The world seems topsy turvy right now. In the wake of the COVID-19 corona virus, Charlotte restaurants, chefs and farmers are flexing creative muscles, so that all of us might eat well, keep our distance and stay healthy, too!
New innovated approaches to feeding the dining out public are popping up every day. While some Charlotte restaurant menus might have been paired down a bit for take-out service, menu offerings are still changing from day to day and are as delicious as ever.
Find out what Charlotte Restaurants are Offering
Want to be in the know as to what Charlotte restaurants have going on?
Our friends at the CRVA – that’s the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority – the folks who always boast that #CharlottesGotALot (and we do!) – have done a tremendous job in curating this list which will be updated frequently. I’m posting updates as I see them in these weekly posts and on my social media feeds; but you can use this list as your go-to resource, checking back daily for updates and menu offerings.
Here is out it works:
Call ahead to place you take-out order. Restaurants may or may not ask for a credit card number when you place your order. Pick up at designated time and location.
Then, bring dinner back home to enjoy on the sofa in your PJs. Or in our new Springtime climes, dine al fresco on your back deck or patio. “Social Distancing” doesn’t mean things in life have to be less than.
Great to know that all restaurant who serve wine are also selling wine-buy-the-bottle to go as well as food. For, easy one stop shopping at its finest, considering the circumstances.
Other new ways to order in this week: Bonterra Dining and Wine Room has their menu including wine, beer and food, all on an order ahead link on their website. All you have to do it tap in your order for pick up or delivery ( within a 3 mile radius of the restaurant). Available from 4-8 pm each evening.
Fenwicks on Providence’s entire menu is now available for pick up or delivery via Door Dash. In Ft Mill and Rock Hill, The Flipside Restaurant, The Flipside Cafe and Jon and Amy Fortes new Italian spot, Salmeri’s in Ft. Mill are all offering curbside pick up.
Sante of Matthews is publishing a new take-out menu every day. Subscribe to their email newsletter for details.
Giving Back while you Eat Up at Charlotte Restaurants
More and more I think we will start to see restaurants planning meals or virtual events that benefit displaced employees. Kudos to these chefs and restaurants like every small business employer in town, looking to take care of their workplace families.
To that point Chef Chris Coleman at the Just opened The Goodyear House in NoDa, is planning a one-time only Pig Pickin’ Saturday, March 21. All of the procedes go to The Goodyear House employees who the restaurant was forced to lay off. Unlike any other, there won’t be picnic tables and crowds – instead we’ll all be doing the “Social Distancing Dance” and all the food will be packaged to pick up and go.
Stop by and pick up from the front porch window. Or call ahead at 704-910-0312 to reserve you order It all happens from 11 am – 5 pm (or until they run out).
The Win-Win here is that local chefs like Chris also support our farming community (read more about how you can do that, too, in the Farmers’ Market section below) Featured on the menu at Saturday’s pig pickin’: The Farm at Flat Creek, Tega Hills Farm, Barbee Farms and Harmony Ridge Farms.
Just another example of how we will all get through this together.
Apparantly, There’s an App for That…
Do you know the Cloosiv app? Chef Nick Kepp at Community Matters Cafe made me aware.
He mentioned that their entire take-out menu was up on the app, so I had to check it out. Its a listing of 100s of coffee shops across the country. When I signed on from South Charlotte 50 + different coffee shops and Charlotte restaurants with a focus on coffee popped up. It’s a wonderful resources and a perfectly simply way to order and pay ahead. Who’d of thunk it?
One quick Update on my post from last Monday. Dinners to go at Zeppelin in SouthEnd on Tremont are now up and ready to order. Lots of great offerings here, but can I just say three words?
Order. The. (Harmony Ridge Farms) Carrots. Trust me.
Speaking of local carrots….
Saturday Morning Farmers Markets and Other Ways to Shop Local
Ready to mix a little home cooking in with local take out? I am beyond delighted to share the news that all of the state farmers’ markets will be open this weekend. That includes the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on Yorkmont Road. Same for the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market in Matthews; and the Southend Market at the corner of South Blvd and Tremont Ave.
Shop virtually at the Davidson Farmers Market
The Davidson Farmers Market made the hard decision to close the actual market till May 2, 2020. But that doesn’t mean those farmers won’t have local goods for sale. Those interested in shopping local slightly north of Charlotte may subscribe to the Davidson Farmers Market email newsletter here, to connect with farmers, place orders on line and then pick up directly from local farm stores. This week five individual farms are featured including Gilcrest Natural Beef, Heritage Harvest Farms, Barbee Farms, Big Oak Farm and Hercules Kettle Corn.
Shop Local During the Week
Several farmers are also selling during the week at individual farm stores, among them Tega Hills Farm in Ft. Mill, SC, is not only at the Matthews Community Market, but open Monday – Friday for hydroponic lettuces, microgreens and assorted seasonal produce.
Windcrest Farms in Monroe, NC , again at the Matthews Community Market on Saturdays, is open during the week by appointment for certified organic produce.
If you’ve a mind to spend your new found “free” time digging in the garden, Windcrest can help you with vegetable seedlings and organic gardening supplies.
If you are looking for local strawberries, tis the season and you can get them at the farm store at Bush n Vine in York, SC. Open 8 am – 6 pm weekdays and 8am -5 pm on Saturdays. Look for local berries, raw SC milk, cheeses, lots of other South Carolina produce and of course soft serve Strawberry ice cream.
More places to shop local
Local product such as cheese, eggs, honey, pasta sauces, Windy Hills Farm pork, condiments, coffee, wine and more; as well as a variety of prepared heat and serve food stuffs are available for pre order and curb side pick up at all three locations of Pasta & Provisions. On Providence Road at 704-364-2622; on Park Road at 980-938-6433; and at Mint Street at 980-201-9153.
