Traditional Southern food includes staples like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and veggies seasoned with ham or bacon grease. “New Southern” is a broad term that includes mash-ups like Nashville hot chicken deviled eggs and peach fritter doughnuts. As a city of transplants, Charlotte’s got a bit of everything. From barbecue ribs to Creole gumbo, we’ve provided a sampling of the region’s countless cuisines and where to find them in Charlotte.
Leah & Louise
301 Camp Road, Ste. 10
Husband-and-wife team Greg and Subrina Collier modeled this restaurant after a “juke joint,” a place African-Americans would go for “booze and blues” in the Deep South beginning in the Jim Crow era. Greg, the James Beard-nominated chef and Soul Food Sessions co-founder, serves dishes inspired by the Lower Mississippi River Valley soul food he grew up with. For a true taste of the Delta, order the Quail of 2 Chiles, hot fried quail with pickled celery on top of a warm blue cheese biscuit you won’t want to share. The “Shugahs” menu has treats like the Arthur Lou, a yang tart with ginger meringue and oatmeal crust, and the Crepe Cake, a pear fritter with cardamom whipped cream.
20210 Henderson Road, Cornelius
Davidson’s sweethearts Joe and Katy Kindred opened this lakefront spot. Expect Carolina classics like fried catfish and seafood platters, as well as tiki drinks.
705 S. Sharon Amity Road
A casual eatery known for its fried chicken, Leroy Fox serves Southern classics and upscale pub grub, with an additional location in South End.
3106 N. Davidson St.
Southern appetizers, fried chicken, and apothecary cocktails from Colleen Hughes draw a hip crowd to this mill town southern kitchen.
1220 Thomas Ave.
A neighborhood joint with an eclectic clientele, good, down-home Southern food, and a funky wait staff.
1401 Central Ave.
With North Carolina pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken, and dry or sauced ribs, there’s a ’cue for everyone—and traditional sides to pair. The restaurant has a number of Charlotte locations including Ballantyne and Park Road Shopping Center, but the Plaza Midwood spot is its flagship post.
The Eagle Food & Beer Hall
2120 South Blvd., Ste. 1
Feast on fried chicken with a side of house made hot honey, plus comfort food sides like mac & cheese, collards, and hushpuppies.
Mac’s Speed Shop
2511 South Blvd.
Solid barbecue and cold beer (150 choices) in a motorcycle-themed space draw fun-loving crowds, with additional locations in Matthews and Lake Norman.
The Flipside Café
3150 Hwy. 21 N., Fort Mill
Chefs Jon and Amy Fortes’ first restaurant makes you feel right at home, but the food lets you know it ain’t your mama in the kitchen.
Dogwood Southern Table + Bar
4905 Ashley Park Lane, Ste. D
Dine on Shrimp & Grits, Duck & Dumplings, and Crab & Chorizo Hushpuppies at this rustic SouthPark restaurant.
6705 Phillips Place Ct., Ste. C
The team behind Café Monte serves Gulf Coast-inspired cuisine like Pecan Fried Catfish, Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp, and Oyster Po’ boys.
204 N. Tryon St.
This uptown spot with modern Southern food is best for cocktails and conversation at the bar.
235 N. Tryon St.
Chef Mike Long’s menu mixes countryside favorites like biscuits and deviled eggs with bold flavors and contemporary techniques.
225 S. Poplar St.
Enjoy locally and seasonally inspired dishes from chef William Dissen in this bright, stylish space next to Romare Bearden Park.
The King’s Kitchen
129 W. Trade St.
Chef Jim Noble’s restaurant, which serves traditional Southern fare, donates profits to faith-based feeding centers and employs troubled youth and people who have just come out of rehab or prison.
511 N. Church St.
Guests order from a daily prix fixe menu (ranging from five to nine courses), choose their wine and entrées, and the staff takes care of the rest.
Mert’s Heart and Soul
214 N. College St.
James Bazzelle’s pride and joy serves down-home Southern cooking with a dash of Lowcountry in an uptown place.
2216 Freedom Dr.
Feast on Carolina-style pork and Texas-style brisket, and grab a drink at the “Legends Counter” with custom plaques for Southern barbecue icons.
1212 The Plaza
Jamie Brown and Jeff Tonidandel, the spouses and business partners who also own Haberdish, Growler’s Pourhouse, and Reigning Doughnuts, transformed a 69-year-old former church into a restaurant and cocktail bar. Think Southern steakhouse-meets-church potluck.
923 Belmont Ave.
It’s not uncommon for this Belmont “shack” to sell out of its brisket and chopped pork shoulder.