North Carolina is home to some of the most chef-driven restaurants, and deciding which place to visit can be quite challenging. To help make the process easier, we’ve rounded up a list of local favorites throughout our communities you’ll want to put on your radar.
Camp North End
What started out as a Ford Motor factory in 1924 has since transformed into a multi-use development, home to an array of food stalls, public art installations, shops, corporate offices and events.
Idlewild is a cozy cocktail bar with a twist. With no set menu and each beverage custom made to fit customers’ flavor palates, each visit is completely unique.
Previously known as Highland Park Gingham Mill — Charlotte’s largest textile mill in the early 1900’s — Optimist Hall now features a large food hall, specialty shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s also home to the Duke Energy Innovation Center.
Crave Dessert Bar
Its name says it all — Crave Dessert Bar is a dessert and cocktail bar with a unique atmosphere. Complete with art-filled walls and comfortable seating, their menu offerings feature farm-to-glass cocktails, breathtaking desserts and shareable plates.
Rosie’s Coffee & Wine Garden
A coffee and wine bar set in the beautiful McGill Rose Garden, Rosie’s Coffee & Wine Garden serves specialty coffee and teas. If you fancy something a little stronger, enjoy a glass of wine or some beer — all under their string-lit back patio.
Noble Smoke serves an assortment of barbecue meats in both Carolina and Texas style in their 1,800-square-foot smokehouse. They also feature 36 beers on tap, brewed on site by Suffolk Punch.
Emmets Social Table
What was once a cotton mill in the 19th century has since turned into a restaurant and bar in historic downtown Waxhaw. Today, Emmets Social Table has been transformed into a trendy social spot with a tapas-style menu, featuring all types of cuisine.
Cross Roads Coffee House
Founded in 1999, this local coffee shop is committed to roasting the highest quality coffee. Shop for coffee beans online or stop by the store for a specialty coffee and a seat on their front porch.
The Porter’s House
The Porter’s House is a modern chophouse known for its service, elegance and legendary experiences. It’s become a hit destination for locally-sourced ingredients, delicious spirits and only the highest-quality steaks.
Cork & Ale
If history interests you, you’re sure to love Cork & Ale. This three-in-one restaurant, wine bar and tap room is located in a building that was the first to serve alcohol in downtown Waxhaw. Try some of their finest wine, and order a few of their dishes that are designed to pair with your beverage perfectly.
Mary O’Neill’s Irish Pub
A welcoming, friendly and authentic Irish pub with a southern flair, Mary O’Neill’s is a go-to for all of your morning, afternoon or late-night cravings.
Waxhaw Taphouse is where all of the locals hang out. From cornhole tournaments, food trucks and live entertainment to a fire pit outside, it’s easy to see why it’s a locals-favorite.
A popular tavern and restaurant in the heart of downtown Waxhaw, Maxwell’s Tavern comes with over a decade of history. Offering an extensive American bar food menu, it’s become a go-to for watching football games and grabbing a casual drink with friends.
A local, family-owned business on Waxhaw’s historic Main Street, this food market and restaurant brings local producers and consumers together. Featuring grocery items from farmers and fresh meals, Provisions Waxhaw is a must-see.
Dream Chasers Brewery
Neil Gimon and his wife Anira started out as award-winning home brewers before they opened their first location in Waxhaw’s old Volunteer Fire Department building. Today, they’re known as Waxhaw’s very first brewery and have a variety of wine and beers on tap.
The Butcher’s Market
A family-owned company that has proudly served the Charlotte area since 2010, The Butcher’s Market carries an assortment of essential products such as eggs, bread, pies and meat.
Established in 2014, Sugar Donuts uses only the highest quality and freshest ingredients, standing apart from its competition thanks to a creative menu of donuts and pastries.
Greco Fresh Grille
Greco Fresh Grille was founded in 2011 after discovering an opportunity to bring Greek food to the Charlotte market. Every recipe is made in-house with fresh ingredients, and is passed down from Vasili Pahountis’ mother who immigrated from Greece.
Pump House is a riverfront restaurant, known for its fresh meals and accomplished chefs. Located on the Catawba River, this southern-inspired destination is sure to impress.
Blue Bar & Smokehouse
A fast casual restaurant that puts an emphasis on high quality, fresh and never reheated barbecue, Blue Bar & Smokehouse is known for its service, smoked meats and unique cocktails.
Grapevine Wine Shop and Bar
A fun spot with an array of products ranging from alcoholic beverages to artisan cheese and cigars, Grapevine Wine Shop and Bar offers over 400 wines and 150 specialty beers. Grab a seat and unwind with friends, or buy a few bottles of your favorite drink to take home.
Spice Asian Kitchen
Located in the heart of Kingsley Town Center, Spice Asian Kitchen combines locally-sourced ingredients with exotic flavors, creating a unique fusion experience for all who visit.
Killington’s is a gastropub that allows its patrons to eat high-quality food in a casual environment. From its gluten-free and vegan alternatives to its vegetarian options too, it’s got something for everyone.
The Jailhouse Spirits & Lounge
A premium whiskey and cigar lounge, The Jailhouse comes with a unique history as it’s placed within the cells of Belmont’s former jail. As a private club, guests have the option of purchasing a day pass or a year-long membership.
The String Bean
An all-encompassing butcher, bottle shop, and restaurant, The String Bean has been a Belmont staple for over a decade. What started out as a dream for its owners has since become a reality since 2007, with the help of many local farmers and businesses who supply their produce, breads and desserts.
Muddy River Distillery
The oldest legal rum distillery in the Carolinas opened in 2011 in an old textile mill, 50 yards from the “muddy” Catawba River. Today, the Muddy River Distillery is known for fermenting, distilling and aging about 300 bottles of premium rum a day. Visit the store throughout the week or on the weekend to enjoy tours and tastings.
Nellie’s Southern Kitchen
Nellie’s Southern Kitchen is a Jonas family-owned restaurant that opened in honor of Kevin Senior’s grandmother, Nellie. It’s known across Belmont for its southern comfort food and rooftop views.
An artisan cafe focused on quality and ethical sourcing, Mugshots Coffee has a variety of coffee and kombucha to choose from. Every beverage is handcrafted with house-made syrups, chai, and seasonal flavors.
Idlewild (Bar); Crave Dessert Bar (Dessert); Rosie’s Coffee & Wine Bar (Wine); Emmets Social Table (Nachos); Cross Roads Coffee House (Coffee); The Porter’s House (Steak); Cork & Ale (Steak); Mary O’Neill’s Irish Pub (Fish); Waxhaw Taphouse (Tacos); Maxwell’s Tavern (Burger); Provisions Waxhaw (Jars); Dream Chasers Brewery (Chips); The Butcher’s Market (Market); Donuts (The Butcher’s Market); Salad (Greco Fresh Grille); Pump House (Wine); Blue Bar & Smokehouse (Nachos); Spice Asian Kitchen (Chicken); Killington’s (Chicken Sandwich); The Jailhouse Spirits & Lounge (Cocktails); The String Bean (Burger); Muddy River Distillery (Drinks); Taco (Nellie’s Southern Kitchen); Mugshots Coffee (Coffee).