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Mar 6, 2011 04:07 PM

Charlotte Hounds

We are coming in for a weekend and staying in a Doubletree downtown...I guess it's called gateway village?? By Johnson and Wales?? Any rec's in the nearby area? We are willing to spend for one night and something hole in the wall would be great for the other... Will we be able to walk or drive..I've never been to the city and I'm not sure how easy getting around is..But, we are willing to drive out if something is worth it...Maybe we could eat at Johnson and Wales??lol

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  1. Lots of similar posts in this vein, you might search around a bit. I'm not as familiar with the area just around J&W. Any specific cuisine you're looking for? You're a relatively short drive from a great many places.

    1. Weekend hours may or may not be an issue for the restaurants in that immediate area, I'm not sure. Little Village Grill is a convenient place for a burger or falafel. Gateway Wok is actually surprisingly good Chinese-American, I frequently have lunch there. They have a few dishes leaning towards Indian flavors (probably to cater to the local office crowd).

      Outside of those two, just search any recent threads for Charlotte downtown (or uptown...), its a frequent request.

      Little Village Grill
      710 W Trade St Ste G, Charlotte, NC 28202

      1. You have some good options within walking distance or a short drive. First and foremost, Halcyon at The Mint Museum. It's a farm-to-table restaurant housed within our arts museum. Gorgeous atmosphere - floor to ceiling windows that overlook downtown and an amazing outdoor patio. Chef Marc does some creative food - things like roasted bone marrow with orange marmalade and toast, house-made seared foie gras many different ways, braised short ribs, unbelieveable roasted brussel sprouts, etc. They have a good wine list, some creative cocktails and a lively atmosphere. They take reservations and I would recommend you make them. This would be your nicer meal option.

        Another option for your nicer meal would be Kalu Kitchen Bar. This would be a bit more expensive than Halcyon but an equally lovely interior. Chef Bryan has been nominated for several national awards and the restaurant was recently recognized in Esquire magazine as one of the best new restaurants of 2010. The menu is, of course, asian inspired with lots of sushi, kimchee, dim sum, etc. Here's a link to their site:

        Not quite hole-in-the-wall but very casual and affordable, I would recommend Greek Isles on Bland St. Traditional Greek fare, great service and relaxed atmosphere. I am a fan of their lamb shank and also the mousaka. Get the saganaki (flaming cheese) - they light the ouzo on fire and yell "OPA"!

        There aren't really any hole-in-the-wall places in downtown proper. If you want bbq their is Mac's Speedshop on South Blvd (just south of downtown). They've got great brisket, wings, pulled pork. For a more seedy biker bar experience in the same area there is McKoy's Smokehouse & Saloon, which is just around the corner from Mac's on Old Pineville Rd.

        I hope this helps. Enjoy your visit!

        14 Replies
        1. re: lynnlato

          Thank you Lynn! Those all sound great, we'll definitely hit the Halcyon, sounds like an experience....Since you been so helpful, any breakfast around the area??

          1. re: jonfrank604

            If the idea of Halcyon appeals to you, then I would get breakfast at Harvest Moon Grill which is in the Dunhill Hotel on Tryon Street. They source locally as well, and feature stone ground grits, farm fresh eggs, biscuits and fresh sausages.

            1. re: hazardnc

              Great suggestion, hazardnc. Jon, the folks behind Harvest Moon are great chicks who own a free-range pig farm in the area where they raise tamworth hogs, and a few chickens, ducks, etc too. They have the best pork in the area - all natural, no hormones. One of the women is a chef and she is the creative force behing Harvest Moon Grill. I haven't been yet, it's relatively new, but I've been to their food truck many times and they always served up great food. If you go, eat some of their scrapple for me!

              There isn't much downtown, at least not that I know of and that is worth seeking out... other than harvest Moon Grill, as hazardnc suggested. Mert's Heart & Soul serves up a soul food brunch, but it won't blow your mind, but it will fill your belly and satisfy.

              If you wanted to take a short drive to an interesting part of town I would suggest Zada Jane's on Central Ave. It's located in a funky part of town and they serve up organic food in a laid back, chill environment. Afterwards you can walk up one block to Nova's bakery and get some bread and pastries - I recommend their cannoli and eclairs - wow! Across the street is John's Country Kitchen - a standard fare Greek diner, if you wanted something more basic.

