office on East Blvd this summer. Bought in '78 for less than 30K...sold for a bit more in '05. My office is now in the Kannapolis area where the What A Burger is the primo place for lunch.

                              Gosh, I sure miss East Blvd.

                              Hata-San was the manager of Ru San's and is now the second chef at Sushi Koji in Greenville, SC.

                              But you're right I need to get out more. However I sure don't miss those hours in traffic on 85. And I'm sure my chickens, goats, horses, pigs, peacocks and dogs would not be very welcome in the city limits.

                              PS the tales about roosters crowing at dawn are BS. They start at four AM.

            3. just to add to the already great suggestions, I would recommend Dish on Thomas Ave. (off of Central Ave) for great comfort food and a laid-back atmosphere. Next door is Thomas Street Tavern, which has some suprisingly good sandwiches and bar food, and some great beers!

              welcome to Charlotte!

              1. I'm meeting several family members in Charlotte, NC for the Thanksgiving holidays. We "kids" haven't lived in Charlotte for years, and our parents stopped trying new places after they discovered Red Rocks.

                Where should we go for the traditional Thanksgiving meal? Buffet OR Not. We can eat anytime from noon to 6 pm. And if we are too late to make reservations, should we just have chicken at the Roasting Company? (My husband's favorite place in Charlotte - it's near Park Road Shopping Center.)

                Thanks for your suggestions.

                1. I live in Charlotte, also in my mid-20s. A couple of places that are good to check out: Definitely Cabo Fish Taco (I know the owner), Las Ramblas on Park Road (new tapas place), Thomas Street Tavern, the Penguin (very eclectic, diner-type food, including fried pickles), Mac's Speed Shop (a "Harley"-themed bar/restaurant with great Southern food like mac n cheese), the Comet (another hole-in-the-wall bar/restaurant but with good food).

                  1. My Boyfriend and I are in our mid-twenties and just moved to Charlotte as well. These are some of our favorites:
                    300 East - Great "Saturday Night" restaurant, nice but low key - you HAVE to get dessert! My favorite is their Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

                    The Penguin - located in our neighborhood - Plaza Midwood - great hangover food - try the fried pickles and sweet potato fries

                    Common Market (deli) - great veg. choices and yummy sandwiches - they are only open 11-3

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: The End

                      If you live over there, try Thomas Street Tavern for wings!

                    2. In Concord about 20 minutes from Charlotte, there is a great Mexican restaurant on 29 called La Taquera. The chips they bring out include 7 different sauces. They really out do the chip part of the meal. Very small place, but comfortable. I know you do not like chains, but there is a fast food burger joint called Cook Out. I used to manage one. THey get fresh gorund beef daily and actually grill their burgers. Taste like you made them out on the grill in you r back yard.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: CHEFBUCK

                        We've been in Charlotte for almost a year & I've done a lot of research from this board. The restaurants that we've been to & recommend are: Penguin, Lulu, Sullivan's, Cabo Fish Taco, Pewter Rose (for brunch) , Global, Lupie's Cafe & Nikko. Patou was on my list but was pulled after I called several times to make reservations & always received an answering machine. I left my information but never received a call back. That gets a big boo from me.

                        1. re: ktbear7476

                          Uh, Patou is out of business. Perhaps that's why they didn't return your calls.

                          1. re: brentk

                            Oh it is? I guess that makes sense then. Aren't there suggestions for it on this thread? I had friends that went & I called a few weeks after they went. They should really disable their website it they are closed. Thanks for the info!

                          2. re: ktbear7476

                            we were in Charlotte not too long ago and went to Lulu's the first night in town. We enjoyed it so much we returned the next night as well.

                            1. re: Lan4Dawg

                              I've been dying to go to Lulu's and finally went last weekend. Wow! Amazingly competent service, amazing food! The only bummer was no liquor... which was fine by me as I always order wine, but my SO was mildly disappointed. i think the food more than made up for it tho. Very creative food utilizing ingrdients from local farmers, etc. Highly recommended!

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                No one has said anything about Lang Van. I'm not that well-educated on what constitutes great Vietnamese food, but the food there is fine by me, and I have never been treated better at any restaurant, ever.

                                1. re: mrwaterslide

                                  Lang Van rocks. We always let them order for us. Another terrific Viet spot is Pho 98 on South and Archdale. Not the most super location and I try not to look at the health department rating, but the Pho is outstanding and the woman who owns it is sweet. Try the Pho Ga the next time you feel a little stuffed up!

                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                    Seconding this. Lang Van is terrific, as is their vaguely-related almost-sister restaurant, Ben Than.

                                    1. re: mwalser

                                      Lang Van is fine though I find it to be inconsistent and quite bland. Agree that Ben Thanh is terrific, as is Pho Hoa, both on Central and both quite authentic.

                                      1. re: burton

                                        Hmm. I was there two nights ago and it was its usual spectacular self. The only thing I don't like about it is the location.

                        2. Shortly after arriving in Charlotte about six years ago I found what was then a new restaurant. A place where a New Jersey/New York transplant could get a fix of what for me is soul food. The place I speak of is Katz New York Deli. Located across from the arboretum shopping center in the arboretum office park behind Bank of America.

                          I have been to the best of them. Second Avenue Deli, Carnegie, Katz on Houston Street. They are the gold standard of deli and appetizing. Only one place in Charlotte can come close to reaching the quality and deli delightfulness I crave, that place is Katz New York. The owner Lee Katz was born and raised in New Jersey and is a veteran of several top deli’s so he gets it!

                          The corned beef and pastrami melts in your mouth, served nice and hot from the steam table. Don’t miss the chopped liver, flavorful and fantastic. The hot dogs are the best in Charlotte all beef with natural casings that give you that special snap when you take that first bite. Don’t miss the brisket or the tongue. Try the house made knishes. If you have room top it off with a slice of cheesecake imported from the Carnegie Deli or wash it down with an egg cream made with the genuine Fox’s-U-bet syrup.

                          The appetizing at Katz is in a class by itself as well. They have it all. Nova, Belly Lox (the salty stuff I love), baked salmon, whitefish, sturgeon, sable, herring, baked salmon salad and whitefish salad with no filler, just enough mayo to hold it together.
                          The latest addition to the line up at Katz - Now the rye bread shipped in from Pechters bakery of New Jersey. The breads are baked off in the store daily and the result is a first rate top notch Rye bread that has great flavor and actually has a crunchy crust. Hands down the best bread in town. If you’re guessing that I love this place – You are right

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                            I ordered a half a cheesecake and 2 containers of pickles from them for Christmas dinner, to show off to my family. Man, I love Katz!

                            On a bitter note, I went to Nolen Kitchen on Friday night and was appalled with how far they have slipped. I ordered a risotto fritter app and when it arrived, the accompanying sauce tasted like it was made with tomato sauce, chili paste and bitters. It was so spicy and bitter that I had to send it back. When I finally got my replacement, half of the fritters were frozen in the middle. Nothing kills a well-intentioned nice dinner than biting into frozen cheese and rice. After all that, it still showed up on my bill. Everything else was bland and lazily prepared - husband's lamb stew was flavorless and had scarce meat in it, his asparagus was well undercooked and my fist was floating in oil. And I really loved this place, once.

                            1. re: littlegirltree

                              That's very sad to hear. It's been months since I've been, but I thought Nolen Kitchen was one of the really great places in Charlotte. Are others having this experience? Did their chef take a holiday break?