10 May A Taste of Culture: Exploring Black-Owned Restaurants in Charlotte
Charlotte, NC, has loads of culinary traditions as diverse and celebrated as its famous sports teams. Known as the Queen City, fast-growing Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina, with roughly 200 neighborhoods seasoned with flavors that are a foodie’s dream. From Biddleville, the center of the Black community in historic Charlotte, to Sugar Creek, Plaza-Midwood, NoDa (North Davidson), Myers Park, North Tyron, South Park, and more, you’ll find a variety of culture and cuisine during Charlotte Black Restaurant Week, from traditional American to Southern-style, Caribbean to African, and anything in between.
While you can sample these flavors during the annual Taste of Charlotte festival or in between checking out the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets, and other Charlotte-area attractions, Charlotte Black Restaurant Week VIP List will help you narrow your search. Let us tempt your taste buds with our picks for Black-owned eateries in Charlotte that serve up hearty food, family traditions, and fine hospitality.
As a food truck, BCook’s roams daily — check the website to learn where it’s set up for the day for your best chance to catch its mouth-watering burgers, seafood, wings, and other favorites. Order one of the stacked burgers topped with bacon, cheese, and mushrooms; the garlic crab fries; or the fried chicken and waffle sandwich topped with habanero bacon jam, a fried egg, and white American cheese. Delish!
3428 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28206
Charlotte nightlife gets spicy at Cru, a casual restaurant and hookah lounge offering high-level small-plate tapas, cocktails (known as “Crutails”), and bottle service. We like the lollipop lamb chops served over creamy mashed potatoes, the baby burger (beef, salmon, or veggie), and the chicken or shrimp Rasta Pasta with peppers and onions, but Cru also serves street corn, quesadillas, tacos, and wings. Toast the night with a skinny grapefruit-flavored Cru Paloma, a Cru Rita, or spiked house lemonade infused with mango, peach, or strawberry puree.
3418 Tuckaseegee Rd., Charlotte, NC 28208
Lowcountry cousins Anglee Brown and Andarrio Johnson expanded their food truck into this casual brick-and-mortar restaurant that cooks meals to order. Check out the family-size veggies and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese; wing combos with fries, rice, or beans; shrimp combos with grits or wings; or the Cousin’s Special featuring lemon pepper wings, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, and collard greens.
224 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Located inside The Market at 7th Street, this kettle corn shop is known for its sweet and savory flavors, such as fried chicken, chili lime, hot pepper, caramel nut crunch, chili cheese, jelly donuts, and lemon meringue pie. Celebrate a sweet victory for the Carolina Panthers with the Panthers Mix, blending blue “razz-berry” and black cherry, or support the Charlotte Hornets with Hornet’s Mix, combining that same “razz-berry” with grape.
270 LarneTown Ct., Charlotte, NC 28214
Get funky fresh with frozen fruit smoothies, nutritional snacks, and quality coffee at this clever joint serving drinks named after hip-hop hits. Fight the Power with a blend of protein powder, coconut milk, banana, and blackberries, or cue up some C.R.E.A.M. with coconut milk, vanilla extract, banana, and pineapple. There’s also a Gangsta’s Paradise, bringing together almond milk, vanilla yogurt, strawberries, banana, and honey, and a Gin and Juice with ginger powder, orange juice, turmeric, mango, peaches, and more. Mmmm….
5518 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28217
This family-friendly vegan place serves delectable Beyond Meats, Impossible Foods, fries, ice cream, shakes, tea, and organic lemonade. We like the Where Art Thou Burger, topped with tomatoes, grilled onions, cheese, lettuce, pickles, and house sauce, or the Tobacco Burger, topped with chili, coleslaw, pickles, and onions. The vegan chili cheese fries are made for sharing, while sides such as kale salad pack an extra-healthy punch, loaded with cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes
7. Sweet & Elegant Delights
3214 Cheyney Park Dr., Charlotte, NC 28269
Custom cakes, wedding cakes, and even cupcakes are the sweet eats that this custom online-only bakery offers. Depending on availability, orders require three to four weeks’ notice, but we’d say they’re worth the wait. Choose from basic flavors such as butter vanilla, chocolate, marble, strawberry, lemon, and “funfetti,” or select a premium flavor such as red velvet with cream cheese icing, carrot cake with cream cheese filling, butter pecan, cookie butter, or almond wedding. Fillings include pineapple, strawberry, red raspberry, lemon, and cream cheese. Owner and designer Tasha Boone also offers seasonal cake jars, in flavors such as blueberry lemonade, almond raspberry, strawberry shortcake, and red velvet, with nationwide shipping.
