I'm flying into Charlotte for a race this weekend and will be by myself. I'm staying in SouthPark, but would have a car and would like to explore the city some. As I'm coming from Alabama, I'm not too interested in Barbecue, but anything else I'm game for. I'm particulatly interested in: Good Italian; an early morning breakfast place open Sundays; and anything else that is a "local" and good. I'm not too interested in fine or trendy dining--rather, just straight up good food I couldn't get in Tuscaloosa too easily.
PS: Also interested in good bakeries and/or coffee places as well.
Eddie's Place is near SouthPark and open for breakfast at 8:00am on Sundays: http://www.eddiesplacerestaurant.com/
For great Italian near SouthPark, try Portofino's. The owners are from Italy and they are friendly and accomodating.
I second the Penguin suggestion. That area of town is a great place to bar hop & people watch. Dish restaurant, Snug Harbor, Thomas Street Tavern, Common Market, etc. all make it an interesting part of town.
And Roosters is wonderfu l- great, simple, fresh food.
"...For great Italian near SouthPark, try Portofino's. The owners are from Italy and they are friendly and accomodating."
I almost went there, but went to Fiamma's instead. Drop dead terrific risotto. I'm still on the prowl though and will possible give Penguin's ago this afternoon...
Portifino's is good, a pizzareia atmosphere with decent food. Fiamma is fantastic. Penquin is a fun casual place,with good diner like food. If you want something in the same general area as Penguin but similar in quality to Fiamma you should go to LuLu on Central Ave. The food is superb in a very nice bistro setting.
I can't think of a "local" coffeeshop in Southpark. The closest local spot that comes to mind is Dilworth Coffee on East Blvd in the Dilworth n'hood (nestled in Harris Teeter shopping plaza).
I feel that in-town Charlotte is lacking in good bakeries. I am eager to try Amelie's at 2424 North Davidson because it is the resurrection of a French bakery that was in the same spot until the owner closed rather unexpectedly. And you would have fun nearby if you're interested in checking out the art galleries, Cabo Fish Taco for margaritas and Baja CA food, and live music venues.
I wholeheartedly second/third/fourth the recommendations for Fiamma. It's casual, but the service is good, and the food is outstanding, esp the risotto. The Wine Shop is nearby at 2442 Park Rd, and they might be having a tasting when you're in town. Or, you could pick up a picnic wine for the race!
I also second The Penguin - it's one of those places that I bring out-of-towners to because the hamburgers, onion rings, beer, etc are good, and the "ambiance" of a loud jukebox, tattooed waiters, and the classic diner look is unique. Sonic Death Rabbit is playing Friday night across the street from the Penguin at Snug Harbor. They are weird in a good way. Have fun!