In 5,4,3,2,1… Winter Queen’s Feast , Charlotte Restaurant Week, kicks off Jan 18, 2019
And just like that we find ourselves in the middle of January. Help beat the winter doldrums with a night – or ten – out on the town. Get ready Charlotte, its time for Winter Queen’s Feast 2019!
Charlotte Restaurant Week is now in it’s 11th spectacular year. The original marketing concept for a week of specially priced restaurant offerings in a singular city started in New York City 20-plus years ago.
Kudos to Bruce and Jill Hensley of Charlotte’s Hensley Fontana PR & Marketing for taking that original concept and bringing it to the Queen City. With Keen marketing and an easy-to-navigate interactive website , the Hensley’s and their team have made it simple, serving Restaurant Week up on a platter for the collective Charlotte table to enjoy.
Here’s How it Works:
For those unfamiliar, Charlotte Restaurant Week, aka Queen’s Feast, features special prix fixe menus from a group of participating restaurants. Each menu is specially designed and priced for the occasion. Patrons may order three courses for $30 or $35 per person. It in 2008. Now, some 20 seasonal events later, the semi annual Queen’s Feast is bigger and better than ever.
To say it is a delicious deal is an understatement. Area chefs go all out to showcase what they do and serve on a daily basis. The Restaurant Week experience, gives diners a great way to take a taste, try new places and revisit old favorites.
This Regal Repast Keeps Us Coming Back for More
That very first Queen’s Feast Restaurant week featured 40 participating Charlotte area restaurants. Among them: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse ; and a trio of the restaurants that make up the Burke Hospitality Group; that is, Harper’s, Upstream and Mimosa Grill .
The event has been so successful, that these four fine Charlotte restaurants and several others who have been in since the beginning, continue to participate, year after year. This winter Restaurant Week run now boasts a record breaking list of 137 participating Charlotte-metro area dining establishments!
So, as you can see, there is lots of eating to be done in this season’s regal repast. Starting Friday January 18, we’ve got 10 days to dive into the deliciousness. But, you should start planning and making reservations now. I’ve had the pleasure of writing about this gastronomic event nearly every year since the inception. My “Eat Here Now” list of suggestions for this Winter Queen’s Feast follows…
On Your Mark, Get Set, Make Your Reservations…
In this morning’s post of January 15, 2019, I offer a preview of six places I think must be on your list for the Winter Queen’s Feast. Three of them are new to the Charlotte area and new to Restaurant Week. Three are old favorites of mine. Not a bad bite in the bunch.
I am fortunate to share my “Heidi’s Eat Here Now” restaurant week list on a televised segment this morning on WCNC’s Charlotte Today. The midday show hosted by Colleen Odegaard and Eugene Robinson airs live between 11 and noon. Be sure to tune in or live stream the show for the delicious details. But if you miss it, no worries – all the info is here at HeidiBillottoFood.com!
Don’t Miss A Single Bite of the Delicious Details
As is the case with many of the posts I share with a televised segment, consider this post a preview. Tomorrow, I encourage you to come back for a second helping. I’ll write a follow-up post that will include the televised video, more photos and additional links to my “Eat Here Now” list.
Subscribe to HeidiBillottoFood.com by entering your email address where prompted in the upper right hand column of my home page. You can enjoy all the good eats as they go live, including the “Eat Here Now” List for the Winter 2019 Charlotte Restaurant Week Update. It will comes right to your email inbox as soon as the copy goes live.
Heidi’s Eat Here Now
I love that so many restaurants in the Charlotte-metro area, towns just outside the Charlotte city limits, are getting involved. We’ve found a new favorite spot to visit in Belmont, NC and you are going to love it too!
