Eating Out for Charlotte Restaurant Week Winter 2020

Where are you eating out for Charlotte Restaurant Week? It is Jan 22, we are 5 days into the 10-day stretch that is Queen’s Feast Winter 2020. The 3 for $30 and 3 for $35 dinner deals continue to run through Sunday January 26. Call your friends, make your reservations and get in on the action.

Heidi Billotto on the Charlotte Today set with the line up of her Must-Try recommendations for Winter Queen’s Feast 2020!
Don’t miss that coconut margarita ( to the left of the line up of plates) at Spice Asian Kitchen in Ft. Mill, Sc!

My original Queen’s Feast post this month went live on Thursday January 16. That same day I shared dishes from six of the restaurants I’m recommending you try this week on Charlotte Today.

Taking this Queen’s Feast Eating Out line up to TV

Thanks so much to all of these restaurants and chefs for providing me with samples from their 2020 Winter Queen’s Feast menus. It’s a fun ride to set up this segment.

Here is how it all happens. I make the rounds the day before picking up all the individual ingredients for each dish. And, then I reassemble them in the studio to showcase on TV. Love that these chefs trust me to plate as they would.

While I am on the sofa talking about each dish, Charlotte Today cameras are talking it all in with closeups of each plate.

Today I offer a quick update on the tv segment and my original post, in case you missed it the first time around.

And, In case you missed it – here is the video from the segment. Always fun to talk about food with show hosts Colleen Odegaard and Eugene Robinson!

Delighted to share, Heidi has been there since the beginning

I’ve written about Charlotte’s Queen’s Feast each year since its 2008 inception, partnering with CRW founders Bruce and Jill Hensley each season to promote the event. For that very first round, just 40 something restaurants were in the mix of offerings. I love seeing how this culinary event that celebrates Charlotte area chefs and all they put on the table as grown these past twelve years. This week 140 + restaurants in 10 different counties are participating in the semi-annual feast. As I said in my post last week, my friends, there is a lot of eating to be done if you are going to try to take a taste of it all.

Eating Out as the Queen’s Feast -ing goes on and on…

If you are not accustomed to eating out during a Queen’s Feast event, it’s easy to find a participating restaurant near you. All 140 + restaurants are listed on the Charlotte Restaurant Week website here by location. If looking at the list alphabetically is easier for you as you search your next dining destination, you may do that here.

I have to say, when I started the research for the list of the six restaurants I wanted to feature in this season’s post, I decided to try several spots that were new to the city or just new to me, plus an old favorite spot in Matthews. Turns out, I curated a strong list. These six great places to consider when eating out in Charlotte are now among my new favorites. I know you will enjoy them, too!

But wait, there is more

Before I share this season’s list, take a look back at my restaurant recommendations from Queen’s Feast’s past. You’ll find my Summer 2019 Queen’s Feast recommendations here. The restaurants I spotlighted this past summer: Lily’s Bistro in Lake Wylie, SC, Primo Prime in Charlotte’s Eastover Neighborhood, The Dunavant in Charlotte’s SouthEnd neighborhood, Heist Brewery in NODA in Charlotte, forchetta in Uptown Charlotte a the Holiday Inn Center City, and Halcyon, Flavors of the Earth at the Mint Museum in Uptown Charlotte are all participating in the Winter Queen’s Feast as well. All six of these restaurants , continue to be places 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

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

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Bacon and Eggs a la Stoke – a perfectly cooked slab of pork belly and a delicious runny egg are a great way to have breakfast for your Queen’s Feast dinner at Stoke in Uptown Charlotte

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.

The Coastal Catch from the Winter 2020 Charlotte Restaurant Week Menu at Stoke

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 on Stoke’s 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.

In addition to great local fare at Stoke, when you are eating out there, look for each course to be served on a mix of handcrafted pottery, The Coastal Catch in the photo above is served on a platter by my friends at Haand Pottery in Burlington, NC! I’ve talked about the talented team at Haand in my October Eat local post as well as my Trip to the Triangle post last year. It was like eating dinner with an old friend.

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 Brasseriestyle menu.

This melt in your mouth slow cooked Boeuf Bourguignon at La Belle Helene is one of the main courses or Plat Principal on the 2020 Winter Queen’s Feast menu

La Belle Helene’s Queen’s Feast 3 course for $35 menu includes the classics. You can’t miss with the rotisserie chicken with fingerling potatoes, rosemary and garlic or La Belle’s classic Boeuf Bourguignon. Then, for dessert a plate of ice cream stuffed profiteroles – oh my!

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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’Hare is phenomenal. New to Restaurant Week, The Bottle Tree has their entire Winter menu listed at Queen’s Feast eating out options. This way guests can really get a taste of all they bring to the table.

Crispy pork schnitzel at The Bottle Tree is a must try! And that’s the tempura Cauliflower with peri peri sauce in the background – you’ll want an order of that as well.

Among our favorites, the Nashville Hot Shrimp Buns – one of the best preparations of shrimp I have had in quite some time, and the Pork Schnitzel & Ramen Noodles. The crispy pork is served with collards, shell peas, hen of the woods mushroom and dashi.

Eating Out
Fortune Cookie Tart at The Bottle Tree

The desserts at The Bottle Tree are all homemade by chef Colleen’s equally talented mom, Yvonne O’Hare. There is a delicious selection – you will want to try them all.

Bar Marcel – 3920 Sharon Road near Earthfare

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

Bar Marcel, a charming little bistro with a European sort of vibe 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 Asian Kitchen 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! Eat indoors or, if the weather allows, out on the rooftop bar – one of three rooftop bars in Ft. Mill, SC. The views are wonderful!

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

Again, Spice’s Charlotte Restaurant Week 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.

Thirsty? You must order Spice’s Coconut Margarita – it is served in a young Thai Coconut with a spoon, so after you drink you can enjoy the sweet tender pulp. If you’d rather enjoy a non alcoholic pour, spice also offers a list of delicious, made-in-house hand crafted sodas.

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. The restaurant is on Trade Street, right in the center of all the action in Matthews, NC.

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 Sante’s 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.

Broiled Mahi is another of the featured dishes on Sante’s Charlotte Restaurant Week menu

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. You can find reservations links for all of the 140+ participating Winter 2020 Charlotte Restaurant Week restaurants here. Just click on the restaurant of interest and everything you need to know will be right there.

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.

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