              A little farther out is Amelie's. You'll have to drive up N. Davidson up to NoDa (where our arts district is). Amelie's has great coffee, breakfast sandwiches, soups, and some of the most delicious pastries anywhere in town. I'm a fan of their almond tea cakes, petit fours, chocolate croissants, macaroons, etc., etc.! The atmosphere is ecclectic with big velour sofas and mismatched furniture and interesting chandeliers. They are open 24 hrs. Ooh, I just remembered, they have a new location downtown! 330 S. Tryon St., but I just checked and that location opens at 10a.m.

              Sorry, I rambled a bit - hopefully you can make sense of it. :-)

              1. re: lynnlato

                Lynn, we will be in the Charlotte area in a couple of weeks & really appreciated your restaurant recs! We are planning to have dinner @ Kalu Asian Kitchen & lunch @ Halcyon but need 1 more reservation for lunch/brunch on either Fri. or Sat. It doesn't have to be uptown--we are willing to drive anywhere in the city for wonderful food, as my husband is a chef & certainly knows & appreciates the current food scene. Thanks, in advance!

                1. re: corrine48

                  Hey Corrine, glad to be of help! FYI, I would retract my rec for Kalu. There's been a shake up over there and it's no longer highly regarded - sorry. That said, I'll give you a couple more dinner recs and a few lunch ones too. Here goes:


                  Customshop - this is one of my favorite spots and it's just south of uptown on Elizabeth. The menu changes every week and the chef is all about fresh and local food. He's big on fish and seafood and serves up really clean plates (not heavily sauced or overly-complex). He's known for his crudo, charcuterie and who doesn't love sliced to order country ham? :)

                  Fig Tree - is not far from Customshop and is a restaurant in a gorgeously restored craftsman style bungalow. It's a lovely place - eat on the porch if the weather is nice. It's a bit pricier than the other places, but worth it. I haven't been in a while but they have always had a great reputation. The menu is French focused and they always have foie gras which makes me happy. For dessert have the beignets and the pressed coffee.


                  Harvest Moon Grille - (see post above) They are uptown at The Dunhill Hotel and have a pig-centric menu. Casual and affordable but nice.

                  Midwood Smokehouse - if you're in the mood for cue, this is the place. It's in a funky, rough-around-the-edges (in a good way) part of town. Great smoked whole hog bbq and brisket with all the sides and beer. Win-win!

                  Greek Isles - if you want to get your Greek on, this is the place to go. It's in the Southend area (again, just south of uptown). The lamb shank is redunkulous! ;-


                  Crepe Cellar - This is a fun place up in the NoDa arts district, which is just North of uptown. Get the pan-fried brussel sprouts w/ arugula pesto - yum! Great beer and wine list too. Very casual and great energy here.

                  I hope this helps you out. Post back and let us know what you ate. Have fun!

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Wow, I can def. tell we're "on the same page"! The creative menu items that you mention are right up our alley! And, thx, for the "shout out" re: Kalu! One final question: If you could only have 1 dinner, Uptown, where would you go, &, likewise, 2 lunches ( or brunches), as we will be there Fri., Sat. Sorry, to put you on the spot, but we need it narrowed down and want the best possible experiences. Also, what about Halcyon for dinner, then?

                    1. re: corrine48

                      Hands down - Halcyon for dinner. Trust me! Bone marrow, foie gras, hog face terrine, oysters, lovely cumin & honey rubbed lamb ribs... girrrrl, I could go on for days about that place. Don't get me started on the beignets and bread pudding either.

                      If you need a second dinner spot, I'd say Customshop. It's like Halcyon, minus the gluttony.

                      Lunch/brunch - Crepe Cellar (swing by Amelie's French Bakery afterwards for case after case of lovely pastries - i like the almond tea cakes). And a 2nd lunch option I would say either Midwood Smokehouse for some really good cue OR Harvest Moon Grille for all things pork. But hey, that's me. I like to mix it up - too much fine food and your gallbladder will revolt. ;-)


                      1. re: lynnlato

                        Just to throw in my 2 cents, I think Good Food on Montford is the best food I've had in Charlotte thus far.

                        Maybe we caught Halcyon on a bad night, but I just wasn't impressed with the food there. Loved the apps and drinks and patio, but the entrees were so so, really overcooked.

