How many times have you been on the search for a great place to go to eat and googled , “Restaurants Near Me” ?
Instead, consider this great little go-to list
With so many great options in Charlotte, its hard to remember them all. So, while you could ask Siri for a short list of Restaurants Near Me; instead, let me be your guide. This is actually a repost from December. Always fun to write about Charlotte area restaurants during the holidays as thats a great time to eat out; but so you won’t forget I wanted to put these half dozen plus places back out in front of you. You will love them all.
I originally shared this same list of local restaurants to sip and snack, mingle and jingle, on an early December broadcast of Charlotte Today. And coordinated a blog post to accompany the broadcast. I encourage you to enjoy all of these restaurants this month and throughout the new year, too. All wonderful places to raise a glass or fork and celebrate times with friends, great food and drink and the possibilities that 2020 holds for us all.
I’ve embedded the video from the Charlotte Today broadcast here. If you received this post via email , you might not see it; but its there I promise. Simply click on the title of the post in your email and, as if by magic, you’ll be transported to this same page of my blog at HeidiBillottoFood.com where you can watch the fun video and then read on for all the delicious details. Let’s start with a great little spot on Main Street in Gastonia, NC.
Barrister’s at the Esquire Hotel
Some may consider Barrister’s a bit of a hidden gem as far as local restaurants go, but not for long. Once you’ve tried it you will certainly be back for more.
Nestled in a charming new boutique hotel called the Esquire, Barrister’s is located in what was once the building lobby of this bank turned lawyers office turned hotel. Lots of local on the menu here and with that menu changes almost monthly. The winter menu debuted in mid December about the same time Barrister’s started serving breakfast and lunch in addition to dinner . Chef Ryan Allen is at the helm on the savory side of the kitchen with Chef Hannah Woociker sweetening things up with desserts, breads and pastries.
The historic structure is an old bank then turned law office. The vibe is from the art deco roots of the building. Barrister’s is the first of four restaurant concepts planned for the building. The three other restaurants at the hotel are all to come – opening later in 2020. Stay tuned for a downstairs speakeasy, a rooftop bar with small plates and an outdoor patio with fire roasted offerings all cooked outside.. Hotel rooms are now open – why not treat yourself and plan a little staycation… For more info visit them online here.
The Hobbyist in Villa Heights
Just the place to go for coffee, tea, beer and wine and lots of local snacks. This cute little coffee shop during the day, offers frequent wine tastings in the evenings.
Look for lots of cool beers ( literally and figuratively) – many of them local and a lot of good wine, including an impressive selection of sake. Music on Weekends and lots of cool local are on the walls – here I am with Julie Woodside who owns the shop with her husband Byson.
No kitchen here yet, but they have pastries and snacks all made from local producers including the pastry chefs at Bonjour Ya’ll in Davidson – just scroll down for more info. In 2020, we may see more on the food side of things here, so look for lots of good things to come, stay tuned. Check it all out and get on their mailing list here.
Cicchetti in Uptown Charlotte
A Venetian style wine bar and wine shop with small plates that are to die for, Cicchetti is located at the street level of Founders Hall right next to Aria. Owned by Pierre Bader of Aria fame (and many other Charlotte restaurants from times gone by), Brianna Cohen is the GM and in house wine guru.
The menu at Cicchetti offers small plates to enjoy on your own or to share with friends. Wines by the bottle are all retail priced, so very reasonable and these people know their wine.
Don’t miss offering include the “tins and chips” all kinds of canned fish with made in house potato chips – its all the rage in Europe and Cicchetti does it exceptionally well.
Heartier fare on the Cicchetti menu includes these melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops, whole fish, sausages and more. Dishes are perfect for sharing. It would be hard to find something you didn’t love – we loved it all!
For more info, including how to join the Cicchetti wine club, hop over to their website.
Bonjour Ya’ll Bakery In Davidson, NC
This tiny little space in the Deal Building on Main street in downtown Davidson. Inside you’ll find big bunch of fresh baked love!! The talent in the kitchen is working partner Justin Burke-Samson, former pastry chef at Kindred. The 700-square-foot space offers the comfort of a French bakery and coffee shop comfort along with a bit of Southern nostalgia.
Pastries to die for include the cinnamon and sugar coated Cruffin ( photo above) and the apple-y Bostock ( photo below).
Here benne butter brioche, apricot, frangipane, Granny Smith, toasted almonds come together for a bite of something that will sooth your soul. Like the very best French toast you have ever had, and then some. Pro-tip: Warm them up once you get them home – oh my! For more info follow them on social media or visit the website.
A trio of Restaurants at Optimist Hall
Optimist Hall a food hall, retail and creative office space located at 1115 N. Brevard Street is home to lots of walk-up-and-order spots including three of my favorites – Bao and Broth, The Dumpling Lady and Papi Queso grilled cheese.
Bao and Broth
Just as the name suggestions the offerings here are simply, ramen noodles in delicious homemade broth and soups along with a selection of sensational steamed buns.
With vegan, vegetarian and meat-centric offerings, Chef Larry Schreiber and his team have something for everyone. And, if you have a thirst for more, don’t miss the Lychee Tea!
The Dumpling Lady
Famous from the Charlotte-based food truck of the same name, the Dumpling Lady is right at home in this brick and mortar location. Steamed Dumplings are to die for as are the noodle bowls. If you need a quick appetizer to have on hand in the freezer, you can buy the dumplings frozen and cook them at home to wow all of your guests.
When the hot soup light is on – know that that means The Dumpling Lady’s infamous soup dumplings are available. You can, of course, get an order of three small soup dumplings, as always.
But better still, do as I did and order the “Queen” soup dumpling. Steamed in a “pot pie” pan, it comes with a straw for sipping! Delicious!
When it comes to grilled cheese, there just is no other place in town that does it as well as the team at Papi Queso. They still have a food truck, but now you can come and sit up at the bar and enjoy your grilled cheese on site.
I loved this special, they will hopefully repeat soon. Called the “Proper Toastie” and pictured about, its a trio of farmstead English cheeses and a made-in-house onion jam served with a side of Lusty Monk Mustard. Yes!
Hungry for more?
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And in the meantime, I’d love to know where you are eating and all your favorite restaurants that pop up on your “Restaurants Near Me” list – let me know and I’ll go by to check them out. So many places to enjoy, let the eating begin!