8. Leah & Louise
301 Camp Rd., Charlotte, NC 28206
James Beard-nominated chef Gregory Collier named this Camp North End restaurant that celebrates Black arts and expression, old-school juke joints, and chic tastes after his late sister and grandmother. Featured in Southern Living magazine, Collier and his wife, Subrina Collier, serve locally sourced soul food inspired by Mississippi River foodways such as Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans. Try a starter of Turn & Burn, with spiced potato skins, turnip greens, potato puree, and apple molasses, with an entrée of mussels, beef cheek, blackened catfish, smoked rabbit, confit duck leg, brined pheasant breast, or grass-fed steak. Cap it off with custard or a cocktail such as Carolina Gold Coast featuring Quinn’s Carolina Whiskey. The menu also has a rotating dish on “pay what you can” status, so your budget doesn’t have to limit your appetite.
9. Detour Coffee Bar
This full-service mobile coffee shop serves hand-crafted beverages plus Charlotte’s own Enderly coffee and espresso citywide. Mike, the owner, is a former bookstore barista who channeled his passion for community and coffee into this food truck in 2019. Check the website or social media for where to find him and the truck’s lattes, frappes, and more daily. Detour also serves chai latte (hot, iced, or frappe), hot chocolate, steamers, fruit puree smoothies, crème frappe, hot or iced organic teas, and craft sodas in the spring and summer. For a quick breakfast or brunch, grab one of its muffins or pastries.
235 W. Tremont Ave. Suite #100, Charlotte, NC 28303
For fine dining on the South End, head to this bar and restaurant featuring golden brick walls, globe lighting, lush upholstery, and globally-influenced smaller bites with an upscale vibe. You’ll find Hamachi poke on the menu alongside mushroom toast, short rib dumplings, shishitos, pork belly, edamame, steam-bun sliders, scallops, spicy salmon, and Korean carbonara. All orders of the Maine lobster shooters donate $1 to the Its4TheKids Foundation, offering disaster relief, toy drives, and other charitable programs. For cocktails, try the Toasted Sesame Sour with Toki Japanese whiskey, the Respresso Martini featuring cold brew, reposado, and coffee liqueur, or the Polynesian Pucker, mixing Empress gin, lemon, Cointreau, and yuzu bitters.
11. The Cocktailery
2000 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Hit up this award-winning cocktail supply and beverage lifestyle shop for barware and classes where you can sip and sample while you socialize. Whether you’re a novice or a cocktail enthusiast, the Cocktailery aims to “take the mystery out of mixology” by providing the perfect pairings for whiskey, tequila, rum, gin, and vodka. Experiment with grapefruit tonic, lavender syrup, “plum and root beer” bitters, and other tastes while crafting your own signature drinks.
12. Jimmy Pearl's
2000 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
This fast-casual, coastal-inspired restaurant within The Market at 7th Street celebrates Afro-southern food and Virginia soul, thanks to chefs Oscar Johnson and Daryl Cooper, both from the Hampton Roads area. Order some Bubba Chucks, creamed corn fritters with sorghum butter, to tide you over while they whip up their signature Ma Duke’s fish platter with field pea slaw or Big Shrimpin’, a heaping pile of fried shrimp and “potato thingies” served with Jimmy sauce and cocktail sauce. Other bites include creamy grits topped with seafood or veggies, collard green gravy, and a country ham garnish; crab cakes; fish sandwiches; and either fish nuggets or a shrimp basket for the little ones.
Whether you have a yen for Southern classics or a craving for Caribbean-inspired dishes, you’re sure to enjoy the range of cuisine and experiences during Charlotte Black Restaurant Week. From Lake Norman to the South Carolina border, you’ll find lots of spots to explore in this “city of neighborhoods,” blending modern global trends and regional classics. We love how these local entrepreneurs on our BIP List contribute to a more inclusive food culture while crafting authentic and delicious cuisine. Charlotte has so much on the menu, you’re bound to find some favorites of your own.