Usually my posts about Charlotte restaurants include a round up of six new places I think you should try. But these are not usual times. So, instead of a round up of a half dozen great places, lets talk about lots of great places and about how you and your family can stay safe, shelter in place, have fun and support local Charlotte area restaurants.
As Restaurants are no longer able to serve sit down and dine style until we are on the other side of this, the new way to eat out is to Take-Out and take home.
One of my goals, during these next several weeks or months is to update with all the new here each Wednesday. Look for the most recent info I can get on what and how Charlotte restaurants are serving the public. Many are now offering family meals in addition to a la carte options. For many consumers, that is helping to make dining out more affordable and easier to pull off more that once a week. My other goal is to help make it all bearable.
Remember: Timing on the situation might be indefinite, but it won’t last forever.
No matter if you cook in, pick up, take-out or have something delivered, I encourage you to try and keep things as normal as possible at every turn.
Don’t eat dinner out of take-out containers. Instead, put food on real plates to serve. Test your skills (and those of your kids) at plating and garnishing like your favorite restaurant chefs. Maybe even make that a fun family competition. Check out some fun plating tricks you and your family might want to try out here.
Use the at home opportunity to teach your children how to set a table and which fork to use. On the nights when you order take-out from your favorite Charlotte restaurant, plan to serve it in your own “restaurant at home”. Kids, depending on their age, can play host and waiter. Older kids can help set the stage.
On Take-Out nights, make your home a themed restaurant and make dinner time fun
Get creative. Mix up how and where you serve. If the weather is cooperating, make dinner an alfresco dining experience on your deck or patio. Light candles or string up little white lights.
Take a breath. Don’t stress about it. We are all in the same boat here. I keep saying it, but I truly believe, social distancing and sheltering in place doesn’t have to be dismal.
If you live alone, set a dinner date to Facetime or video conference with friends or family as you eat. Or maybe plan a virtual cocktail hour or wine and cheese with friends, before you sit down to enjoy your meal.
If you have a family at home, get your kids involved in creating the atmosphere. Set a theme for dinner, based on the restaurant from which you plan to order. Turn off the TV. Put away your phones – unless you are facetiming. You’ve probably had enough news for the day anyway. Put on great some music.
Clear off that home office you’ve set up on the dining room table and serve on the “good china” in the dining room. And occasionally, for fun, treat yourself and have a family picnic on the sofa in your PJs! Even as you shelter in place, you can still make s’mores in the fireplace!
When it comes to clean up, give everyone in the family a job and get it done together.
Stay in the Know
Every restaurant now offering take out or delivery, has a menu up online. Its probably on their website, but more than likely, its on their social media feeds.
Menus offerings may change from day to day. Same goes for delivery. Not every restaurant is offering delivery, but as this all goes on, many are adding it to the list of options.
To stay up-to-date, subscribe to restaurant email newsletters, follow their social media feeds – particularly Instagram, but Facebook and Twitter, too; and keep checking back here.
I will run Charlotte area restaurant updates here, every Wednesday; and where to shop and Farmers market updates on Thursdays. In between, I’ll be doing blog posts on How to Cook this, that and the other; and soon will coordinate those with a new series of online cooking classes.
I encourage you to follow my social media feeds as well. You’ll find me on Instagram at @heidibillotto ; on Twitter at @heidicooks and two places on Facebook: you can friend me at @Heidi Billotto or follow me at @Heidi Billotto Cooks.
Charlotte Restaurant Take Out and Delivery Updates
Since my last two posts, here and here, several restaurants I mentioned have opted to close. Zeppelin and The Goodyear House are among the several that have opted to close operations for the time being, until we are on the other side of all of this. See how you can support both of these places – and other spots that have opted to close for now – at the end of this post.
Be Aware, Be Patient and Be Kind
My best advice, in regards to taking out from Charlotte restaurants in the days and weeks ahead is to plan ahead. Remember to be Patient and to be Kind. We can all get through this if we work together.
For many restaurants not regularly in the pick up and take out game, ordering to go will require a bit of extra planning on the part of consumers. For most places you must order ahead. Plan ahead, check restaurant hours ( they are not as they have been in the past) and the times they are accepting orders. Plan your menu selections before you call to order or check out the possibilities of ordering online. Once you order, the restaurant of your choice will give you a time and place and further instructions for curbside pick up.
New to the take-out transition are Barrington’s, Stagioni , Good Food on Montford and NC Red all members of the Moffett Restaurant Group. For each of these restaurants, orders must be placed by 1pm each day and pick up times will be scheduled. Check each individual restaurant for special take-out menus and phone numbers to ordering. Regular hours of operation have changed and special specifics apply.
