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Moving to Charlotte. Afraid of the food

j
jdubyapepper May 11, 2009 09:22 PM

I'm moving to Charlotte in June and I wanna find some unpretentious great restaurants to eat at. I'm the type that would rather starve than eat at a chain like Applebees, Ruby Tuesday's, or Cheesecake Factory. Some of my favorites are street food, greek, burgers, deli, vietnamese, GOOD sushi, and I love a breakfast place with a little creativity. I'm gonna need a go-to chinese restaurant that I can count on for a cheap lunch as well. A good dinner place in the $25- 40 entree category would be good too.

So now that I've explained my situation, I need some recommendations on where I can try to find some new staples. Charlotte is so much bigger than what I am coming from that I need to do plenty of homework before trying a million crappy restaurants.

Thanks.

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  1. carolinadawg RE: jdubyapepper May 12, 2009 03:50 AM

    Have you done a search for Charlotte on here yet? If not, my first suggestion is that you do so...you'll find lots of postings. Charlotte is an exellent food town. A few suggestions to get you started...The Penguin for burgers, Greek Isles for greek (duh!), Dim Sum for chinese, LuLu, Commonhouse, Pietown, Pio Pio, Alexander Michael's are all good too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg
      lynnlato RE: carolinadawg May 12, 2009 03:42 PM

      All good recs, IMHO.

      I'll add Saigon Palace on South Blvd. for Vietnamese (right, GFL & HGC???), Revolution Pizza in NoDa, Carpe Diem for higher end dining and Amelie's for baked goods and breakfast treats. Some folks like Zada Jane's on Central for out-of-ordinary breakfast which is served all day.

      1. re: carolinadawg
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        Evrett RE: carolinadawg Jan 3, 2011 03:29 PM

        Dim Sum was the worst dim sum I have ever had. It was clearly frozen and reheated rather than made there by little old ladies. I've seen recs for Dragon Court but the mall reminded me of buildings in war torn Bosnia..even the floors inside had chucks missing...

        -----
        Dragon Court
        4520 N Tryon St Ste 40, Charlotte, NC 28213

        1. re: Evrett
          j
          jla1960 RE: Evrett Jan 3, 2011 04:41 PM

          Sorry you had a bad experience at Dim Sum. Yours is the the first negative report I think I've ever heard. I know my experiences have been very good.

      2. p
        pinogirl14 RE: jdubyapepper May 12, 2009 06:50 PM

        $20 - 40 dinners: Rooster's, Barrington's, Ratcliffe on the Green, and Lulu's. Google them, I think they all have websites.

        For sushi, I rec. New Zealand Cafe in Matthews - O.M.G. - the tuna tataki and the tuna carpaccio was unlike anything I have ever eaten. The fish was by far the best quality tuna i have ever had the pleasure to eat - seriously. I have heard good things about Mai, but haven't been since their South Blvd. days. Stay away from Ru San's and Nikko is OK in a pinch - just don't go on the weekends. Haven't eaten at Musashi, but have heard good things.

        Deli: I'm partial to Chris' on Independence, but Katz in Arboretum is as authentic as you'll get here.

        Creative breakfast: Soul Gastrolounge will be serving weekend brunch soon. I hear the lake area has good breakfast joints, just don't remember the names.

        Vietnamese: Lang Van

        Chinese: in the South, I'm partial to Shanghai. The owners are amazing people. Friendly and they remember EVERYONE. It's sorta scary. They have wonderful, fresh food and always have tasty specials.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pinogirl14
          lynnlato RE: pinogirl14 May 13, 2009 05:16 AM

          Have you had the brunch at Soul Gastrolounge? Just curious about this new place.

          1. re: lynnlato
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            pinogirl14 RE: lynnlato May 14, 2009 12:07 PM

            Nope. I thought they started serving brunch, but not yet. They're on FaceBook and they post updates, so I'll keep you updated when they do start.

            1. re: pinogirl14
              RestaurantTraffic RE: pinogirl14 Nov 12, 2010 12:07 PM

              Good Brunch, also try Bistro la Bon, Zeda Janes, and LULU. all awesome Plaza Midwood brunch choices!

        2. mikebmassey RE: jdubyapepper May 12, 2009 07:57 PM

          This might be blasphemy to other Charlotte residents, but I'm not sure I would agree on the Penguin for the best burgers. @carolinadawg - it hurts me to disagree with another Bulldog, but I gotta. Penguin is just like going to a diner. I, personally, prefer Big Daddy or Custom counter for burgers.

          Sushi - Nikko is my favorite. I think it's the best in Charlotte.

          @jdubyapepper - I've been in Charlotte for just over a year. It's got some great restaurants. You'll be fine. And for the record, I have not eaten at Applebee's yet. OK - Cheesecake factory once, but just once.....

