Eating Out

Queen’s Feast 2020 Winter Edition

It’s Baaacck. The 10 day stretch of dining delirium known as Queen’s Feast or Charlotte Restaurant Week. 2020’s Winter Edition of this biannual “Royal Repast” kicks off Friday January 17 and runs through January 26. Make plans and dinner reservations now at any one of the 140+ participating restaurants. They each are offering special prix fixe menus priced at three courses for $30 or three courses for $35. It is a fabulous Charlotte food event you don’t want to miss it.

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I’ve written about Charlotte’s Queen’s Feast each year since its 2008 inception. I am delighted to once again partner with Queen’s Feast founders Jill and Bruce Hensley to help promote this wonderful dining extravaganza taking place in 10 counties across the Charlotte Metro area.

Let the Queen’s Feast -ing begin…

As I do at the start of each Charlotte Restaurant Week run, I’ve spent the past several weeks dining out among the Charlotte Restaurant Week participants and have selected six sensational restaurants that you simply must try during this Winter Queen’s Feast run.

Before I share this season’s list, take a look back at my restaurant recommendations from Queen’s Feasts past. You’ll find my Summer 2019 Queen’s Feast recommendations here. All still viable options, this list also features six restaurants to put on your radar for the next ten days and the rest of the year.

In addition, take a look back at my my early January restaurant roundup where I featured Cicchetti in Uptown Charlotte, located next to its sister restaurant Aria Tuscan Grill, Cicchetti is located at the ground level of Founder’s Hall. Both are participating in the Winter Queen’s Feast and both should be on your list for this 10-day stretch of dining out for dinner as well.

Where to go, what to eat

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Heidi takes her 2020 Winter Queen’s Feast suggestions to the airways on WCNC;s Charlotte Today on Thursday January 16, 2020

Reading this the morning of Thursday January 16?

Then, plan to watch me share these same six Charlotte area restaurants on Charlotte Today this morning sometime between 11 and noon. You can tune in live or if you are away from your TV you can live stream on your computer .

In case you miss it, don’t fret. I’ll have the video clip and over the weekend will repost all the info with the video, additional photos and more.

If you take a moment to subscribe to as prompted on the home page, the updated post and others this month and this year will come directly to your inbox as soon as they go live.

With over 140 participating restaurants in 10 surrounding counties, there is a lot of eating to be done. It’s easy to find a participating restaurant near you. The six I have selected today, are particular new favorites of mine, I know you will enjoy them too!

Stoke – 100 W. Trade Street in the Charlotte Marriott City Center in Uptown Charlotte

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Bacon and Eggs ala Stoke

Longtime Charlotte favorite, Chef Tim Groody is now making his mark as the new executive chef at Stoke. The open kitchen restaurant in is the lobby of the Marriott Center City in Uptown Charlotte. Tim is a longtime friend and the very first chef to ever put a farmer’s name on a Charlotte restaurant menu waaay back in the day.

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Stoke’s Coastal Catch

Stoke has had a reputation for a menu centered on local product since its inception. Groody continues to incorporate local proteins, product and produce in the new Stoke menu; and the Winter Queen’s Feast menu as well. The 3 courses for $35 menu includes Groody’s Coastal Catch, and Stoke’s rich and tasty take on bacon and eggs.

La Belle Helene – 300 S. Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte

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Executive Chef Jim Stouffer and the team at La Belle Helene are taking it to the next level with their magnificent French Braisserie style menu. The Queen’s feast 3 course for $35 menu includes the classics, like this rotisserie chicken with fingerling potatoes, rosemary and garlic and a classic Boeuf Bourguignon.

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ice cream stuffed profiteroles in a creamy rich chocolate sauce on the Queen’s Feast menu at La Belle Helene

And, just wait till you see the interiors! Stunning! There is no need for plane tickets. Simply take your taste buds for a trip on a bit of food-centric travel to the City Of Lights with a short drive to Uptown Charlotte NC.

Just a note on parking in Uptown Charlotte this month

Traffic in Uptown is a bit tricky right now with all the construction. Know that, part of Trade street is currently closed. But, fear not, its easy to circle around. Just hop on West Trade from North Church street. Be patient and allow for a little extra time for an on time arrival.