Estia’s Kouzina in Belmont NC for Greek-influenced Mediterranean Cuisine
Located at 609 N Main Street in Belmont, NC, Estia’s Kouzina has been open since May 2018 and is named for Estia, the Greek Goddess of Hospitality. The restaurant is conveniently right off the highway and just blocks away from Belmont Abbey College. Owners Gus and Vicki Georgoulias, long time Charlotte restauranteurs and executive chef Harry Madeckas bring the food of their homeland to North Carolina.
Each classic and contemporary dish is extraordinarily well done. On Estia’s 3 for $30 restaurant week menu, look for a delicious Souvlaki Hirino with tender skewered pork, the melt-in-your mouth lamb chops I’ll showcase on TV and delicious Greek pastries for dessert, to name just a few.
Estia’s regular menu will also be available for customers to order and enjoy. From that menu, don’t miss the tender grilled octopus starter and be sure to order a side of Gigantes – giant beans braised in a tomato vegetable broth and topped with creamy feta cheese, oh my! For more information visit EstiasKouzina.com
Aria Tuscan Grill in Uptown Charlotte, NC
Many of the restaurants in Uptown Charlotte are a part of the winter Queen’s Feast – 25 to be exact! Among them an old favorite of ours with a new executive chef, Alex Piatt; and a new menu, fresh made-in-house pasta and a killer list of cocktails – don’t miss Aria Tuscan Grill!
Aria Tuscan Grill is located on the lower level of Founders Hall. Enter from the Trade Street entrance shown here, or park in the Bank of America center deck. Take the elevators to the 6th level and take the skywalk across to Founders Hall. Enter at Aria’s upper bar and walk am easy flight of steps down into the restaurant.
On Aria’s lengthly 3 for $30 Restaurant Week menu, is a mouthwatering Sicilian Chicken Cacciatore you’ll see on TV. It’s served in a spectacular tomato sauce with olives, capers and Cremini mushrooms served over maltagliati pasta. And while we are talking pasta dishes; don’t miss the clever House-Made Kale Garganelli noodles topped with duck confit, charred radicchio, and Pecorino. Yes please! For more info visit Aria online.
Global Restaurant in Pineville, NC
Global Restaurant is located in the 2-3 block stretch of Pineville’s “center city” at 314 Main Street. For those of you coming from South Charlotte, its actually a continuation of Highway 51. Owner/chef Bernard Brunet, his wife Shannon and their son Xavier painstakingly redid an historic bank building in the center of town; and now call it home.
On Global’s restaurant week menu – dishes typical of the seasonal cuisine you will find here each night for dinner service. Dine downstairs in the more casual bar area or upstairs in the more formally set dining room.
On Global’s 3 for $35 restaurant week menu this season, look to start with a fun tempura avocado or perhaps the braised pork belly or gorgeous shrimp salad to start. Flavors continue with a choice of pork loin, mahi, chicken, pasta or beef for the main and then, of course, a choice of dessert. For more info visit Global online.
Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte’s Coulwood Neighborhood
A farm to fork restaurant unlike any other in the Queen City, Heirloom is located at 8470 Bellhaven Boulevard in the Coulwood/Mountain Isle Lake area just north of Charlotte center city. Chef Clark Barlowe and his creative culinary team work their magic in the Heirloom kitchen with a focus on ingredients that only have roots in North Carolina.
Regular menus at Heirloom generally change weekly or often daily, depending on product available from local and area farmers.
Normally, Heirloom guests may ordering dishes a la carte from the menu or cull choices into a chef’s tasting menu. But, for the 10-day stretch of Charlotte Restaurant week, Chef Clark is offering any three dishes on the menu at 3 for $35. As is the case at several of the participating Restaurant Week establishments, a few of the more expensive menu items may have a slight upcharge.
Consider the ten day stretch of Charlotte Restaurant Week, a wonderful opportunity to learn and see what the locally sourced and often locally foraged wild foods Heirloom concept is all about. For more info on Heirloom follow Clark’s social media or visit them online.
