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Mar 14, 2012 06:40 PM

First time in Charlotte, NC


Taking my first trip to Charlotte. Looking for some great BBQ and Southern Food. I'm a pastry chef so recomendations for bakeries and chocolate shops will be helpful. It will be nice to check out a specialty food store and/or cookware.


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  1. Great bbq is going to require that you drive either 40 miles west (to Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, NC) or 50 miles northeast (to Lexington Barbecue in Lexington, NC) Sorry, but Charlotte just doesn't have good bbq. We have a handful of joints that do generic "everything under the sun barbecue" that you can find in any Southern city, but nothing that accurately conveys the quality and tradition of NC-style 'Q.

    Good southern food can be had in abundance. The key is finding a place that makes everything, including the veggies, from scratch as opposed to cans. The best recommendation I can give you is King's Kitchen in downtown ("Uptown") Charlotte. Excellent traditional southern dishes and sides. Not only that, but it is a not-for-profit organization that donates all of its proceeds to charity and utilizes its hiring practices for cooks, waitstaff, etc. to give underprivileged individuals key business training.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mikeh

      Mikeh looks like I will be going for a drive. I only have time to visit one of your bbq suggestions. Which would you choose?

    2. As mikeh notes, Charlotte doesn't have great BBQ, but there is pretty good BBQ to be had. Old Hickory House, on North Tryon Street is a serviceable, old style BBQ joint. They cook with wood. Midwood Smokehouse, is a good example of a newer, more "cleaned up" style place. Also, in Uptown is the Seventh Street Public Market, where Dan the Pigman has a food truck turning out some decen 'q.

      5 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        I went to Midwood Smokehouse for lunch the other day and thought it was really good. I got the brisket (part lean/part fatty) and it was excellent! A million times better than the brisket at Mac's. The fried pickles were not good and the BBQ slaw was just OK but I'd go back in a second for that brisket! I sampled the housemade sausage plate -- good sausage but nothing out of the ordinary.

        1. re: HungryDonkey

          The brisket and pork cue at Midwood are great. I even loved the smoked brisket sloppy joe. Yummm...

          There are a couple of new bbq joints in uptown that nobody has mentioned. I'm certain that Carolina Q has opened and has gotten good reviews (it was recommended by a couple local chefs too). The pitmaster there is the former pitmaster at Mac's, from back when Mac's first opened and was well-respected. I'd definitely give it a shot -

          1. re: lynnlato

            Tried the brisket at Q - Totally disappointed. Midwood Smokehouse is so superior. Its hard to believe what Q is serving is even from the same animal. Lacked taste, texture, smoke flavor. Midwood brisket consistently tastes like the real deal from Texas to me.

            1. re: GodfatherofLunch

              Sad to hear that. The folks at Halcyon really were impressed by them and gave us a glowing rec. Maybe a bad batch?

              I do love MIdwood too. All of it is friggin' good. That brisket sloppy joe made me chair dance!

          2. re: HungryDonkey

            I agree entirely. I also concur that Charlotte is sorely lacking in quality BBQ. However, since my background is Kansas City and East Texas, I may be a bit slanted.

            I do think Midwood is pretty dang good, although I'm certain it disappoints those Carolinians who favor watery vinegar-based Q (yuck) or mustard-based Q (double-yuck).

        2. Bakerywise, I prefer Sunflour, Nova's, and Amelie's. Sunflour is on 7th near uptown. Great breakfast. Nova's has excellent bread. And Amelie's is the local phenom for atmosphere.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Nocturnalbill

            The 7th Street Public Market sounds like an interesting place to visit. Is this simular to the Ferry Building in San Francisco? There are purveyors selling fresh produce, fish, meats, restauants, coffee and tea, etc...

            1. re: sugarNspice

              Alas, have not been. There are likely others who have been. I have heard good things though.

              1. re: sugarNspice

                I haven't yet been to the 7th Street Market but I can't imagine it's anywhere near the level of the Ferry Building in S.F. at this time (especially the Saturday market there.) From what I understand, there are many vendor spaces still available. I would be in heaven if it could come close to the S.F. market.

            2. I always liked Bubba's BBQ when in Charlotte. It is the Eastern Carolina vinegar based kind. They have great hush puppies too.

              1. I am visiting with kids. My wife and I are mostly vegetarian. Any good veggie friendly places we should hit? Any can't miss kid friendly places?

                9 Replies
                1. re: 2000man

                  Where? Charlotte? What part of town? Will you have a car? How far do you want to drive? Are you here now, or is this in the future?

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    Thanks for the response. I will have a car. We are staying the Myers Park area. Our trip is in a couple of weeks. We don't want to have to drive that far.

                    1. re: 2000man

                      Ok, that helps. There is a vegetarian restaurant called Fern, on Central Avenue, not too far from the MP area. Close to Fern is Dish, which has a lot of home style veggies, although many are cooked with meat, so if you're a strict vegetarian (I guess thats a dumb description, one either is or isn't?) it may not be a great option. Closer to MP is Cowfish, which features sushi and burgers (sounds strange, but works). I would think you and your wife could enjoy non meat sushi (assuming you like sushi) and the kids could get a burger.

                      Hopefully others will come in as well....

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        All those sound great to me. Thanks. I will let you know what we try.

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          My kids love cowfish. Very family friendly spot, but fun enough for adults too.

                          If you want amazing quality sushi, check out Yama Asian Fusion in the Southpark area too. They have all the typical rolls, sashimi, nigiri but also toro, otoro madai, etc. And they have kid-friendly veg or chicken rice bowls, gyoza, etc.

                          Fern is great. I love the goats milk ricotta cannelloni w/ pureed butternut squash and spiced nuts. The om burger is supposedly very good too - made w/ white beans and tofu and all sorts of fun toppings. There menu changes often so not sure what they are serving up right now.

                          Roosters is a veggie friendly place too (also in the Southpark area). Their roasted corn is delicious, great simple green beans and lots of others. They will put together a plate of 3 or 4 of their veggie sides and it's always very satisfiying. House-made pasta is good too. I've taken my kids there too. The only con is it's a little bit pricey.

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            Thanks for the recs. I am too hungry to be reading these right now.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Thanks everyone. We made it to Cowfish. My kids loved it. The bento boxes were great. Everyone liked their food. It was a great choice. We also tried Roosters. I loved the roasted corn and all the veggies. My kids loved their mashed yukons. We tried pizza at the Mellow Mushroom. That was good, too. Again, thanks for all the input.

                              1. re: 2000man

                                Glad you had a good visit. It's hard to find places that are kid-friendly and have great food and atmosphere and makes everybody happy. Glad we could help!

                            2. re: carolinadawg

                              Just a quick aside: I know at one point all of Dish's vegetables were vegetarian. This is the kind of statement that only makes sense down South, isn't it?