          20 Replies
          1. re: mikebmassey
            lynnlato RE: mikebmassey May 13, 2009 05:07 AM

            Agreed, Mike, Penguin is not the best burger - but it's a good burger in a very cool joint. The best burger in Charlotte, IMHO, is Lulu. Big Daddy's is good too.

            1. re: lynnlato
              b
              BDM1 RE: lynnlato Feb 4, 2010 06:13 PM

              I REALLY hate to say this but the two best burgers I've had in Charlotte that I haven't grilled myself are: Firebirds and the $6 burger at Fleming's between 5-7pm. Anyone who's ordered a burger in NC and been told that they will come out at 165degrees - BS - most burgers in Charlotte are an excuse for the grill cook to go out and have a ciggy. If it's not precooked it's killed before you get it.

              There are some exceptions but it's kind of a speakeasy kind of thing - ask your servers/bartenders - they know.

              If you want a MR burger - they are out there - I just don't want to tip off the food gestapo.

              1. re: BDM1
                southernitalian RE: BDM1 Feb 5, 2010 07:26 AM

                The Lodge will make you a burger as rare as you want it. I'm reluctant to admit that this place is growing on me.

                1. re: BDM1
                  lynnlato RE: BDM1 Feb 5, 2010 03:19 PM

                  Firebirds does have a great burger. Yes, being in the resto biz, I know what to say and who to say it to. ;-) It's just a shame that its gotta go down like that.

                  1. re: BDM1
                    RestaurantTraffic RE: BDM1 Nov 12, 2010 12:09 PM

                    Common House is now Kickstand Burger Bar. They do a pretty good job, and for lunch it is the best deal in town!

                    1. re: RestaurantTraffic
                      GodfatherofLunch RE: RestaurantTraffic Nov 12, 2010 02:31 PM

                      Burger was okay but the fries were totally tasteless, strange textured sticks of something unrelated to a potato. In other words, I did not care for them.

                      1. re: GodfatherofLunch
                        RestaurantTraffic RE: GodfatherofLunch Nov 13, 2010 10:41 AM

                        Next time try the sweet potato tater tots with maple syrup reduction

                2. re: mikebmassey
                  carolinadawg RE: mikebmassey May 13, 2009 06:00 AM

                  No problem on the disagreement...I didn't mean to imply Penguin had the "best" burger, just that it was a fun place to get a pretty good burger. I haven't been to Big Daddy's, and I haven't tried a burger at LuLu. Common House does a pretty good burger, too, imo. I get them to add pimento cheese...good stuff!

                  1. re: carolinadawg
                    h
                    HungryGrayCat RE: carolinadawg May 13, 2009 01:46 PM

                    I like Penguin's burger for a change of pace. It's not the same as a Lulu gourmet burger but it hits the spot when you're craving a diner burger and a PBR. I get the Small Block + cheese, Southern style and it's damn tasty.

                    Now the fried pickles at Penguin....what a little pickle slice of heaven.

                    1. re: HungryGrayCat
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                      friek RE: HungryGrayCat May 15, 2009 06:15 AM

                      It might start an argument, but I really like Brook's for a burger. Their hot dog all the way is also fantastic, cheap and fast.

                      1. re: friek
                        h
                        HungryGrayCat RE: friek May 15, 2009 08:36 AM

                        Brooks? I've never even heard of it! Tell me more!!! (I love a good all the way dog.)

                        1. re: friek
                          lynnlato RE: friek May 15, 2009 09:43 AM

                          Yea, friek, why u been holdin' out on us... what and where is Brook's???

                          1. re: lynnlato
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                            ickymettle RE: lynnlato May 15, 2009 10:43 AM

                            Brooks' is a Charlotte institution. It's been in NoDa for at least 20 years. There was a location downtown a few years back, but it's no longer there. It really does have some of the best burgers in town-- southern-style.

                            True story: In the summer of 1990, I worked at the Johnston YMCA in NoDa. NoDa was a very different place then (in fact, it wasn't known as NoDa)-- it was still pretty run down and not yet a destination for people to live or open a business. Needless to say, Brooks' was about the only option for food. So everyday for lunch, I would have two cheeseburgers, fries, and a Coke from Brooks'. Ah, to be young and be able to eat like that without gaining any weight.

                            Edited to add: Brooks' has actually been around since 1973. Here's a little story about it: http://charlotteeats.blogspot.com/200...

                            1. re: ickymettle
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                              HungryGrayCat RE: ickymettle May 15, 2009 12:00 PM

                              Dang, well now I'll have to try it. This could be a great score for me since it's not too far from work! Heeehaw.

