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Jun 22, 2008 03:21 PM

Charlotte dinner, casual not fancy

Hi all, my husband is going to a convention in Charlotte next month and would love some recommendations on dinner spots that have good food but aren't fancy or formal. Down to earth cooking is the name of the game.

Any thoughts or ideas are welcome. Thanks.

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  1. Husband has a tourism brochure... sees an ad for Brixx Pizza... Any good? He also is interested in barbecue.

    4 Replies
    1. re: TrishUntrapped

      Brixx is good. There are several locations in Charlotte, but it may not be the #1 place I'd recommend.

      In addition to Brixx, I would recommend (in no particular oder):

      Alexander Michael's in 4th Ward, which is downtown - American food with some cajun influence; great atmosphere.

      Mac's Speed Shop in SouthEnd on South Blvd. - Great brisquet, barbecue (take note, however, this is not typical NC barbecue), green bean casserole; a local favorite.

      Sir Edmund Halley's behind Park Road Shopping Center - a British-style pub with good, often adventurous food.

      Dish in Plaza-Midwood on Thomas Ave.- Modern home-cooking.

      Pio Pio in Dilworth - Peruvian/Colombian joint with great chicken

      I'll think of some more in a little while, need to go pick up my dinner!

      1. re: ickymettle

        Icky thanks so far for those rec's!

        My husband just told me he is probably going to be limited to public transportation in the downtown area as several people may be going with him and they will likely stick to public transport. (In a word, they are cheap.)

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          Fyi- the lightrail will take them out to Mac's Speed Shop. Most of the restaurants downtown that serve good food are perhaps a little more "formal" than it sounds like he is looking for. Just in case he ventures a little further, here are some more recs:

          Cabo Fish Taco in NoDa - a local favorite serving fish tacos.

          NOFO on Liz in Elizabeth - Kind of a quirky place that I enjoy.

          Penguin in Plaza-Midwood on Thomas Ave. - Good burgers, fried pickles and sweet potato fires. One of the most heavily recommended places on these boards for straight-up greasy food.

          Hef's off of Runnymede/Woodlawn - purely bar food, but very good bar food.

          Nolia - brand new restaurant in Elizabeth that still has its kinks to work out, but its food is pretty good. Southern-style bistro.

          Big Daddy's Burger Bar in Dilworth on East Blvd. - pretty much just burgers, but very good burgers.

          300 East in Dilworth on East Blvd. - a popular neighborhood restaurant

          Cantina 1511 in Dilworth - A local favorite for Mexican food.

          All of the restaurants I mentioned are relatively cheap and very casual. If they're looking for something a step above those places, but still pretty laid back and casual, here are some:

          Carpe Diem in Elizabeth - a local institution with great food and great ambience.

          Lulu in Plaza-Midwood on Central ave. - great bistro cuisine.

          Nolen Kitchen in Myers Park on Selwyn Ave.

          Fiamma in Dilworth off of Park Rd. - best Italian food in the region.

          Dolce in Dilworth - very good Italian food.

          Blue downtown - Not entirely laid back, but since he's downtown, I through that out as option, and it has a more laid back feel if he sits at the bar.

          All of the places I mentioned in my two posts are fairly close to downtown (with the exception of Sir Ed's and Hef's, which still aren't too far away), so would only require a rather cheap cab fare.

          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            you can get to Mac's Speed shop by taking the lightrail from downtown (and I highly second Mac's). If you want to stay downtown, or "uptown" as most call it, there is Merts Heart and Soul, and Cans has a nice brunch on weekends. Some people like the food at RiRa (Irish pub) but I have personally never been.

      2. I suggest Mert's Heart and's downtown so walking isn't a problem. Good Low Country/Soul food.

        1. Don't waste your time at Brixx. It's okay, but it's a chain and there are far better options. Lots of good recs given. Unfortunately, our public transporation is a bit sparse. If you're limited to the light rail I'd do Mac's for certain. Great brisket! Mert's uptown is a walkable option for southern soul food. Of course, Gourmet mag just did a piece in this month's edition on Price's Chicken Coop. It's takeout only and good fried chicken & sides. Pike's Soda Shop on Camden in Southend is accessible from the light rail and has home-cooking. I enjoy their pecan crusted chicken w/ broccoli casserole & ranch potatoes. It's a completely gluttonous meal so be forewarned.

          If he doesn't mind jumping in a cab, I would suggest Lulu's (an amazing burger) or Dish (good meatloaf) on Central Ave or The Penguin (burger, pimento cheese sammies & fried pickles) on Thomas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lynnlato

            Hey Lynn - this is why I could not remember the name of that cranky deli! It WAS called Lulu's, not to be confused (for everyone but me) with this Lulu's.

            "If the name Lulu rings a bell, it's probably because you're thinking of a deli/wine market of the same name, a favorite spot in SouthEnd, which closed a few years ago. The new Lulu is located in a small old house on Central Avenue in Plaza-Midwood."
            Glad we cleared that up!

          2. One place that I really enjoy - and its right near the light rail stop at Bland Street is Greek Isles. Great food,atmosphere and people.

            Across the street from Greek Isles is Tavern on the Tracks - very good food for a bar, nice patio for al fresco dining. They also make a mean Bloody Mary.

            1. Wow, thank you all so much for the southern hospitality and all these great recommendations. My husband thinks the group will not venture far from the convention (at the Westin), but he will see what he can do with them! Sounds like there are a lot of good eats around.