Where are the best restaurants in Charlotte?
We are driving in to Charlotte mid-afternoon on a Tuesday in April coming down 77 and staying somewhere overnight before heading out on Wednesday and continuing down and out 77. We will have time to eat hopefully twice on T and once on W (maybe grabbing lunch to go). We have two children and two adults in our party. We like interesting, local, spicy, bbq, meat, fresh and would like to try what is great about Charlotte. We stay away from too formal with the children. We are happy to grab takeout and go back to the hotel. We'll try to stop at a couple non-food (if that is possible) interesting places too especially to check out Charlotte and to stretch our car-shaped bodies.
The question is - in what area should we try to stay so we are near some good food? Or are there places to eat along the route? Farther north up 77, as close to downtown as possible, headed out south a bit? Catch 85 one way or the other?
Once we have a place to stay I can narrow down by location where to eat.
I think the Plaza Midwood neighborhood sounds like it would a good fit for you, although there are no hotels there. But, it's not far from Uptown (as we call our central business district) and it's not far from I-77.
In Plaza Midwood you might like Midwood Smoke House, Johns Country Kitchen, Dish, Zada Janes, Intermezzo, Bistro La Bon, Krazy Fish, Lulu, 21 South (old style drive-in) and The Diamond.
Other places to consider in other neighborhoods are Old Hickory House (old school BBQ), Price's Chicken Coop (great fried chicken, take out only) BBQ King (another old style drive in) and Greens Lunch in Uptown for hot dogs.
Also, when you're driving in, you might want to consider Keaton's BBQ, near (sorta near) the intersection of I-77 and I-40. They have a wonderful version of BBQ chicken. Check their website and pay close attention to their hours of operation.
I agree with carolinadawg, Plaza-Midwood is the chillest, hippest neighborhood and the food in that area reflects that. The lunch and brunch at Bistro La Bon is great and casual and perfectly suitable for the kids. It's buffet but, don't be fooled, it's quality and interesting eats and great somewhat exotic decor.
I love me some Midwood Smokehouse (right across Central Ave. from Bistro La Bon). Their brisket is no joke. Great pulled pork too. Kid friendly as well.
The Diamond is a fun retro diner with standard diner fare and great bloody mary's. Sit outside if the weather permits. Good people watching. All those mentioned by c'dawg are great spots too.
The Common Market is a fun place to poke around. Its a neighborhood corner market that has a huge beer selection, inexpensive wines-by-the-glass and some good takeout sandwiches. If you have a drink outside at a table, again, it's good people watching.
A short drive from Plaza-Midwood is an area we refer to as NoDa, our arts district. Great little shops, bars, restaurants and interesting stuff. Here you will find Cabo Fish Taco - for a plethora of great fish tacos. A couple cool, local breweries that typically have food trucks parked outside (NoDa Brewery & Birdsong Brewery). Across Davidson St. from the breweries is Amelie's. A french bakery with an eccletic, quirky decor. A fun spot with great pastries and other treats.
I would definitely stay close to uptown, as carolinadawg suggests.
Enjoy your visit!
Thank you both! This is very helpful. Looks like a nice park downtown and a nice walk through Plaza Midwood and the NoDa neighborhoods on the way to our eating! I will try to get to Keaton's on our way even if we have to get up an hour early to hit their open hours. I look forward to our pass-through visit!
OMG, I forgot to second carolinadawg's Keaton's rec. Good God do I love their dipped chicken. You MUST go there. It is a genuine back woods (or cornfield as the case may be) food experience. An old shack, not-so-friendly service but delicious sweet and spicy chicken that will make you swoon. Be certain to check their hours. Report back!