                            2. re: lynnlato
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                              friek RE: lynnlato May 16, 2009 03:54 PM

                              If I tell too many people about it I'll have to wait in line ;-)

                            3. re: friek
                              h
                              HungryGrayCat RE: friek May 26, 2009 12:25 PM

                              So I was working on a project outside of the office and the guy I was working with suggested Brook's for lunch today. How about that for a great coincidence?!!?

                              I loved it. What a cool place. I had the burger all the way -- it was delicious and just the right size. The chili was perfect on it. But I was surprised that there was no slaw. I thought all the way in the South was with slaw too?

                              1. re: HungryGrayCat
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                                friek RE: HungryGrayCat May 29, 2009 10:21 AM

                                Glad you liked it! The typical southern all the way order is indeed with slaw. For some reason Brook's all the way order is mustard, onions and chili.

                                1. re: friek
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                                  ickymettle RE: friek May 29, 2009 02:00 PM

                                  The slaw with burgers and dogs "all the way" may be somewhat of a newer thing. Maybe that's why Brooks' doesn't do it. For example, it wasn't until the late 80's or 90's that Green's began including slaw on the hot dog "all the way."

                                2. re: HungryGrayCat
                                  Suzy Q RE: HungryGrayCat Feb 1, 2010 04:18 AM

                                  You'll usually have to ask places to leave the slaw off of your BBQ sandwich, but it's not a common thing on burgers.

                                3. re: friek
                                  RestaurantTraffic RE: friek Nov 12, 2010 12:09 PM

                                  Mueller's will give any burger in town a run for the money!

                          2. f
                            FastFoodie RE: jdubyapepper May 13, 2009 09:20 AM

                            I really like No Fo on Liz for a cool breakfast/brunch place. Also I hear Sushi 101 is a great sushi place.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: FastFoodie
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                              bobr821 RE: FastFoodie Nov 8, 2009 03:09 PM

                              Sadly NoFo closed down a month or two ago.

                              +1 on Charlotte being a Cr*ppy breakfast town (I had to eat at waffle house this morning for god's sake). If the weather is nice Common Market (South End, don't know about PM) is a nice place for a VERY low key Sunday brunch. I had heard there is a new breakfast place in Latta Arcade downtown that is actually open on weekends (haven't tried it yet).

                              For $15-20 entre range dinners I have been impressed with Andrew Blair's on Montford.

                              Not to start anything but Bill Spoon's is (IMO) among the best eastern style swine you will find anywhere (but it is not smoked, and this bothers many purest)

                              1. re: bbqhound
                                b
                                brentk RE: bbqhound Nov 9, 2009 06:35 AM

                                I have to disagree. Compared to other cities of similar size, Charlotte is a breakfast desert. While there are plenty of greasy spoon type places, other than Zada Jane's there are no creative menus to be found, and Zada Jane's barely qualifies as it doesn't open until 8:00 and has a rather, shall we say, eclectic atmosphere. When I lived in Charlotte, the choices for breakfast were Anderson's (now gone) and the Pancake House.

                                What Charlotte desperately needs is an upscale creative breakfast place that serves a variety of interesting dishes and also has a top notch baked goods selection.

                                Other cities have that....Why not Charlotte?

                                1. re: brentk
                                  lynnlato RE: brentk Nov 10, 2009 02:21 AM

                                  "What Charlotte desperately needs is an upscale creative breakfast place that serves a variety of interesting dishes and also has a top notch baked goods selection"

                                  Cafe Monte is as close as it comes to what you've desribed. Its in the bldg beside Phillips Place. They serve French inspired fare, including breakfast and Amelie's pastries.

                                  -----
                                  Cafe Monte
                                  Ashley Park Lane Suite 108, Charlotte, NC 28210

                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                    b
                                    brentk RE: lynnlato Nov 10, 2009 05:15 AM

                                    Thanks for the recommendation. I look forward to giving it a try.

                                    1. re: brentk
                                      southernitalian RE: brentk Dec 10, 2009 07:45 AM

                                      My new favorite "breakfast" place in Charlotte? Pho Hoa on Central. They open at 9 a.m.! A big bowl of pho with brisket at 9 and I'm good until late in the day. I really love this place. Service is fast and friendly, pho is great.

                            2. b
                              billyjack RE: jdubyapepper May 13, 2009 02:51 PM

                              I agree with most other suggestions, but heres a few personal favorites:

                              Second vote for Shanghai in South Charlotte for Chinese. Love it.

                              Sushi: Mizuho, by far.

                              Viet: Ben Thanh on Central. New place called Vietnam Grille on South is great.

                              Breakfast: I like traditional southern breakfasts so I can't recommend anywhere creative. I can advise you to avoid Zada Jane's.

                              Good luck, and welcome!