Same goes for the Mecklenburg County Market on Harding Place ( sans the alcohol). Call 704-606-1045 to place your order an arrange for pick up. The Mecklenburg County market is home base for Beverly’s Gourmet Foods and a great source for lots of other local produce and proteins.
If you’ve a taste for fresh seafood (including clams and oysters) and lots of other local and regional proteins, including pork, beef and chicken, you can now shop with my friends at Inland located in NoDa.
Here is what you’ll need to do if you want to order (weekdays only, please) Call 704-332-3474 between the hours of 10am – 1 pm. for details on what is available and to place your order. Pick up is between 2-4 pm. They will tell you what to do and where to park for pick up and they will bring the order to your car, #TellThemHeidiSentYou
Farmers’ Markets: Changing Up the Status Quo
If you are planning to shop local at a Saturday market this weekend, be aware that all public farmers’ markets are initiating new protocols and procedures to keep us all safe and virus free. Be sure to wash your hands before you head out, and take care to keep your social distance from others as you shop.
And, as always remember to be patient and kind. This is uncharted territory for us all and sometimes, new ways of doing things, take more time than anticipated.
That said, if you don’t feel good, or have a cough or cold, stay home and take good care. Don’t go out in public places and that includes local farmers markets. Instead, think about asking a friend to shop local for you.
Likewise. if you know someone who is under the weather or homebound or unable to get out for any reason – volunteer to lend a hand. We’ll all get through this together.
Expect More Space and Hand Washing, too!
In an effort to flatten the curve and keep us all safe and still shopping local, here is what to expect at most area farmers’ markets the weekend. Protocol may vary from location to location.
Expect more space between individual tents, booths or tables. Your go-to farmers may not be in their regular spots, so look around. Don’t crowd in. Instead, try hard to keep distance between yourself and your farmer and other customers, as well. The temptation will be high to huddle and catch up with friends you know well, but don’t. Six feet – or two arms lengths apart – is a good rule of thumb.
Each farm table will probably have hand sanitizer, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing if you just brought your own. Use between stops to shop; and once you get back in your car to go home.
Look, Don’t Touch, Then Ask for Help with What You Want to Buy
Anticipate a bit of a wait, as the purchase process might take longer. In many cases farmers will divide up into teams with one person helping bag the produce and the other collecting money. While we are used to bagging our own, from now till further notice, its look, and point to what you’d to purchase. Say please and thank you, but please don’t touch the merchandise.
Finally, this should go without saying, just like the direction to “wash your hands; but it bears repeating. Wash your produce purchases before you eat them. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to munch on a fresh picked carrot or pop that first of the season strawberry in your mouth, but times they are a changin’.
I want to make it clear – this is not about the farmers not begin safe or not implementing safe growing practices, because they do. Its about the rest of us hovering around the produce and product. Take precautions, and avoid the temptation to sample before you have gotten things home and given them a good rinse.
Finally remember, farmers markets offer more than produce. At every market you will find lots of local product and a marvelous array of locally raised protein, including pork, beef, seafood, chicken, dairy, and eggs.
How are you Handling Things?
Its all hard, I know. For Everyone. From adjusting to home office-ing and home schooling to figuring out new ways to generate income. None of us were ready for this.
But. now that we are here, let’s keep are chins up, our spirits high and try to find ways to make it fun.
As you meal plan and start to decide where you might take out on nights when you don’t want to cook, why not chart out a culinary adventure.
Several days ago I wrote about a number of Charlotte restaurants offering take out menu options and a group of chefs making midday meals for school kids who are missing out free lunch programs.
Chefs continue to make lunches for kids in need of a free midday meal – update on that next week.
Now, lots of restaurants are offering family meals to go. A wonderful option, and an affordable way for your family to share a delicious meal.
Family style dining aside, while you may not be able to go pick up, take-out every night of the week, allow me to suggest an innovative approach to supporting several of your favorite restaurants all at the same time. Plan a progressive meal from 2-3 different Charlotte restaurants.
Mix it up a bit. Pick one or two nights of the week and order take out from several places for a progressive dinner party of sorts once you get home.
With so many choices at hand, its an easy plan, its fun and there are no rules.
Social Distancing Doesn’t Negate Eating Well and Having Fun
Try ordering appetizers from one restaurant, entrees from another and maybe dessert from a third. Or, throw tradition to the wind, and plan a tapas-style night all your own, selecting an assortment of sides from 5 -6 different spots.
You could also make it a family game. Keep a running list of all the new places and all the old favorites you and your family can eat at between now and the end of the month, noting everyone’s favorites. I would encourage you to go outside your 15 mile radius, for something new and deliciously different.
Start by selecting a neighborhood. You can search the Charlotte’s Got A Lot Restaurant Listing by neighborhoods, so this part is easy. Then, let each member of the family choose from a restaurant menu all their own.
The beauty here is that food savvy kids ( and those you want to become more food savvy) will get to expand their culinary horizons; trying new foods at restaurants previously only enjoyed by adults.
If you are ordering ahead and driving to pick up anyway; coordinating pick up times at 2-3 nearby places won’t be hard and it will add to the adventure. By the end of the month, you’ll have a great new list of all your favorite Charlotte spots.
Your kids will learn that there is more in life than nugget-shaped food and you will have done good during this time when these restaurants really need your business. #TellThemHeidiSentYou
Want to Cook More at Home?
Check out my latest blog post on how to eat local and keep it plant based. In the post, you’ll find a trio of crowd pleasing recipes – all featuring local product you can order online and have on hand in the fridge, freezer or pantry perfect for quick and easy lunches or dinners. Enjoy!