Things to do

What's New in Charlotte - Summer 2018

Sought after by millennials, Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, restaurateurs, and hoteliers, Charlotte continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Check out these new or anticipated places where you can eat, drink, play and stay.

Camp Snoopy at Carowinds - Photo by Robert Kisiah

ACCOLADES

  • Baseball America named BB&T Ballpark the No. 1 minor league baseball stadium in the country.
  • TripAdvisor named Charlotte one of the "20 Best Family Vacations for Teens."
  • The NASCAR Hall of Fame was named one of USA Today's "10 Best Readers' Choice" attractions.
  • Thrillest named NoDa Brewing Company's Hop, Drop 'n Roll one of the 33 hottest IPAs in the country right now.
Photo courtesy of Haymaker

DINING

Elizabeth’s Seventh Street has turned over. In May, The Stanley opened; the upscale, farm-driven restaurant comes from James Beard semifinalist Paul Verica, who formerly owned Heritage Food + Drink in Waxhaw. Mixologist Larry Suggs is behind the cocktail menu, and chef Ben Philpott, of Block & Grinder and Lumiere, mans the kitchen. Opening next door is The Crunkleton, from mixologist Gary Crunkleton of Chapel Hill. These additions to the neighborhood follow closures last year, and the subsequent opening of Caswell Station where Kennedy’s Premium Bar and Grill used to be.

Shake Shack has arrived! North Carolina’s first location is seated in Park Road Shopping Center and has boasted long lines since its April opening. The much-anticipated fast-food burger chain plans to open a second location in Blakeney Village this year.

Asheville chef William Dissen’s new Uptown restaurant, Haymaker, opened in March. Serving high-end sustainable foods, the restaurant focuses on dinner, but it also offers a rare treat in this busy business district: an early morning weekday breakfast menu.

Well-known Charlotte chefs and owners continue to expand their entrée empires. Le Cochon D’Or, from the owners of Aix en Provence, opened in January in Waxhaw. Let’s Meat, a cook-your-own-Korean-barbecue concept, opened in March from David Choi and Kevin Dae, the partners behind Seoul Food Meat Company. Rare Roots Hospitality (Dressler’s, Dogwood and The Porter’s House) also opened seafood restaurant Fin & Fino in Uptown. Jim Noble’s new barbecue restaurant, Noble Smoke BBQ, opens this summer.

Popular Charlotte chains also continue to expand. In May, Potbelly Sandwich Shop expanded to South Park and Viva Chicken to Indian Trail. After years of serving Plaza Midwood and Lake Norman, Two Scoops Creamery opened its third location in Mooresville in April. Fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant YAFO Kitchen plans to open in Plaza Midwood in June and Dilworth in October; the original location is in South Park. In Uptown, Reid’s Fine Foods will open its third location in the coming months, as well the city’s favorite Latin street food chain, Sabor, which is edging closer and closer to 10 locations.

This time last year, Charlotte was welcoming its first poke restaurant. Now the trend is everywhere. Recent newcomers include Poke Bar (Midtown), King Fish Poke (University City), Hi Tide Poke & Raw Bar (Dilworth) and Umami PokeRito (Matthews). California chain Pokeatery plans to open here this year as well.

Bang Bang Burgers in South End

OPEN NOW

Bang Bang Burgers
Opened: February 2018
Location/Concept: South End. Originally promoted as Bang Bang Bites, a slider concept, this burger restaurant is now second location for Bang Bang Burgers

Famous Toastery
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: Uptown. Known for its fresh-made breakfasts, this Huntersville-born restaurant has an additional location planned for University City. 

Davidson Ice House
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: Davidson. Located in the building formerly occupied by Davidson Ice Company in 1922, this diet-friendly (paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free) dishes out build-your-own meals.

Kre8 Gastropub
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: South End. This gastropub shares a space with Wooden Robot Brewery; its menu is from the minds of Twisted Eats food truck, so expect quirky concoctions like mac-and-cheese egg rolls.

Holler & Dash
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: South End. This Tennessee chain dresses biscuits with sweet and savory toppings like fried chicken with pimento cheese or whipped Creole cream cheese with strawberries and whipped cream. 

First Watch
Opened: Spring 2018
Location/Concept: Matthews. Replacing Fuddruckers is a hearty breakfast chain dishing out breakfast tacos, avocado toast, pancakes and more.

Tacos 4 Life
Opened: April 2018
Location/Concept: Concord. A fast-casual taco chain that stuffs tortillas with everything from Korean barbecue to crab cakes to crispy eggplant. 

Tandur Indian Kitchen
Opened: April 2018
Location/Concept: South Park. This fast-casual Indian restaurant chain is known for its chicken tikka masala. A second Charlotte location is planned for Rea Farms Village, and Tandur is considering adding locations in South End, South Charlotte, Huntersville and Mooresville. 

Maple Street Biscuit Company
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: Concord. This breakfast and lunch biscuit chain has plans for another location in South Park. 