                              22 Replies
                              1. re: billyjack
                                j
                                jdubyapepper RE: billyjack May 14, 2009 09:10 PM

                                i really dig an interesting breakfast place. Anyone ever eaten at Melanie's in Boone? Its normally a 45 minute wait....but worth every minute

                                Sounds like some pretty good recommendations. I would love to see some more on the sandwich/ deli side though!

                                1. re: jdubyapepper
                                  f
                                  friek RE: jdubyapepper May 15, 2009 06:21 AM

                                  One of my favorite breakfast places is Eddie's and Danny's Too in Cotswold. Great food, awesome service, full bar and a great beer selection.

                                  1. re: friek
                                    carolinadawg RE: friek May 15, 2009 12:35 PM

                                    Beer for breakfast? You're my hero!!

                                    1. re: friek
                                      b
                                      billyjack RE: friek May 15, 2009 11:07 PM

                                      Ya know I love breakfast at Eddies, and I always forget to mention it when someone asks where to go!

                                      1. re: friek
                                        c
                                        cateringchick RE: friek Nov 13, 2010 10:43 AM

                                        I agree! Btw, it's just Eddie's Place, Danny has been dead for years.........................

                                        1. re: cateringchick
                                          b
                                          billyjack RE: cateringchick Nov 15, 2010 03:40 PM

                                          Not to beat a year old dead horse of a thread, but Eddies Place in Ballantyne recently closed. Too bad.

                                          -----
                                          Eddies Place Restaurant
                                          12239 N Community House Rd, Charlotte, NC 28277

                                          1. re: billyjack
                                            lynnlato RE: billyjack Nov 16, 2010 03:25 AM

                                            This is just horrible - especially for the business folks there. The real estate company tried to jack up their rent to some ridiculously high rate and Eddie said no dice. The r/e company thought they could flip it to another restaurant quickly and not lose out - but Eddie took everything and locked the door. I hope Eddie finds another space down here and close by because this area desperately needs him.

                                      2. re: jdubyapepper
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                                        ickymettle RE: jdubyapepper May 15, 2009 10:50 AM

                                        On the sandwich/deli side, I'm a big fan of Reid's (downtown/uptown), Common Market (Plaza-Midwood), Laurel Market (Myers Park and SouthEnd), Hef's (off of Woodlawn Road; it's a bar that serves some great sandwiches), Crisp (Elizabeth), Owen's Bagel & Deli (SouthEnd), Arthur's (SouthPark), Adams' 7th Street Market (Elizabeth). Revolution Pizza & Ale House has some good sandwiches as well.

                                        1. re: jdubyapepper
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                                          cateringchick RE: jdubyapepper May 28, 2009 02:19 PM

                                          I have eaten at Melanie's - I feel like I celebrated 2 birthdays during the wait, but you're right...I had the best omelette there that I have ever eaten!

                                        2. re: billyjack
                                          mikebmassey RE: billyjack May 15, 2009 08:56 AM

                                          I disagree with billyjack - I love Zada Jane. Their breakfast sandwiches are the best in Charlotte in my opinion.

                                          1. re: mikebmassey
                                            b
                                            billyjack RE: mikebmassey May 15, 2009 11:14 PM

                                            I really don't want to slam a restaurant on here. I'll just say I gave up on Zada Janes after giving it more than a fair share of tries. I'd rather go across the street and give John's my business.

                                            1. re: billyjack
                                              mikebmassey RE: billyjack May 17, 2009 07:57 AM

                                              Fair enough.

                                              All in all, I've lived in Charlotte for about a year and a half and so far, I've been extremely disappointed in breakfast options here. Zada Jane's is pretty consistent to me, personally. I spend a great deal of time in Atlanta and love the many, many breakfast options. Charlotte just lacks in this category.

                                              1. re: mikebmassey
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                                                brentk RE: mikebmassey May 17, 2009 08:20 AM

                                                I lived in Charlotte for almost 10 years - moved away in 2006 - but I would have to agree with you. You can get a good southern breakfast (eggs, grits, etc.) , but no place with any creative and/or health-conscious options.

                                                I can't tell you how many times I went to breakfast meetings at the Pancake House, Eddie's or Anderson's (RIP) for the same old, same old.

                                                1. re: mikebmassey
                                                  lynnlato RE: mikebmassey May 17, 2009 08:44 AM

                                                  Yep, so true mike. Although, personally I've not been impressed by ZJ's, I haven't been there in quite a while, and like you said they do offer more than eggs, bacon & toast.

                                                  Zebra does an upscale weekday breakfast. I've only been once and had the foie gras and bousin cheese omelet w/ pear compote, but again I wasn't impressed.