                        We found Good Food on Montford to be inventive with an awesome atmosphere. My boyfriend moved to Charlotte a few months ago (he lives Uptown) and we've been exploring lots of restaurants. So far that's our best meal.

                    2. re: lynnlato

                      my only beef with Customshop is they are sooooo slow. Food was really, really great but for what we ordered it should have been an hour and a half meal from sit down to out the door. We were there for almost 4 hours. I don't know if that particular night they were short staffed or what but it was not busy (only 5 tables were occupied) and in fact, one of those tables got up and left because it was taking so long. On the way out he told the guy running the front of the house that this was the 3rd time they had been in and service had been slow every time and they would not be back.

                      I would definitely go back because the food was great (and they served up one of the best whiskey sours I've ever had!) but only if time is not a factor.

                      1. re: mljones99

                        Hmm, that's strange. All I can guess is it was an off night at Customshop. I've never had slow service - quite the opposite actually. As someone whose worked in the resto biz for many years, I fully appreciate quality service and so that's one of the things I've enjoyed at Customshop. I hope it was just an off night and that you'll return.

                        As for Good Food on Montford, I am not a fan. I haven't been recently and maybe should see if they've improved over the past 6+ mos. I dislike the atmosphere which is made up of cold hard surfaces and the small plates menu has no direction and really just seems like large plate meals without the sides. Their pork buns are awful (more like thinly sliced bacon rather than thick slabs of belly) and overpriced - of course I compare to them to Momofuku and Ippudo in NYC, but I've had the best so how can I not make that comparison? As for Halcyon, I'm not alone in singing it's praises. They received a lot of press over the past year. It's clearly the best dining experience in the queen city these days. House-made charcuterie, wacky sweet and savory ice creams, all foods are locally-sourced and the atmosphere is stunning - it's everything a Chowhound hopes to find. Princsoreo, I hope you'll try Halcyon again, i hate that you all got off to a bad start. :)

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          Lynn, now, I am so conflicted! We had planned to do Customshop for dinner (since they don't offer lunch), then Harvest Moon & Halcyon for lunch. After reading these last posts, however, I'm questioning our decision. If Halcyon is heads & tails above the rest, then maybe we should re-think things. We want the best possible dinner experience, since we may not be back in Charlotte for some time--help!!
                          PS We also LOVED Momofuku in NYC!

                          Harvest Moon Cafe
                          234 Broad St, Rome, GA 30161

                          1. re: corrine48

                            I would do Halcyon for Dinner, hands down. Chef Marc loves the pig just like David Chang. ;-) I like the energy and atmosphere of Halcyon at night and the dinner menu is WAY more interesting than their lunch time offerings.

                            I'm a HUGE Chang fan. Noodle Bar, Milk Bar, Ssam - love, love, love. I haven't been to Ko or Ma Peche yet. But I do have his cookbook and I'm working my way through it until I can get up to nyc again.

                            Enjoy your visit, e
                            at well and have fun. :)

            2. re: lynnlato

              Just a short , slightly off topic note, Halcyon also serves Proffitt Farms 100% organic, grass fed beef. The short ribs Lynlato mentioned are theirs. They are a local (Kings Mt. NC) producer of a high quality product. My wife and I recently took a cooking class at the farm. The Proffitts are wonderful people who really care about their animals.

              1. re: Tee

                Tee, do they regularly do cooking classes there at the farm? That sounds like something I would enjoy. What did y'all cook?

                P.S. I just googled them and found their website. They are part of the Know Your Farms Tour this Saturday. Here's a link: I didn't see anything about a cooking class though. :-(

            3. Down the block from J&W is a pizza restaurant, Pie Town, which is a concept developed by themaster baker, Peter Reinhart, of J&W. Its gotten mixed reviews here, and many favorable reviews from friends. It should be within walking distance of the DoubleTree.
              Pie Town
              710 W. Trade Street
              Charlotte, NC 28202

              Trade Street Cafe
              5563B Trade St, Hope Mills, NC 28348

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jibe

                Pie Town closed a couple months ago. It is now Frankie's 710 Trattoria, which is from the same group as Pie Town was (Sonoma Group)

                1. re: Jibe

                  Any chance that Trattoria kept Pie Town's Pizza oven?

                  1. re: shallots

                    Can't imagine they wouldn't, ownership didn't change.