Superica
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: South End. In the neighborhood’s Design Center, this Atlanta-based Tex-Mex restaurant is known for its cheesy nachos, shareable entrees, margaritas and cocktails.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Opened: Spring 2018
Location/Concept: Uptown. Wine and dine at this upscale seafood restaurant chain, where every variety under the sea—oysters, shellfish towers, South African lobster tail—is served.

Deli St
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. This bakery, deli, café and bottle shop serves healthy, quick meals and features both vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus. 

Bardo
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: South End. This 44-seat small plates restaurant in the Gold District focuses on progressive and technical dishes. Amanda Britton, formerly of 204 North, is the mixologist.

House of Pizza
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. This neighborhood classic has reopened, giving cheesesteak lovers a reason to rejoice. 

131 Main
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: South Park. After a fire at the Dilworth location forced the restaurant to close, 131 has reopened with daily fresh catch options and a pared down menu.

OPENING SOON

Common Market
Opening: June 2018
Location/Concept: South End. This much-anticipated reopening brings this bodega-style shop back to the neighborhood, but in a new location—on Tremont near Zeppelin and Bang Bang Burgers. 

Bulla Gastrobar
Opening: June 2018
Location/Concept: South Park. Spanish-inspired dishes and tapas make this chain, with locations in larges cities throughout the South, an anticipated addition for brunch and dinner.

Philly Pretzel Factory
Opening: Summer 2018
Location/Concept: Steele Creek. Owned by tennis pro Dwayne Thomas, this pretzel shop offers the standard dough twists (with many dip selections) as well as specialty items like spicy pretzel sausages and pepperoni pretzel melts . 

Skrimp Shack
Opening: July 2018
Location/Concept: Pineville. With locations in Virginia, this fast-casual fried fish restaurant plates catfish sandwiches, po boys, shrimp dinners and more.

Siggy’s Good Food
Opening: August 2018
Location/Concept: Belmont. New York restaurateur Siggy Sollitto will relocate her organic, locally sourced café to the Charlotte area.

The Waterman
Opening: Late summer 2018
Location/Concept: South End. From the Sea Level NC team, this rooftop oyster bar will take over a two-story unit near South Boulevard’s new Harris Teeter.

Barcelona Wine Bar
Opening: Summer 2018
Location/Concept: South End. In the neighborhood’s developing Design Center, this Atlanta-based restaurant will plate tapas and have nearly 400 wines.

RECENT CLOSURES

  • Philadelphia Deli. The 50-year-old sandwich shop closed in February.
  • Dean and Deluca. Starting with the South Park location, all Charlotte locations of the popular shop closed suddenly in April.
  • Gateau Baking Co. This bakery in 7th Street Public Market announced its closure in April.
  • Wu’s Cajun Sea Food. After a short run, this Cajun-Asian fusion restaurant in South End closed in April. The owners replaced it with a bar, Rosemont, which opened in late May.
  • Luca Modern Italian Kitchen. Elizabeth Avenue’s beloved Italian restaurant closed in March.
  • Babushka Pierogi. Pineville’s Polish restaurant closed in March.
  • Rise Ballantyne. This doughnut shop closed in May, but its Steele Creek location is still open.
  • Davidson Street Public House. This bar in NoDa closed in May.
  • The Liberty Gastropub. This longtime South End restaurant closed in May.
  • George's Brasserie. After eight years in South Park, the restaurant closed over Memorial Day weekend.
  • Suki Akor. The Japanese restaurant in Uptown closed in May after 40 days in business.
Tiki Bar at Hello, Sailor - Photo by Kyo H Nam

DRINKS & DESSERT

In April, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden added a beer garden with local brews, lawn games, picnic space and live music. Check the beer garden’s schedule before you go; hours change for weekends and seasons.

This spring, Helles & Dunkel rebranded as The Union, serving an assortment of beer, wine and spirits—plus Prosecco on tap.

In Lower South End, Brewers at 4001 Yancey, a 28,000-square-foot space combining Southern Tier Brewery and Victory Brewing, expects to open in June. The dual-branded brewery will be massive, with more than 500 seats and a designated drop-off area for ride-share services.

Gary Crunkleton, of The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill, will open his eponymous bar in Elizabeth this summer. His Charlotte institution will offer shareable small plates and old-school cocktails, plus a few Instagrammable showstoppers.

Many of Charlotte’s longstanding breweries have plans to expand. Wooden Robot Brewery, which recently opened its own gastropub, will open in a new location in NoDa in spring 2019. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery plans to begin construction on a second location in Cornelius in 2019 and is slated to open an airport location this year. NoDa Brewing Co. also plans to open a full-service restaurant and taproom in the airport. Finally, Legion Brewing has begun its South Park expansion, which, when it opens this fall, will be nearly double the size of its Plaza Midwood predecessor.

Cornelius restaurant Hello, Sailor has opened a tiki bar. The lakeside bar is right outside the restaurant.

OPEN NOW

Backstage Lounge
Opened: February 2018
Location/Concept: South End. Located behind SouthBound restaurant, this speakeasy has décor inspired by Charlotte music venues. 

Divine Barrel Brewing
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: NoDa. This brewery focuses on wild and sour beers as well as wood-fermented and wood-aged beers.