                                                  The Stratos Restaurant Group that owns Ilios Noche and Nolen Kitchen, has opened Big View Diner at 521 & Ardrey Kell Rds in South Charlotte. These guys do just about everything well, so I'm hopeful that their all-day breakfasts (and other stuff here) will be great. I used to go for breakfast at Ilios Noche when they offered it and it was wonderful. Looks like they will offer omelets, house made baked goods, challah french toast, Belgian waffles, lox & bagels, scones, etc.

                                                  Check it out: http://www.bigviewdiner.com/

                                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                                    southernitalian RE: lynnlato Nov 5, 2009 01:05 PM

                                                    LL - have you been to Big View? I haven't heard much about it. Worth the trip?

                                                    1. re: southernitalian
                                                      lynnlato RE: southernitalian Nov 6, 2009 03:21 PM

                                                      Yes, I've been three times for dinner and have not been impressed. Now, mind you, I'm a big fan of Ilios Noche (their other restaurant). This is a completely different concept from IN & NK and I suppose they have an average joe suburbia public they are trying to appeal to. For me,the food was bland and uninspired... and lack seasoning. I've not had the breakfast or lunch yet.

                                                      The best part of Big View is the design of the bldg, decor, great throwback tile, etc.

                                                  2. re: mikebmassey
                                                    b
                                                    billyjack RE: mikebmassey May 19, 2009 01:44 AM

                                                    Yeah, I hate to confirm your findings but breakfast in Charlotte is severely lacking. I have no idea why. Like I said I'm a fan of traditional breakfasts, but once in a while I'd like something different. Or maybe I have guests I'd like to take out. But its hard enough finding somewhere thats open, much less a place serving inventive food.

                                                    1. re: billyjack
                                                      t
                                                      tubastu RE: billyjack May 25, 2009 05:26 PM

                                                      I am just adding to the original request, I am moving to Charlotte from nyc.
                                                      any price conscious suggestions for:
                                                      BBQ
                                                      Southern food
                                                      quality date place

                                                      THanks!

                                                      1. re: tubastu
                                                        carolinadawg RE: tubastu May 25, 2009 05:40 PM

                                                        Charlotte isn't known for the quality of its 'q, but I like Old Hickory House. Macs Speed Sop and Bill Spoons also get a lot of love on this board. For Southern Food, try Mert's and Simmons Fourth Ward. Quality date places are numerous...LuLu, Blue, Customshop, lots of others. Try doing a search on here and you'll find lots of suggestions and discussion for all your categories.

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg
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                                                          tcamclt RE: carolinadawg May 28, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                          I agree even though NC is well known for it's pork bbq, Charlotte is lacking when compared to some of the other small cities who have a deep history with bbq. If you can make the trip to Lexington,(about 1 hrs. drive) I highly recommend it for bbq. But for bbq in Charlotte there are still some options. The places I like are Mac's, Outlaw BBQ in Matthews (take out only). Never been a big fan of Bill Spoons, but I've only tried them after Bill Spoon passed away R.I.P. Bubba's is pretty good, but I stopped going there because the raised the prices of their sandwiches to like $5 yet are the same size as they where when they used to be $2.50. Old Hickory is good, but the sauce they use is a bit sweet and tangy which some people prefer. I like mine more vinegary. I've heard McCoys is really good but I haven't been there yet.

                                                          For Southern/Soul Food try, Merts, Down to the Bone, Dish, Simmons Fourth Ward.

                                                          1. re: tcamclt
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                                                            Hapy RE: tcamclt May 29, 2009 03:51 PM

                                                            For bbque I like Courtney's in Clover, SC. It's a bit of a drive but the ribs are worth it. I also like Luwan's for soul food!

                                                            1. re: tcamclt
                                                              c
                                                              Ciao Italia Foodie RE: tcamclt Jan 4, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                              I really enjoy Outlaw BBQ also.
                                                              A sad FYI, they have closed the Matthews location. But good news is fans can still get their fix if they are willing to drive all the way out to Monroe. They opened a new location a while ago which is sit down and they are even offering a buffet (if you're in to that) in Monroe. If anyone remembers where Bistro 77 was, that
                                                              is where they are now located. (it is across from Stone Table).

                                                              I also highly recommend (which I have done so in a single post) Angela's Italian restaurant/pizza in the Matthews/Mint Hill area but more than worth a drive if you are searching for just good (really good) old fashion red sauce (best sauce around imo) Italian meals.
                                                              If NY style pizza is your thing you've lucked out, all under one roof (no slices).

                                                              Also highly recommend in that area New Zealand Cafe (which was already mentioned) but Osaka Japanese (Matthews-Mint Hill road) is worth a mention for sushi as well.

                                                              I must mention on my last trip to SUPER G I noticed a NEW Vietnamese place coming soon! PHO (something something)
                                                              It is where that little sports bar use to be before they moved across the street (names are not my thing today, sorry) in the same shopping center as Super G.

                                                              I know I am responding to a post that is over a year old but Down to the Bown is closed as well.

