The 8 Best Southern Restaurants in Charlotte
The roasted pork shoulder at Haymaker is plated with flowering cauliflower, sweet potatoes, cider jus, and sweet and sour eggplant.
Foraged isn’t a word that chef William Dissen uses lightly on the menu at Haymaker; he actually combs through North Carolina for the best fungi for his foraged mushroom toast dish. Such details make Dissen’s restaurants (including The Market Place in Asheville and Billy D’s Fried Chicken at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro) a success, even as the new guy in town. For the main course, try the roasted pork shoulder with flowering cauliflower and cider jus. 225 S. Poplar St., 704-626-6116.
Chef Matthew Krenz’s intentions in his kitchen are as pure as anyone’s. His family owns a cattle ranch, instilling in him a deep respect for his ingredients and the effort that goes into producing them. Located in the Dunhill Hotel, this place is open for all meals, but really shines during dinner.
It’s not unusual to find lesser-utilized ingredients, such as beef tongue or heart, on the menu, prepared in a way that makes them as approachable as possible.
Such dishes help minimize waste, but if you’d rather stick to the traditional cuts, The Asbury excels in that as well. There’s depth in this kitchen with Sous Chef Matthew Long working alongside Krenz, allowing for consistency no matter who is on the line. 235 N. Tryon St., 704-342-1193.
Each staff member here seems to have their own set of regulars, giving this SouthPark restaurant a friendliness and familiarity that’s hard to find. Part of Jon Dressler’s Rare Roots Hospitality Group (Dressler’s, The Porter’s House), Dogwood’s focus is on modernized Southern fare, such as duck and dumplings, trout, and pimento cheese served bubbling hot in cast iron. Whether you prefer to sit at a table or barside with ultra-talented mixologist Brian Lorusso, you’ll find a warm welcome. 4905 Ashley Park Ln., Ste. H, 704-910-4919.
This uptown spot, popular for businesspeople to grab a bite for lunch or dinner, is also a nonprofit. Owned by Jim Noble (Rooster’s), King’s Kitchen employs adults transitioning from incarceration in hopes that experience in the restaurant industry will set them on a path to employment. The menu is Southern classic, with meat-and-three options and crunchy, delectable fried chicken. 129 W. Trade St., 704-375-1990.
The menu at this space may be simple—fried chicken and Southern sides—but it’s inspired by NoDa’s mill history, something that could easily be forgotten as progress changes the neighborhood. The cocktail program, on the other hand, is more cutting-edge than any other in town. 3106 N. Davidson St., 704-817-1084.
Jon and Amy Fortes’ first restaurant got a facelift since our last list, earning it a spot on this one. Renovations made the dining room bigger and spaced out the tables, but the menu of comfort classics didn’t need any tweaks. 3150 US-21, Fort Mill, SC, 803-802-1711.
Creative breakfasts and lunches created with local ingredients make this small spot in Monroe feel like it’s in a big city. The butter coffee alone will make you want to come back. 101 W Franklin St., Monroe, 704-225-7675.
Going to this restaurant, housed in a former church, has long been a pilgrimage for Charlotte epicureans. The wine list is one of the best in town, and chef Blake Hartwick’s menu celebrates Southern ingredients. 1829 Cleveland Ave., 704-333-9463.