Smooth Monkey
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. Just off Pecan Avenue, this smoothie shop also serves juices, acai bowls and shakes.

Basal Coffee
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: FreeMoreWest. Stocking pastries from Suarez Bakery, Basal is a coffee shop on a mission to showcase an inclusive Charlotte, hence its partnership with LaCa Projects. 

Villani’s Bakery
Opened: April 2018
Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. This bakery off Pecan Avenue makes a variety of cakes and macarons as well as monster chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, muffins and more.

Cork & Crate
Opened: Spring 2018
Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. This chic wine bar in Plaza Midwood hosts $10 tastings two Fridays a month.

World of Beer
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: Uptown. Housed in a 5,000-square-foot space, this chain in EpiCentre boasts 50 beers on tap.

Crane Coffee Company
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: Uptown. At the bottom of the NASCAR tower, this coffee shop also bakes homemade pasteries.

Seaboard Brewing
Opened: March 2018
Location/Concept: Matthews. Part of Seaboard Taproom & Wine Bar, the suburb’s only brewery is located in the heart of downtown.

NoDa Company Canteen
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: Camp North End. From the owners of NoDa Company Store, this tropical bar serves Charlotte beers and special sangria as well as homemade sweet tea and lemonade. 

Queen City Grounds
Opened: Spring 2018
Location/Concept: Uptown. This coffee shop is also an art space and café serving light breakfasts, lunch and in-house roasted coffee.

Rosemont
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: South End. This bar replaces Wu’s Cajun Sea Food, which closed in April. From the same restaurant group as Hot Taco and All American Pub (Bottle Cap Group), Rosemont serves cheap drinks, milkshakes and more indulgent treats.

Undercurrent Coffee
Opened: May 2018
Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. This artisan coffee shop sits on the same strip as Legion Brewing and Common Market.

OPENING SOON

Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo
Opening: Spring/Summer 2018
Location/Concept: Uptown. This bar atop the AC Hotel/Residence Inn will also serve upscale comfort food and stellar views. (Hint: “nuvole” is Italian for “cloud”)

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Opening: Summer 2018
Location/Concept: South End. Serving flavors like churro, salted honey and brown butter almond brittle, this popular ice cream chain is everywhere from Atlanta to Chicago. This will be the first Jeni’s in North Carolina.

The Queen & Glass

Opening: Summer/Fall 2018
Location/Concept: Dilworth. This craft cocktail lounge is the sister concept of The People’s Market, an urban grocer that opened last year.

The Music Yard - Photo by Bryan Twitty

SHOPPING & THINGS TO DO

Following the influx of mobile bike shares in the city, scooter shares are now available. Companies Lime, Bird and Spin brought hundreds of borrowable motorized scooters to the Charlotte area at the end of May.

This spring, The Music Yard, a free outdoor music space between Mac’s Speed Shop and SouthBound, hosted concerts on Friday nights. The concerts will continue through the summer.

Lower South End debuted an 8,000-square-foot escape room in March. Escape Tactic boasts 211 puzzles to solve and is down the street from Olde Meck, Sugar Creek and Queen Park Social.

Camp Snoopy, Carowinds’ family-friendly park, opened this spring, bringing with it six new PEANUTS-themed attractions.

SouthPark Mall announced new tenants. Those already open are Lipp Boutique and Indochino. Set to open this year are Peter Millar, Arhaus, Trina Turk and Nespresso. Concord Mills will also add True Religion Outlet (already open), Asics, Dazzle Up and Man Cave.

New this year, the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s RiverJam series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The event was previously on Thursdays and Saturdays only.

AC Hotel and Residence Inn Charlotte City Center - Courtesy of McKibbon Hospitality

DEVELOPMENT

Charlotte’s hotel development is booming, with more than 7,000 new rooms slated for the region through 2020. This year, 17 hotels are slated to open, three of which are near Center City. This includes the 300-room, dual-branded AC Hotel/Residence Inn Charlotte City Center and a 123-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites in South End. In 2019, the new Stonewall Station project in Center City is scheduled to welcome two new 181-room hotels—a Home2 Suites by Hilton and an EVEN Hotel. And the 254-room Grand Bohemian Charlotte has a slated opening of early 2020.

Speaking of Stonewall Station, Uptown’s new Whole Foods Market opens this summer, making it the district’s only full-size grocery store.

The 75-acre Camp North End complex announces new tenants and events almost every week. While also continuing last year’s Friday night jam sessions, the community gathering place now has Morning Markets on Saturdays, with coffee, food vendors and workout session. NoDa Company Canteen, a tropical bar, has also joined the space.

Park Road Shopping Center’s Park Terrace Stadium theater, which closed after 53 years in December, will reopen as AMC Park Terrace 6 early in 2019. It’s expected to undergo renovations, yet still maintain much of its historic integrity.

The LYNX Blue Line Extension opened in March, connecting Uptown to University City. The next public transit update belongs to Charlotte Area Transit System, which is set to begin construction this summer on Gateway Station, the Third Ward transit hub meant to house Amtrak, local and regional buses and possibly a commuter rail.