                                              2. c
                                                cateringchick RE: jdubyapepper May 28, 2009 02:17 PM

                                                Try Eddie's for breakfast - it's not creative as written on the menu, but they'll do anything you want. My husband gets the burger with egg, bacon, mushrooms & cheese..........It's also a great neighborhood bar........For greek I highly recommend Ilios Noche, it's terrific. Common market (in Southend & on Commonwealth) have good sandwiches. Try the grilled pimento cheese with bacon, do not attempt to eat it while driving. Welcome to Charlotte!!!

                                                1. w
                                                  wesl RE: jdubyapepper Nov 9, 2009 06:05 PM

                                                  Custom Shop on Elizabeth for the best seafood, awesome fusion sushi, great for lunch too.
                                                  521 BBQ across the state line in SC for ribs and Q, very reasonable and smoked wu=ith "butts rubbed nightlly."
                                                  Bao Ding for fresh Chinese near South Park or 88 China Bistro on 4th Street near CPCC.
                                                  La Peep in Arboretum for Breakfast.

                                                  -----
                                                  China Bistro
                                                  2862 Highway 54, Peachtree City, GA 30269

                                                  4th Street
                                                  123 S 4th St, Clarksburg, WV 26301

                                                  South Park Restaurant
                                                  1103 N Harmony Rd, Clarksville, AR 72830

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: wesl
                                                    g
                                                    greese RE: wesl Nov 9, 2009 06:36 PM

                                                    We moved out of Charlotte in 2008, after living & eating there for 39 years. Firebird's (in Stonecrest) was always fun & noisy, with great steaks. We also often enjoyed the Bonefish Grill on Carmel Rd- a chain restaurant, no less. Try their house salad, mussels, and bang-bang shrimp. Also, a glass of King Estate pinot gris.

                                                  2. r
                                                    Rusyoak RE: jdubyapepper Feb 5, 2010 08:50 AM

                                                    As a guy who looks for pub food with every move, may I suggest Ri Ra for the Guinness Stew and a nice pint.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: Rusyoak
                                                      southernitalian RE: Rusyoak Feb 5, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                      Ri-Ra burned down last spring.

                                                      1. re: southernitalian
                                                        carolinadawg RE: southernitalian Feb 5, 2010 09:07 AM

                                                        "Burned down" is a bit of an overstatement. They had a fire and are scheduled to reopen by St. Patrick's Day.

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg
                                                          h
                                                          HungryGrayCat RE: carolinadawg Feb 5, 2010 10:56 AM

                                                          It's crazy how long it's taking them to re-open! I wonder what the story is on that...

                                                          1. re: HungryGrayCat
                                                            southernitalian RE: HungryGrayCat Feb 5, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                            I had no idea they were even working on it. I'm at the corporate center (5th/Tryon) a few days a week and have never seen anyone out front. They must be doing it all from the rear of the building. From what I heard, there was a LOT of damage. They need to do a better job of getting the word out that they're re-opening soon, especially with Dandelion Market opening up down the block. This is good news. I love Ri-Ra. It's a little hokey but the Irish breakfast was really good. Good Guiness too.

                                                            1. re: southernitalian
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                                                              HungryGrayCat RE: southernitalian Feb 5, 2010 12:44 PM

                                                              I've actually only had sandwiches from their place next door but I do like the bar -- it's a normal bar. Hopefully it retains the same vibe.

                                                              1. re: HungryGrayCat
                                                                lynnlato RE: HungryGrayCat Feb 5, 2010 03:21 PM

                                                                It's a shame they had such extensive damage. They had much of their interior shipped over from Ireland when they initially built the place. They do need to do better at getting the word out about their St. Patty's day reopening if that is, indeed true.

                                                                1. re: lynnlato
                                                                  carolinadawg RE: lynnlato Feb 6, 2010 04:04 AM

                                                                  Here's a link to their website, which says: "Our restoration is nearly complete and we are due to open in early March." They also have signs on the door indicating that as well.

                                                                  http://rira.com/index.php?id=37

                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                    lynnlato RE: carolinadawg Feb 6, 2010 05:56 AM

                                                                    I had no idea they were part of a chain.

                                                                    They can get some free advertising via Helen Schwab in her Dining Notes section in Fridays E&T section. Perhaps they'll get the word out when they have a better idea on a specific re-open date.

                                                                    1. re: lynnlato
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                                                                      Hapy RE: lynnlato Feb 6, 2010 08:58 AM

                                                                      they are the first and original of the chain.

                                                                      1. re: lynnlato
                                                                        carolinadawg RE: lynnlato Mar 1, 2010 07:13 AM

                                                                        Per an article in Creative Loafing, Ri Ra reopens for lunch and dinner tomorrow...