What do you get when you cross ingredient-driven American cuisine with craft cocktails, a curated wine list and locally sourced beers? You get the likes of Chef Vince Giancarlo’s newest Charlotte adventure, Zeppelin. Named for the rigid airship first developed in the late 1800s, Zeppelin is located in the popular SouthEnd stretch of restaurants and bars at 235 West Tremont Ave. The inside of the building looks very much like the inside of it’s namesake craft. The dining room and bar here inside small but cozy; and if the temps don’t get too cold, there is a cute little patio just outside the front door.
This part of town is now known as Charlotte’s Gold District. Nestled between the historic Wilmore neighborhood and Uptown, Zeppelin is packing them in and creating fans at every turn!
You’ll love each of the choices on Zeppelin’s 3 for $35 restaurant week menu. Be sure to order one of their clever craft cocktails to kick off the evening.
Look for a created fried green tomato caprese salad with powdered EVOO that literally melts in your mouth as it releases its flavorful addition to the ingredients on the plate.
The trout pictured here, as well as Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Asian Skirt steak round out the trio of Queen’s Feast entrees. And then there is dessert – Krispy Kreme break pudding anyone?
To learn more about all that is Zeppelin visit their website at zeppelinsouthend.com.
YUME Ramen & Sushi in Charlotte’s Gold District
One of the best new sushi bars in the city is YUME Ramen & Sushi also in SouthEnd’s new Gold District. Charlotte Restaurant week is a great way to try a taste of all they offer from crispy pork dumplings to innovated sushi rolls that are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to eat.
YUME moved to their new gorgeous digs at 1508 South Mint Street late last year from a smaller incarnation of the same in Matthews, NC. With the new spot came a larger sushi bar, a host of Japanese entrees and a great little bar offering a grand selection of sake, Japanese whiskey and craft cocktails.
We love sitting at the sushi bar and watching the sushi chefs work as they deftly shape rice, fish and sauce into a myriad of delicious flavors. There are many sushi bars in the Charlotte area, but few do it as well as the team at Yume.
While you are dining at YUME be sure to order the ramen as well – made with fresh noodles and a vegetarian (or not) choice of broths, it is outstanding.
YUME’s restaurant week offerings include a little of all they offer, including not-to-be-missed crispy, thin and delicious pork dumplings served with a side or sesame Ponzu sauce.
For more on YUME, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Charlotte Restaurant Week Pro Tips
For this post, I’m delighted to partner with Charlotte Restaurant Week. You’ll find everything you need on their website – a list of all the participating restaurants, all the menus and some great tips to make your restaurant week experience the very best. Once you get to the site, just click on any individual restaurant name to see the complete Queen’s Feast menu.
Before I close, I’d like to add a few tips of my own to help you make the most of your restaurant week experience or experiences. Remember to #TellThemHeidiSentYou and get set to enjoy!
Do Charlotte Restaurant Week Like A Pro
Start with a plan. If you want to beat the crowds, plan to try your favorite Charlotte Restaurant Week spots on a weeknight, instead of the weekend. Friday and Saturday nights at all of the participating restaurants are sure to be hopping!
Make reservations, if you can. Some of the restaurants don’t accept advance reservations and if that is the case, know that you can expect a wait particularly on the weekends. Check this list of participating restaurants to confirm if they accept advance reservations as you start to make your plans.
Be a courteous consumer. If you make reservations and then plans change or you and your friends decide to try someplace else, be sure to call and cancel so that someone else can take advantage of the table the restaurant will be holding for you.
Plan for time to park. Lots of Charlotte restaurants now offer valet parking. Others are attached to parking decks, some have small lots for customers and some rely on street parking, so plan your time accordingly. Allow for the time it will take to park so you won’t be late for your reservation.
Charlotte Restaurant Week menus for each of the participating restaurants are online here. If you, or anyone in your party, has dietary restrictions you might need to consider, call the restaurant first to see if adjustments can be made. Chefs may or may not be able to accommodate changes with the Queens Feast offerings and its better to know that in advance.