Also, new to the list of options since my last post is Barristers at the Esquire Hotel in Gastonia, NC. At Barristers they featuring a family meal each day. Order before 11 am for pick up between 4-6 pm, $35, serves 4. You can read more about Barrister’s and the Esquire here. Tom and I can’t wait to stay there sometime soon!
While we are on the subject of family meals, Heirloom Restaurant has partnered with Chef Patrick Presents catering to offer Take and Bake options for pick up or local delivery. Reasonably priced, well balanced meals for 2, 4, 6, or 8 people. Call the restaurant for more details.
Family Meals and Breakfast to Go
Also new, and actually both just opened are Leah & Louise in Charlotte and The Everyday Market in Belmont.
For now , its only take out, of course, but I can’t wait to go eat at both of these places for real. The first, Leah & Louise, located in Charlotte at Camp North End and driven by Subrina and Greg Collier, the same folks who brought us The Yolk Uptown, located at 7th Street Public Market. The menu at Leah & Louise looks fab and most of it is available to go. While L&L is for dinner, options at The Yolk are for breakfast and lunch. Looks like the Colliers have us covered for every meal.
The second new place to open just as restaurants everywhere were closing for take out only is The Everyday Market, opened by pastry chef Majid Amoorpour. I haven’t been there yet, but I know Majid’s work and me and my sweet tooth can’t wait!
And speaking of bakeries, All locations of Amelie’s French Cafe, just announced they are offering delivery. I guess you could say this takes the concept of breakfast in bed to a whole new level! See there, glad I made you smile!
Curbside Service at Optimist Hall 11:30am-8pm
Bao + Broth , also a MRG restaurant, located in Optimist Hall, has been offering take-out for a while now. Along with eight other establishments at Optimist Hall, B&B is offering curbside pick up and delivery options. Order from each individual restaurant and brewery at Optimist Hall directly, and then follow the general procedures for pick up and delivery. In addition to Bao + Broth, here is the list of other to-go available at OH: AVA Pizza; The Dumpling Lady (Remember that the Dumpling Lady also sells frozen dumplings and sauces for you to purchase and cook at home.) Felix Empanadas; Fonta Flora Brewery; Papi Queso Grilled Cheese Kitchen; Village Juice Company; Zukku Sushi; and for your four legged friends, Pet Wants .
You can Read more about Papi Queso, The Dumpling Lady and Bao + Broth in one of my roundups from earlier this year.
Two Charlotte Restaurants Also Offering Proteins and Product for You to Cook at Home
This just in from Sante in Matthews. In addition to providing a different locally sourced take out menu each evening, Chef Adam Reed and his staff are also providing a Saturday morning market of sorts at the Matthews restaurant ( located just across the street from the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market. Shoppers will be able to pick up to-go prepared food, bread, salad dressings and more.
And, finally for today, from Chef Paul Verica at The Stanley in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood. A new to-go menu plus a list of butcher shop specials: steaks, chops, salmon, shrimp and the like, prepared and ready for you to take home and cook yourself. Order the ready to grill or cook Butcher Shop proteins by 2pm Tuesday – Thursday for pick up the next day.
To-go from The Stanley will be posted on social media – check Facebook and Instagram. Dinner menus available Tues-Thurs, 4-7pm; and Fri-Sat, 4-8pm. Doughnuts and Burgers from 11am -2 pm on Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10am-1pm. Call to order and pick up at the patio; or order in advance and then drive up to the back door for curbside service.
How to Make Your Take-Out Dinner Experience a Win-Win?
Be sure to tip as if you had eaten a meal inside.
Many people don’t regularly tip on take out, but now more than ever a gratuity is an important gesture. Most restaurants can’t afford to offer employees paid leave, and are using these tips ( and the revenue from Gift Card sales) to help support the staff they had to let go or furloughed until after the COVID 19 crisis is over. How much you tip is totally up to you, but know that if you can afford to tip a little bit more than what you normally would, it would be greatly appreciated.
If you would like to help even more, check out two great ways you can donate to help chefs all across the state in this recent post.
Tipping and Take-Out aside, many of you have asked me how you can help support your favorite restaurant if they are closed for the next several weeks? The answer is easy – Go Online and Buy a gift certificate – or two or three. This way you can enjoy a great meal several months down the road.
Remember all those times you asked a local restaurant for a gift certificate for your kid’s school, your church’s annual BBQ, and other fundraising events? Charlotte area chefs always help when they can, and now is the time to give back if you are able.
It may not seem like a lot, but this is an important revenue stream for lots of local restaurants right now. And, you will already be prepared with gifts for teachers, friends and your team at work. It’s a win-win. #TellThemHeidiSentYou
Don’t forget The Stone Table in Monroe. They have a great to go menu.