“Where do you want to eat?” can be one of the hardest questions to answer, especially in a city like Charlotte, where there are so many different and delicious options from which to choose. Apart from the tried-and-true Charlotte staples that we know and love, it seems like there’s always a new place to try. In an effort to help you navigate the thriving local restaurant scene, we fashioned a list of seven new Charlotte restaurants you should move to the top of your dining bucket list. Enjoy!
1511 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203 • (704) 334-1511
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
We are big fans of both Latin American and Southern cuisine, so when Babalu Tapas & Tacos came to Dilworth, we knew it would be a match made in heaven. From the delicious cocktails to the fresh table-side guacamole and their locally sourced tapas and taco selection (try the carne de cerdo and vegetal), Babalu has a little bit of something for everyone. And with their support of local farms and breweries, Babalu connects itself with the Charlotte community and provides their guests with the freshest ingredients.
101 S Tryon St., Suite #14, Charlotte, NC 28202 • (704) 313-5138
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
If you’re looking for a new, high-end happy hour, we found it for you right at the intersection of Trade and Tryon in Uptown. Part bistro, part gastropub, part cocktail bar, Essex has a selection that is sure to please your taste buds. Apart from their extensive list of freshly crafted cocktails, they have a diverse menu with light options like their Warm Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad to heartier dishes like Lamb Chop Lollipops. If you’re just stopping in for some cocktails and a small bite ,Essex also has a variety of dips and small plates. Our advice? Order a few so you can try different tastes from around the world.
1600 E. Woodlawn Road, Suite #100, Charlotte, NC 28209 • (704) 503-9372
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight.; Saturday, noon to midnight; Sunday, noon to 11 p.m.; closed on Mondays.
The Park Road/Montford area is a great spot for restaurants and The Turnhouse Grille is a great addition to the neighborhood. Their menu is classic with comfort food selections such as pork chops, steak frites and shrimp and grits. They also have a shrimp burger served on a toasted brioche bun that is sure to give your taste buds a treat on a Panthers game day (they have TVs for your viewing pleasure, too!). Apart from their delicious food, they also have an awesome bar selection with a variety of wines, beer (including local favorites) and cocktails with fun names like “The Booty Loop” and “The Nature Boy,” a cocktail made with Bulleit Rye and cabernet. (Yes, you read that correctly — don’t knock it until you try it!)
2000 South Blvd., Suite #510, Charlotte, NC 28203 • (704) 954-1922
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
O-Ku Sushi is the perfect addition to Atherton Mill in Charlotte’s South End. With their contemporary touch on Japanese entrées and sushi, their selection of craft cocktails and their fresh ingredients, they’re a one-stop shop for any die-hard foodie in the Queen City. A couple of my favorites are the Yellowtail Carpaccio (served with cilantro, serrano pepper, mango and ponzu sauce, which give it the perfect combination of salty, sweet and spicy) and the O-Ku Snow Crab Nigiri, which comes topped with soy truffle butter and sea salt. Between their fresh and flavorful dishes, yummy cocktails (try The Jasmanian Devil) and awesome staff, you are sure to be pleased by Charlotte’s newest sushi spot!
1300 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205 • (980) 585-4148
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
We love a good burger, so when Moo & Brew opened in Plaza Midwood, we knew we had to check it out — and it did not disappoint! Their menu has some solid starters, tasty salads (for those of you who aren’t there for the burgers) and amazing burgers. A couple of personal favorites from their menu include the Farmer’s Daughter burger, which is topped with an egg, peppered applewood bacon, cheddar, tomato, lettuce and Moo & Brew sauce. We can’t forget the cheese curds starter either! For those of you who are about upping your French fry game, spice up an order of fries with some rosemary, truffle and sea salt; or make it a “Nacho Fries” (combining French fries and nachos? Yes, please!).
720 Governor Morrison St., Charlotte, NC 28211 • (704) 365-7130
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Craving some Mediterranean food? Or perhaps you’re just in search of a lunch spot that is quick and healthy? Need a new flavorful vegan or vegetarian option? Y’all, YAFO Kitchen in South Park is where it’s at. This fast-casual dining spot offers several options, all of which are healthy — and delicious! You can order a plate with a variety of mezze, a rotisserie chicken or build your own bowl. A favorite is the Yafo Shawarma Grain Bowl, which allows you to choose additional toppings down the line. (SB Tip: I add feta, Kalamata olives and tabouli, and I order mine with the jasmine rice; it’s divine!) Whether you are taking a meeting on your lunch break or are stopping for a quick bite for dinner, YAFO Kitchen is a great destination for fresh Mediterranean cuisine.
100 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC 28202 • (704) 353-6005
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to midnight
Located inside the Charlotte Marriott City Center, Stoke is Charlotte’s newest Uptown and upscale eateries. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails so, theoretically, you could spend the whole day there if you really wanted to. A farm-to-table restaurant with artisanal cocktails, there’s a little bit of something for everyone, making Marriott guests — and those who work around it — very lucky. Our recommendations? Order the cheese plate and choose a glass of wine from their impressive wine list. For a heartier dinner option, go for the Carolina shrimp and clams with a gumbo broth. No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
Whether you’re looking for a new happy hour scene, a place for your next date night, somewhere to watch the Panthers play or a new spot to eat lunch, we bet you’ll find what you want with these great new Charlotte restaurant options!
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