Let’s say you find yourself in Charlotte for a single weekend. You may have arrived for an internship in swanky Uptown, for a Nascar event in Concord (or to make your pilgrimage to the Nascar Hall of Fame), or you may simply be there on a whim. Charlotte benefits from a concentrated food scene, so it’s possible to sample many of its best restaurants in just one weekend.
The best start to your weekend would be happy hour at one of Charlotte’s rooftop bars. Charlotte would not be complete without them, and Fahrenheit is a true standout. While its craft cocktails and appetizers are excellent, its view of the Uptown skyline can’t be beat. Snap a panorama for the ‘gram and you’ll be swimming in likes.
Once you’ve soaked up the skyline, begin your venture into young, hip South End. Food Truck Friday in the original South End location is a Charlottean staple. It is held on the grounds of Sycamore Brewing, one of Charlotte’s many local breweries, and hosts half a dozen food trucks and live music every weekend. Grab a grilled cheese from the Papi Queso truck and a craft beer, and settle into your Friday night in Charlotte like a local.
Make your way down Queens Road West—the most beautiful suburban road in all of Charlotte—and Selwyn Ave to find yourself at Charlotte’s trendiest and most creative brunch restaurant. Start with their Cinnamon Toast Brûlée and complete your meal with their take on shakshuka or their jalapeño egg white brioche sandwich.
Once your stomach has settled from brunch, hit up Joe’s Doughs for a mid-afternoon snack that’ll hit all of your dessert cravings. If you catch them on a special Saturday, they serve specialty brunch doughnuts between 11am and 3pm as well as other tasty doughnut selections. Their pastries are fluffy and perfectly iced, and they’re filling enough to hold you over until dinner.
Few restaurants capture what it feels like to live in South End—with the LYNX Blue Line running through, surrounded by trendy apartments and townhomes—like Futo Buta. The ramen house is right on the tracks, and its offerings of ramen, steamed buns, and specialty soft serve are a perfect first meal in the city.
Zada Jane’s is easily the cutest corner café in Charlotte, and it’d be harder to find a more affordable or satisfying brunch menu. Their pancakes are pillowy, their toast is crisp, and their eggs are perfectly cooked every time. Take in the trendy Plaza Midwood neighborhood by sitting on the patio, or enjoy the quirky and cute vibes of Zada Jane’s interior.
A trip to Charlotte would not be complete without a visit to one of its dozens of breweries, and there will always be a special place in my heart for Birdsong. Grab a flight of craft brews for $7 to sample their specialties, and pick up a board game from the bookshelf in the corner. Sit on the back patio for the full effect of a laid-back Sunday.
Dish is one of the loveliest dining experiences in Charlotte. Its dining room is full of tables covered in checkered wax table cloths and quirky plates, and its menu is loaded with high-quality southern comfort food. Their chicken and dumplings is a standout, and they even have a wide variety of vegetarian options. Their wait staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming, making it an all-around fantastic experience and the perfect way to say goodbye to the Charlotte food scene.