Eat like a Local | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Eat like a Local

Want to know where Charlotteans go when hunger hits? Check out the time-honored and tasty restaurants that locals love to drop into for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Whether you want a hearty meal or a light bite, there’s something in Charlotte for you. In Plaza Midwood, you’ll find Nova’s Bakery, known for its Old World European-style bread and pastries, and Zada Jane’s Corner Café, a funky café serving organic and sustainable fare. In South Park, splurge for a ritzy and indulgent brunch at French eatery Café Monte (try the almond croissant), or opt for a healthy start at Living Kitchen, a vegetarian raw food joint that offers breakfast bowls and revitalizing smoothies (there is also a location in South End). Need a jolt of sugar to get you going? Hazelnuts Creperie (two locations in Uptown) is delectable, and craft doughnut shops like Joe’s Doughs and Duck Donuts are sprinkled throughout the city. Be sure to get your caffeine fix for the day at local coffee shops like Not Just Coffee, Trade and Lore or Smelly Cat Coffeehouse & Roastery.


Casual nosh and good Southern cooking keep locals going throughout the day. Drop by Pinky’s Westside Grill, Brooks Sandwich House or South 21 Drive-In for a burger, or head to Mert’s Heart and Soul, where Gullah-style soul food has kept the line out the door for more than two decades. Southern-inspired cuisine from Carolina farms abound at The King’s Kitchen and The Asbury in Uptown. The Mayobird is a chicken salad champion (no, really, watch them compete on Food Network’s “Food Court Wars”), and food trucks like Papi Queso rove Queen City streets with culinary vigor. And it wouldn't be a trip to Carolina without a stop at a barbecue joint; Bar-B-Q King, a longstanding drive-in eatery, is an under-the-radar favorite, and at Sauceman's, every meal starts with a free round of homemade pork rinds.  


Charlotte dinners pair ambiance with exceptional flavor. Welcoming and cozy, Mama Ricotta’s has served New Haven-style pizza and authentic Italian cuisine since 1992. And at Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, a James Beard-nominated chef serves incomparable homemade pastas in a restored 1920s structure. Try Fahrenheit for a meal with a sky-high view, or experience the city’s culinary innovation at 5Church, seated at the corner of 5th and Church streets. Mimosa Grill, Aria, Halcyon Flavors from the Earth, Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen and more offer farm-to-table cuisine within walking distance of the Charlotte Convention Center in Uptown.

Late Night

You won’t starve after-hours. Diner fare thrives close to Center City. Try breakfast at midnight at Central Avenue’s Landmark Diner, EpiCentre’s Red Eye Diner and, fittingly, Midnight Diner, a short drive or walk from Uptown.

Around the Clock

Amélie’s French Bakery serves some of Charlotteans’ favorite sweet treats 24/7 at its original location in the NoDa neighborhood. In addition to the coffee bar’s homey aroma, a display case of macarons, salted caramel brownies, eclairs, tarts and more invite those who crave indulgence to stay a while. While not open all night, Amélie’s also has additional locations in Uptown, Park Road Shopping Center, Carmel Commons and Rock Hill.