                                                                        http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/eatm...

                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                          southernitalian RE: carolinadawg Mar 1, 2010 08:45 AM

                                                                          That's good news CD. We've missed Ri Ra. It looks like they may have removed that rock covered raised platofrm area in the back. More good news. I've seen several drunks fall right off that thing. It will be interesting to see how business does now that Dandelion Market seems to be off to a great start.

                                                                          1. re: southernitalian
                                                                            carolinadawg RE: southernitalian Mar 1, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                                            Speaking from personal experience regarding the platform? LOL Just kidding.

                                                                            Have you been to Dandelion yet? I've meaning to get there and check it out, but haven't made it yet.

                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                              southernitalian RE: carolinadawg Mar 1, 2010 09:15 AM

                                                                              Have not made it over there myself but I continue to hear great things about the food as well as the beer selection. I think it opens for lunch soon. I'm assuming the lunch menu will be a lot different than the regular menu which looks more like small plates/bar snack food.

                                                              2. re: HungryGrayCat
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                                                                ballytivnan RE: HungryGrayCat Feb 16, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                                they had two insurance policies and both expected the other to pay the full amount, which meant they couldn't do anything until that was resolved, which took about 4 months! They should be re-opening in the next two weeks. Sadly another great place for traditional British Isles food, Big Ben's, burnt down a few days ago.

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                                                          eagle6894 RE: jdubyapepper Feb 6, 2010 06:24 AM

                                                          Charlotte has some great places..

                                                          Mexican....Aztec or Maries
                                                          Burgers....Penguin Or Brooks
                                                          Hot Dogs...Brooks or Greens
                                                          Sushi...New Zealand Cafe & RuSans for Lunch Buffett
                                                          Soul food...Chicken Box Or Simmons Soul Food
                                                          BBQ...Mac's Speedshop, Ol Smoke House on Montford, Bubba's BBQ or RO's BBQ in Gastonia
                                                          Cajun Queen is also a great place to grab a bite to eat

                                                          1. l
                                                            little debbie RE: jdubyapepper Jun 10, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                            Please try Bistro La Bon, in the strip mall at the intersection of Pecan and Central in Plaza Midwood. They are now serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Food is great, with reasonable prices and good wine list. Creative bistro fare, with great sauces. We licked our plates clean.....

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: little debbie
                                                              lynnlato RE: little debbie Jun 10, 2010 12:01 PM

                                                              Debbie, I'm anxious to try this new place. I sent friends there for brunch recently and they enjoyed it. Please, tell us about the food! :-)

                                                              1. re: lynnlato
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                                                                little debbie RE: lynnlato Jun 12, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                                My previous dinners at Bistro La Bon have been fanatastic and I am happy to report that they now serve lunch M- Sat. For $10 you get a choice of 10 entrees, plus bread and salad. The offerings include you choice from two of each: pasta, salad, seafood, meat, sandwich or salad. I just had the NC trout with herbed potato anna and chardonney sauce. GREAT! They are on facebook at Bistro La Bon. 1322 Central Ave.

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                                                              Michael1013 RE: jdubyapepper Jun 15, 2010 12:26 PM

                                                              I haven't been around alot but some of my favorites would be. Some regional chains included but they are alright for certain things.

                                                              01. Tin Tin, I hate to give this up as they are busy enough already!, 10215 Park Road
                                                              Charlotte, NC 28210-7828 (704) 341-2293 massive oriental buffet but way above a typical Chinese buffet, such as Peking Duck with sauce, frog legs, squid.

                                                              02. Sticky Fingers, 12410 Johnston Road Charlotte, NC 28277-2575 (704) 926-3441 is a regional chain but if you get the Memphis dry ribs and add your own sauce on the side you got a nice rib slab.

                                                              03. Jaipur, in the food lion complex 5909 South Boulevard
                                                              Charlotte, NC 28217-4123 (704) 643-1421 must go on weekend for buffet otherwise very expensive, buffet is large and varied for what I've seen in Charlotte for Indian. On weekends they have a flat bread made with potato I like.

                                                              04. JJ (Sign looks like two fish hanging in J shape) 2004 Beatties Ford Road
                                                              Charlotte, NC 28216-4514 (704) 395-8696 is a fantastic fried fish place, two locations, they came out of Chicago where I first ate at their place. Hugh portions, many types of fish. Not fancy, one location is carry out only and other has sit down.

                                                              05. Thai Orchid Strawberry Hill Shopping Center, 4223-7 Providence Road, family run Thai, ate my first Pad Thai there, friendly owner lady. Also, in Strawberry Hill, you go by it going to Thai Orchid, there is a to die for food store/deli with amazing (expensive) foods.

