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Sep 12, 2009 12:09 AM

Charlotte, NC Saturday Brunch/Lunch 10-15 ppl HELP! (plus a few other requests!)

There is a music festival happening in Charlotte Sept 24-26 and a bunch of us are flying in from all over the country. We have no idea what Charlotte has to offer and there is nothing worse than a bunch of people standing around, trying to figure out where to go.

I'm trying to plan a few things, somewhat location dependent.

The first is Wednesday night, I'm going to a show at the Visulite Theater at
1615 Elizabeth Avenue.
Is there any hope of a bar with food, or late night restaurant, that might be open Wednesday night? Can be a diner type of place, just somewhere that will be open at least past midnight.

Second, I'm trying to get a group together for brunch/lunch. We are attending early performances at the Festival in the Park at Freedom Lake Park. We'll be done around noon, but we want to get back to the park by 4. There will be 10-15 of us, no real dietary restrictions, but variety is always good! Is there anything around there? Perhaps a place we can make a reservation, since the party might be large?

FINALLY, is there anyplace good to eat/drink near Queens University?

Thanks so much, we are flying without a net and on a tight schedule, so exploring isn't really an option!

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  1. As for Wednesday night, I don't know how long the show will last, but there are several places you can stop in to drink and grab a bite to eat before the show. For less expensive food, there's NOFO, MexiCafe, and 1900 Mexican Grill. With more expensive food, but good food, are Carpe Diem and Customshop. All of those places are on the same little strip as Visulite within one to two blocks.

    Now since you said Wednesday, I'm assuming that's the Books show, which should end by 11:00, as it starts at 9:15. You'll have a few options of places to grab a bite to eat relatively near the Visulite afterwards. the Penguin should still be serving food-- greasy burgers, fried pickles, sweet potato fries, etc. Highly recommended at that hour. It's located on Thomas Ave. Just take a left out of Elizabeth Ave, onto Hawthorne Lane. Take Hawthorne up to Central. Take a right on Central and then a right on Thomas. It's on the corner of Thomas and Commonwealth.

    Another place nearby that will be serving very good food at that hour is Soul Gastrolounge. I highly recommend that, but it's not diner food. It's more creative food served as small plates. The place has a "hip" atmosphere. Soul is located near the Penguin, right on the corner of Central and Pecan (which is the road next to Thomas). The places are about a mile from the Visulite. (Soul should be serving food past midnight, while The Penguin closes its kitchen at midnight on weeknights. All of the bars in the area are open until 2 a.m., however).

    There are also plenty of options within walking distance of Freedom Park. Freedom Park is off of East Boulevard, which is lined with places to eat. The closest place is Big Daddy's which serves excellent burgers. Up a little farther is Dikadee's, which has decent sandwiches and a nice deck out front. Right by there is Cantina 1511, a popular Mexican restaurant. And across the street is a shopping center, where in the back there is a very good Peruvian/Colombian restaurant called Pio Pio. In front of the shopping center is a pizza place that I like, called Brixx, serving thin-crust wood-fired pizzas. Across the street from that is 131 Main, which has some decent food. As I said, you can walk to all of these places. A little farther up East Blvd., if you want more of a hike, is a popular Charlotte restaurant that has been around for a while called 300 East.

    And there are plenty of places to eat/drink near Queens University. Nolen has very good food. it's located on Selwyn just a few blocks from Queens and has a nice patio. Avoid Selwyn Pub right next to it. If you go a little farther up Selwyn and take a right on Runnymede/Woodlawn (the road changes names right there), then a quick left on Montford, there are several options. I'm a huge fan of Good Food on Montford, which serves mostly small plates, and is a great place for trying different things and sharing. When I go with one other person we typically order 5 or 6 plates that we share. Across the street is a good restaurant called Andrew Blair's. A little closer to Woodlawn is Moosehead, which has decent bar food.

    If you're on Woodlawn and go past Montford, to your left is a little shopping center. On one end, there is Sushi 101, which has decent sushi. On the other end is a small place called Hef's which serves very good bar food: sandwiches, quesadillas, and one of the best burgers in town. Near Hef's is a place called Tavern on Park, which has some decent food, but nothing exciting. Across from that shopping center on the other side of Woodlawn is another shopping center called Park Road Shopping Center. Behind that shopping center is a place that has become somewhat of a Charlotte institution-- Sir Edmond Halley's. It's a British-style pub-- one of my favorite watering holes-- that serves some very good food. It's been a popular place among locals for over 13 years now. All of these places are within walking distance, or a very short driving distance of Queens University.

    If you exit Queens University and headed the opposite direction you would go to get to the places mentioned above, Queens Road becomes Providence Road, and on that strip, there are some options as well. There is Big Ben's, which is a British Pub, but I can't vouch for the food there, as I haven't eaten the food. It is mostly British food and bar food. Also on Povidence is Deejai, a Thai restaurant I have heard some good things about (don't go here if you want to drink with dinner though). A little farther down is one of my favorite restaurants in Charlotte, Terra, but it is on the pricier side. It is Italian-French cuisine. A little farther down from there is another charlotte institution that is a neighborhood favorite called Fenwick's. I haven't eaten there in years, but it has always remained popular. And right on the corner of Providence and Queens-- the intersection that confuses everyone-- at the end of the little shopping center, is a good pizza place called Wolfman, serving California-style pizza.

    You should be able to google just about all of these places to help make up your mind.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ickymettle

      Definitely the CAJUN QUEEN restaurant. One half mile from the theater.

      Live dixieland jazz band, great for large parties!

      Food is very cajun...mild to super spicy!

      Try it...they take care of large groups in advance and they will be ready for you after the show!

      1. re: jrc31957

        Ikymettle, thanks!!! Wow, so many options, I can't wait to forward the links and assure everyone we will eat and drink well!

        jrc31957, I will look into Cajun Queen, sounds like a blast.

        Thanks again!

        1. re: jrc31957

          Cajun Queen does close by 11, though.

          1. re: jrc31957

            Cajun Queen will be closed by the time you get out of that show. Probably won't make it to the Penguin in time either, but they do serve until midnight.

            If you just want late night bar food, the Philosopher's Stone on 7th at Caswell serves late. Don't expect fine dining, but it works if you're hungry and noone else is serving.

            If you don't mind driving a couple of miles, Sir Ed's serves the full menu until 2. From the Visulite, take 3rd away from town...3rd will turn into Providence....that will turn into Queens....that will turn into Selwyn....never mind just bring a GPS :-). This would probably be my choice. I can think of a few other places that serve late but none I could recommend. Late night food thats worth eating is hard to find here.

            1. re: southernitalian

              Re: Selwyn. I guess it's a personal preference, but I'm not into the scene there. It's a little "fratty" and some of the bartenders are very rude. And the food is not very good. It shows a side of the city I wouldn't want to show off to visitors. Plus, I think it's a difficult bar in which to be an outsider, as it's a hang out for 20-30-something frat brothers and sorority sisters who seem to know each other . This refers to its nighttime scene. I find it a relaxing place during the daytime on manyoccasions.

              1. re: ickymettle

                Yeah, I guess I agree. I have only been there for brunch in the past couple of years. They make a good bloody.