Black-Owned Restaurants in Charlotte
Whether you’re a native Charlottean or planning to visit soon, check out some amazing Black-owned restaurants that you can support in the Queen City.
by Tierany Griffin
Charlotte’s vibrant history has led to a thriving business community filled with creative entrepreneurs. The contributions of local Black businesses, restaurants, communities and legacies have proven that even through limited resources and a heightened awareness of economic inequalities across the country, Black businesses are a mainstay in the past, present and future in the city’s burgeoning cultural landscape.
Neighborhood: Gold District
This speakeasy-style bar offers American style food and a variety of cocktails, craft beers and wines. On any given night, you can stop in to enjoy some live music, chill out on their patio (open all year) and even bring your furry companion to enjoy the vibes!
From signature dishes and craft cocktails to flavorful hookah and great music, 7th Restaurant & Lounge is home to one of the best culinary experiences in Charlotte. Great vibes matched with a chef-inspired low-country menu with features like Chicken & Waffles and a Creole Shrimp Clam Bake, are just some of the reasons why 7th is a fan favorite in the city.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Authentic Ethiopian cuisine is famous for the use of fresh vegetables, top-quality cuts of meats and exotic spices. At Abugida, you will find all that and then some. There's also a terrific selection of vegetarian dishes on the menu, making this a great choice for everyone. Even if you're new to the cuisine, the helpful and friendly staff are happy to walk you through the menu.
Affectionately named after her alma mater’s mascot, the Howard University Blue Bison, Mia Kennedy Wallace started this Charlotte-based mobile coffee shop in 2020 as a way for people to maintain socially distanced, while still being social. The cozy coffee carriage is well-known for their fan favorites, such as the ‘Georgia Ave Blend’, a special blend of dark roast with notes of dark chocolate, named after the street near Howard University. In addition to serving great coffee, Blue Bison Coffee now offers coffee and merch online and ships across the country.
This popular bakery, owned by Frankie White, was featured on Food Network’s “Girl Scout Cookie Championship” and has easily secured its spot as a sweet staple in the QC. With offerings like cake slices, cheesecakes, brownies, doughnuts, cereal treats and pies, not to mention the hot cinnamon rolls, hot cobbler and ice cream add-ons at the East Charlotte location, it’s easy to see why.
Neighborhood: Wesley Heights
Located in the heart of Wesley Heights, Cuzzo's Cuisine is a gourmet restaurant best known for Southern cuisine with bold flavors. Their delicious menu ranges from wings, fried shrimp, veggie plate, red-velvet waffles, chicken tenders, tacos, and more, but their “claim to fame” is their lobster mac and cheese. If that’s your jam, do yourself a favor and treat yourself.
No matter where you are in the city or the time of day it is, it’s always a good time for a detour to Detour Coffee Bar. Established in 2019 by a former bookstore barista with a passion for people, community and coffee, this full-service mobile coffee shop is known for serving locally roasted coffee & espresso, as well as hand-crafted beverages and pastries throughout the Queen City.
Infused with Cajun and Creole cuisines, Freshwaters is the place to be if you’re looking for a menu that consists of boldly flavored appetizers, deeply satisfying entrees and homemade desserts. Stop in today to enjoy one of their nicely cooked crab cakes, delicious fried catfish or succulent grilled prawns.
Neighborhood: West Charlotte
We got “Nuttin’ But Love’ for Hip Hop Smoothies, a delicious, made-to-order smoothie shop offering guests the sweet opportunity to roll alongside while they drop sick beats and even sicker treats. Their funky fresh offerings include the coconut milk-based C.R.E.A.M, Red Bull-based “Turn Down for What” and juice-focused ”Gin and Juice.”
From its customizable menu to sleek interiors, JINYA Ramen Bar is best known for its slow-cooked approach to ramen, made from broths simmered for 20 hours in-house. Walk into this Uptown location and be greeted with a lively, eclectic atmosphere and Japanese scratch-made menu items. Drop in to try a bowl of something delicious and be sure to take a pic by the Japanese whiskey display.
In the mood for a cold press? Juice Box Charlotte is an all natural juice bar and wellness shop serving cold press juices, smoothies, essential shots, and more. Located in the Historic NoDa district, their menu features all natural ingredients sourced by local growers. With over 25 delicious offerings you’re guaranteed to find the remedy to cure your juice fix.