                                                              06. Okay, now going south and just out of town, just over line in SC is 521 BBQ and Grill, a newer family run Q joint with Midwest style q, large portions ribs and pork, sauce on ribs, pork sandwich, hush puppies. http://www.521bbqandgrill.com/521bbq/

                                                              07. Going right on down 521 to Lancaster, SC go left on SC9 and look for Jomar's on right. I love it! Fat back, greens, fried pork steak, pecan pie, fried fish, salad bar, dessert bar, and interesting variety but predominantly southern, grits an eggs for breakfast, always a buffet but with menu with cheap steaks. I love this place!

                                                              08. Ok, whew what a trip so far, Portofino's! I worked with Italian immigrants who say they are as authentic as you can get for being in the US, great Margarita pizza as well as dinner menu. Good food, good atmosphere, google them, several locations including Gastonia. You can buy 'a slice of pie' !

                                                              09. Going way out, to Charleston, when in Charleston, SC across the river a must go is, The Wreck, only open on weekends only take cash family run low country seafood platter to die for! Boiled peanuts on the table. You may have to wait in line on the dock with a dog running around, oyster shells piled up on the dock, complimentary beverages for the wait served out of an ice chest on the dock, boats motoring by on the inlet. 2x4 interior walls, windows covered in plastic, extremely hard to find as no signs, you gotta have a map!

                                                              10. Firebonz in Rock Hill has good spare ribs.

                                                              11. Lexington, NC for Carolina pulled pork, do not expect northern q, roasted meat flavored lightly with a thin vinegar sauce, ask for "brown" for extra flavor. Ask nice and you can get a tour of the kitchen like I did, very friendly folks. If you can't handle a plate of pulled pork get a sandwich.

                                                              12. Shomars has best that I've found yet for onion rings and Gyro, nice Gyro salad as well. Many locations.

                                                              13. Crap! Just about forgot to mention Monroe, NC, East of Charlotte is an famous Alabama Q spot, I guess they are going chain but haven't given up quality. New building with nice decor and the q is very good! Big Bob Gibson's!!! I ate at the original in Alabama and in Monroe.

                                                              -----
                                                              Tin Tin
                                                              10215 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210

                                                              Thai Orchid Restaurant
                                                              4223 Providence Rd Unit 7, Charlotte, NC 28211

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Michael1013
                                                                southernitalian RE: Michael1013 Jun 15, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                                #5 - the store you're referring to is Fresh Market.
                                                                #9 - not sure why you're recommending a spot that's 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte. Lexington isn't close either.

                                                                -----
                                                                Fresh Market
                                                                4223 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC

                                                                1. re: Michael1013
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                                                                  sunflowerpj RE: Michael1013 Dec 31, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                                  This is a reply to an older thread but you may want to check out these two restaurants: for Mexican, Maria Bonita's in the shopping center on the corner of Colony and Rea (same as the Lodge). There is always a wait on weekends.; for Gyro's there is a little Greek place on South Blvd. just next to the Auto Bell between Woodlawn Road and Seneca. The owner is all Greek and the food is great. Not much atmosphere but the price and quality is perfect.

                                                                  1. re: sunflowerpj
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                                                                    jrock645 RE: sunflowerpj Jan 3, 2011 12:46 PM

                                                                    really surprised nobody has mentioned Good Food on Montford... really kind of a cool place as far as the menu- you can choose between a meal of small plates, or order a conventional entree. I've eaten there 3 times, and its been consistently good each time. Nothing that will blow you mind- its just simple, straight forward, very well executed, and as the name would imply, good food.

                                                                    Otherwise, I've been here a year and a half and don't eat out all that much.

                                                                    1. re: jrock645
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                                                                      billyjack RE: jrock645 Jan 3, 2011 10:13 PM

                                                                      You'll probably find Good Food mentioned on other threads as having Average Food with High Prices.

                                                                    2. re: sunflowerpj
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                                                                      billyjack RE: sunflowerpj Jan 3, 2011 10:12 PM

                                                                      The Greek place on South would be The Mad Greek.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Mad Greek Restaurant
                                                                      5011 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217

                                                                  2. b
                                                                    bbqme RE: jdubyapepper Jan 4, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                    How come none of the Charlotte threads talk about Sun Flour? Is it a new joint or something? This Triangle hound visited there this past weekend and it was awesome! Homemade shortbread pop-tarts? Oh my!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bbqme
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                                                                      jla1960 RE: bbqme Jan 4, 2011 07:09 AM

                                                                      Yes, it is very new...I haven't tried it yet. You might want to post a full review of your visit as a separate post so more people will see it.

                                                                      1. re: jla1960
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                                                                        bbqme RE: jla1960 Jan 7, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                                        As I only had the pop-tart I didn't feel I had enough observation points to make a full review, but boy did everything look good! Beware, they are closed on Sundays.

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