You can valet at the Marriott when you go to eat at Stoke, where they will validate your parking ticket. La Belle Helene validates for parking in the building’s garage. The entrance is off of Third Street, just west of Tryon street. It can be confusing, so ask for specifics when you make your reservations.

The Bottle Tree – 102 Davis Street In Belmont, NC

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Nashville Hot shrimp buns from The Bottle Tree in Belmont

Super excited to share this new little hidden gem in Belmont, NC, just a block off Main Street. The Bottle Tree is located in a ranch-style house with seating for 40. The design is cozy and casual. The food from chef Colleen O’hara is phenomenal. New to restaurant week, The Bottle Tree has their entire Winter menu as options. This way guests can really get a taste of all they bring to the table.

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Crispy pork schnitzel at The Bottle Tree is a must try!

Among our favorites, the Nashville Hot Shrimp Buns, and the Pork Schnitzel & Ramen Noodles. The hot buns come in Bao from Bao and Broth at Optimist Hall. The crispy pork is served with collards, shell peas, hen of the woods mushroom and dashi.

Bar Marcel – 3920 Sharon Road near Earthfare

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Light, easy and oh so delicious Zucchini Vermicelli from Bar Marcel

This charming little bistro features a menu with a focus on smaller plates, charcuterie, seafood, and pasta. In the kitchen: Executive Chef Josh Oakley, who is in and out of the Charlotte location from his home base in Denver. Plates on Bar Marcel’s 3 for $35 menu include a hearty Gnocchi Bolognese.

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Bar Marcel’s Gnocchi Bolognese

Or, if you crave something light and easy, order the Zucchini Vermicelli . It comes dressed with garlic oil, EVOO, cherry tomato, mushrooms, basil, pine nuts, and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Spice Asian Kitchen – at Kingsley Town Center  – 251 Textile Way, Fort Mill, SC

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Spicy Tuna Rice Crisps – fresh tuna, spicy mayo, sweet soy, scallions, over crispy rice rounds

 Another new spot recently opened with lots of exciting flavors to share. The menu at Spice is a delicious mix of Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. Each offering is served with a little bit of a twist. You will love it all!

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The pork Bossam – a fun and flavorful lettuce wrap and then some at Spice Asian Kitchen

Again, the 3 for $30 menu is large giving Queen’s Feast customers the opportunity to try a multitude of dishes. My favorites starter might be the tuna topped crispy rice cakes. For your entree, try the pork Bossam. This slow roasted pork shoulder is served with local lettuce, crushed almond rice, locally made kimchi, and samjang mayo.

Sante Restaurant – 165 N. Trade Street, Matthews, NC

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Steak from Sante of Matthews

Sante is an old favorite of mine, with a French-American menu and a focus on local ingredients. Husband and wife team, owners Adam and Veronica Reed are celebrating 19 years in business, this year. Adam is the talent in the kitchen. Among the offerings on his 3 for $35 Queen’s Feast menu: a crispy duck confit and brie quesadilla to start.

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Sante’s Duck Confit quesadilla is a perfect start to your Queen’s Feast meal

A Melt-in-your-mouth Potato Gnocchi is one of the entrees. Served with shredded roasted chicken, local wild mushrooms, spinach, winter squash, and goat cheese, the mic is napped in a mushroom cream sauce.

Make Your Charlotte Restaurant Week Easy

Just a few “pro tips” to share to help you have the very best Winter Queen’s Feast experience possible

1 – Make a reservation. This is a busy 10 day stretch for each of these restaurants. If you just walk in, especially to a smaller restaurant, expect to wait. Know there is a possibility that tables will all be booked and you will miss out all together.

2 – If you make a reservation and find you don’t need it, please be courteous enough to call and cancel. Others will be waiting for the table the restaurant is holding for you ( see tip #1)

3- To avoid crowds, make your Queen’s Feast reservations during the week as opposed to a Friday or Saturday night. Shoot for earlier or later reservation times, the 7 and 7;30 times slots are always the first to fill.

4 – Know that the 3 for $30 or 2 for $35 Queen’s Feast menu’s are available at dinner only. While many of the participating restaurants also serve lunch and perhaps weekend brunch, Charlotte Restaurant Week menus are featured at dinner.

5 – As always, be sure to #TellThemHeidiSentYou as you set out to enjoy the next ten days of Winter Queen’s Feast dining options.

I always love hearing from you. Let me know where you are eating and what you loved in the comments below.

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