Neighborhood: Camp North End
Described as a "modern juke joint," Leah & Louise is founded and owned by Charlotte power couple, Chef Greg and Subrina Collier. Along with mixologist, Justin Hazelton, they have created a menu featuring southern dishes and cocktails, inspired by Mississippi River Valley foodways. Their menu changes frequently based on seasonality and product availability, but favorites like the River Chips and Mud Island cannot be missed.
Neighborhood: Wesley Heights
Lulu’s Maryland Style Chicken and Seafood is one of Charlotte’s most notable Black-owned restaurants. With a menu that consists of house specials like Lulu’s Shrimp & Grits, Stuffed Salmon platters and their Honey Old Bay Wings, Lulu is a Charlotte staple known for their Maryland flair with a southern twist.
In the mood for some down home, low country cookin’? Then Mert’s Heart & Soul is where you want to be. Let today be the day you treat yourself to one of their Gullah-inspired dishes such as shrimp and grits, Charleston red rice and award-winning macaroni and cheese. Make sure you save room for a slice of cake.
Owned by Ashley Troxler, this truck is bringing nachos with a twist to the masses. You can enjoy your nachos on a bed of chips, lettuce or pork rinds and even offers a Margarita Kit that offers new flavors every week.
Neighborhood: University City
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, Nick and Mike’s Bar & Grill is the place to be. Located in the University City area, they offer delicious appetizers and burgers, a wide variety of specialty cocktails and a warm artistic atmosphere to relax. Word on the street is the chicken wings are the star dish.
If decadence on a stick is your thing, then make sure Popbar Charlotte is on your list. This local franchise, owned by Kia Lyons, has earned quite the reputation as they serve 40-plus rotating flavors ranging from classics like Chocolate and Vanilla to the more unique Green Tea and Passion Fruit. They even offer seasonal options, and premium dippings and toppings.
Neighborhood: Lower South End
Where’s the beef? Not at Romeo’s, but you’d never know it. Romeo’s Vegan Burger is a 100% plant-based food truck and restaurant in Charlotte dishing out vegan-friendly burgers, fries and shakes. Even non-vegans swear by the flavors and spices these dishes bring to the table.
One of NoDa's popular spots, Roy's Kitchen & Patio has a vacation friendly vibe with a heavy reggae soundtrack. Stop in to try their perfectly seasoned island fare, like the rotisserie chicken, oxtails or curry goat and if the weather permits, grab a tropical drink and hang out back on their large patio.
In the mood for a delicious salad? Salata is the spot. This Uptown spot is owned by two investors with former ties to the Charlotte Hornets and features over 50 toppings and a dozen signature dressings. Not in the mood for a salad? Customize a wrap and warm up with a side of the in-house-made soups. Don't forget the limeade!
A delicious landmark in the city, Sub One Hoagie House is a quaint neighborhood staple offering subs, sandwiches, and everything in between. Don’t miss the chicken hoagie, Hot Italian, or the New Jersey - all winners!
The only thing sweeter than the homemade churned ice cream and toppings that Two Scoops offers is the story of how they came to be. Co-owner Marques Johnson and his best friends came together to open an ice cream parlor that offers over 32 staple flavors as well as rotating seasonal flavors. You can also expect coffee flavors like almond coffee and mocha varieties. And one seasonal flavor to get excited for? Vanilla Fudge Brownie. Yes, please.
With a focus on providing healthy, classic dishes with twist and flare, this award-winning food truck specializes in great tasting vegan fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kick the day off with their Peach Cobbler Pancakes or wind down with their BBQ Ribz or Truffle Mac and Cheez dinner entrees.
From their acclaimed chic’n drumsticks to its ribz, jerk chic’n and famous mac n’ cheeze — Veltree has definitely made a name for itself in Charlotte and around the country. They’ve attracted a number of celebrities including Anthony Hamilton, Cam Newton, Tabatha Brown and Nick Cannon and their new location will eventually become a full-service restaurant. For now, check out their takeout and delivery options from their limited menu.
Get ready for an elevated fry experience. This local, family-and-friends-owned-and-operated culinary concept offers unexpected and inventive menu items like their Shrimp Hibachi Fries or their Sweet Potato Bread Pudding made with multi-colored tots. Enjoy other menu items like their premium burgers, sandwiches and wraps to complement your gourmet fry experience.