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The hilly, plains-filled Charlotte region offers plenty of beautiful scenery, especially in the fall. That paired with wonderful Southern cuisine make the eateries in the area worth visiting. These are the best places for you to taste the local fare:
1. Gallery Restaurant. Inside The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, Gallerty Restaurant sources pork, vegetables and eggs from local farmers for its farm-to-table American fare. Visit the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant to taste fresh dishes like the braised short rib with local grits, crispy goat cheese and peach and blueberry barbecue sauce.
2. McNinch House. Situated in an 1892 Victorian home that once housed Charlotte’s former Mayor Sam McNinch, this upscale restaurant offers a seven-course tasting menu with nothing but the South’s finest products. You’ll find grass-fed beef, wild game, fresh fish and heirloom vegetables paired with a large selection of French and California wines.
3. Mert’s Heart and Soul. Living up to the restaurant's name, the food here is made with love. One of the most-visited restaurants in Queen City, Mert’s serves casual, traditional Southern fare like mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, fried catfish and fried green tomatoes with housemade remoulade. The most lovable dish of all is the salmon cakes, made with poached salmon and the spicy "Cajun Trinity": celery, onions and peppers.
4. Midwood Smokehouse. Restaurateur Frank Scibelli traveled to the barbecue capitals of the nation — including the Carolinas, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City — to learn the tricks of the pit master trade before opening Midwood. For local flavor, order the hickory-smoked Carolina pork plate, dressed in a local vinegar sauce.
5. King’s Kitchen. Serving new local Southern cuisine, King’s updates all of your grandparents’ classic recipes with healthy ingredients (local veggies, organic meat). The skillet-fried chicken and banana pudding are signatures.
Finding great southern cuisine in Charlotte isn’t hard. From down home soul food joints to upscale restaurants offering a modern twist on lowcountry favorites, there are plenty of spots around town serving up a taste of the South. Here are three of the top spots to hit the next time you’re craving Southern flavor.
This casual Plaza Midwood neighborhood spot comes complete with checkered tablecloths and a deviled egg served alongside most dishes. And the food here is seriously southern. Country fried steak is served over mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes are perfectly crispy, and pimento cheese is the kind of thing that makes you want to lick your plate clean in public. But the best thing on the menu may be the buttery biscuits—served warm and so thick you’ll need a full glass of the sweet tea to wash them down.
Harvest Moon Grille
With most of the ingredients straight off of Chef Cassie Parsons’ farm—and all of them from farms within 100 miles of this uptown restaurant—it’s only natural that the food found here be authentically southern. In this laid back restaurant in the historic Dunhill Hotel, you’ll find southern dishes with a contemporary twist like a pork shank served alongside roasted carrots in a moonshine foster sauce or fried turkey breast with rosemary polenta and black pepper gravy. The ultimate southern fare though is served at breakfast in hearty dishes like fried pork chop and eggs or the savory biscuit and gravy.
Chef Jim Noble is serious about his southern cuisine. This upscale spot with an a la carte menu is a favorite for those seeking local ingredients in simple dishes. Meats like beef short ribs and bbq chicken are fall-off-the-bone tender, but the vegetables steal the show here. Noble’s pan fried corn is the perfect mix of savory and sweet, while the most simple offerings of butter beans and garden peas allow the natural flavors to shine through. For a decadent spin on the southern sides, indulge in the creamy Anson Mills grits with bacon.