Wine & Dine: The Inaugural Queen City Restaurant Guide

Readers dish on their favorite Charlotte eateries

by QNotes Staff  Staff Reports  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: June 21, 2013 in A&E / Life&Style, Cover Stories, Featured Stories

Welcome to the inaugural edition of qnotes’ Queen City Restaurant Guide. With the help of our readers, qnotes staff chose some of the hippest and favorite eateries in the Charlotte area to feature this issue. The featured restaurants offer unique tastes and styles and comfortable, affirming environments for LGBT diners. Some, too, are LGBT-owned and operated. Charlotte is blessed with a plethora of locally-owned dining establishments. Our restaurant guide is, by no means, a complete representation of all the great options Charlotteans have for great nights and evenings out with family and friends. Use our guide here as your starting point for exploring the Queen City’s delectable dining options. Bon appétit!

chima

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse
139 S. Tryon St.
As soon as you walk through the door you get hit with the clean lines and contemporary look of a fine restaurant. The service is impeccable with a high level of excellence you find in restaurants where customer satisfaction is priority one. The food is delicious, starting with a very eclectic buffet that features fine cuisine, not the usual fair found at those chain buffets. Brazilian ambiance ensues as men dressed in traditional gauchos serve you delectable cuts of prime meat! Full bar, great food and friendly staff highly recommend.
— David Avalos

Copán Restaurant
3607 N Sharon Amity Rd.
The best Latino restaurant I’ve tried! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offer dishes of various origins, including Mexican, Honduran, Salvadoran and Nicaraguan. The space itself is pristinely clean and pleasantly decorated, with a soft pastel color scheme and shiny wooden tables with comfortable seats. My first server didn’t speak English, but they soon found a bilingual waitress to help us. This tells me that they cater to a mostly Latino customer base. As a result, their food is authentic and delectable!
The menu is huge with about a million options, including the regular quesadillas, tacos, and burritos, but also offering various platters and other options. Each menu option had a color photograph to go with it, which really helped with the selection process.
Some of what I liked: The “tamales de elote frito,” which were served piping hot straight from the kitchen. This was a pastry of sweet, soft corn with a natural texture, served with a chilled, watered-down sour cream. This rendered a perfect combination of sweetness and heat with a hint of cool sourness. My favorite entrée was the Honduran platter, a large plate filled with grilled steak, fried pork skins, fried yucca, pico de gallo, and an empanada. The steak was magnificent — honestly the best steak I’ve ever had. It was grilled well and seasoned to perfection, juicy, salty and savory.
— Maria Dominguez

dish

Dish
1220 Thomas Ave.
Always a pleasure to have dinner with the gang. Rarely do I hear a complaint from anyone. We average 35 to 45 guys and they handle us with ease. My favorites: Chicken Dumplings, Deviled Eggs — shoot, everything I have ever eaten at Dish is great, southern food at its best!
— Tor Froland/Charlotte Bear Dinner

figtree

The Fig Tree
1601 E. 7th St.
The Fig Tree is an eclectic little restaurant that has all the comfort of home. Literally a renovated house, the Fig Tree offers a cozy ambiance with a full bar and great wine list. The food is delicious and offers a wide variety of traditional meals and other for gamey entrees. The desserts are delicious and end the meal just right. Staff is courteous and friendly.
— David Avalos

friendlymoose

The Friendly Moose
4320 Potter Rd., Matthews
An accepting Cheer’s is the best way to describe The Moose. Owned and managed by two gay couples, The Moose has managed to create in Union County what I thought we might never see. The menu is incredible. I’ve not yet had a meal I have not thoroughly enjoyed. This survey forced me to decide to rate a restaurant or bar. Pick, they offer both! The menu is available in either. Food, dessert and drink specials nightly. Karaoke on most Friday and Saturday nights. Stop in once and you’re family for life.
— Candi Bowen
WOW Gay-owned and operated in Matthews! I have been two times. Both times the food was great. First was with the Charlotte Bear Dinner group with 30 guys. A few problems because of our group size, but overall great food and a great time.
I had prime the first time and it was tender and delish! Second time, I had some chicken dish that was delish, but I can’t remember what it was called!
— Tor Froland/Charlotte Bear Dinner

hartigans

Hartigan’s Irish Pub
601 S. Cedar St.
One of Charlotte’s most unique LGBT establishments, Hartigan’s offers a laid-back, welcoming environment for quick and delicious meals for those diners who want to throw in a bit of nightlife with their evening out. The menu has a variety of choices, but best of all are the tater tots! Yes! Tater tots! In a world full of french fries, it’s nice to have a place serving that favorite childhood side item! The restaurant often hosts a variety of events throughout the week, including karaoke and trivia nights. So, if you’re in the mood for some good bar food, good music, good friends and a great night out in a comfortable, friendly and gay-owned environment, you can’t miss Hartigan’s!
— Matt Comer

lupies

Lupie’s Cafe
2718 Monroe Rd., Charlotte
101 Old Statesville Rd., Huntersville
If you’re in the mood for good, filling home-cooked meals, Lupie’s has got you covered. Her menu is just like your mama’s southern kitchen, complete with the best meatloaf and chicken-n-dumplins around. Lupie’s also serves her iconic quiche and several varieties of chili. Those who choose to skip the meat have plenty of options, too, like vegetable platters, a vegetarian burger and vegetarian chili. With locations in Charlotte and Huntersville, Lupie’s offers laid-back, simple and affordable dining perfect for a simple evening out with family or friends.
— Matt Comer

veitthai

Veit Thai Noodle House
8314 Pineville-Matthews Rd., #901
Great real Thai food at reasonable prices. I love going to eat here, but wish it was closer to my university location. But, when I’m in the area, I always stop in and they always remember me. Great food; drunken noodles with chicken, not spicy, is my favorite.
— Tor Froland/Charlotte Bear Dinner

zenfusion

Zen Fusion
1716 Kenilworth Ave.
This is an amazing restaurant and bar. The menu contains Asian as well as Spanish dishes and they are all delicious and big enough to share. In the mood for Sushi, Paella, Salmon or Chilean Sea Bass? You can get them all at this restaurant and they will all be delicious! The space also has a great bar that makes a mean cocktail. Try the “Blackout.” It is refreshing and light. The customer service is great and the desserts are limited but good. The best part? You can have a really great dining experience in Dilworth without breaking the budget.
— Darrell & Glen Goldson-Materi

Other top-picks

Readers weighed in on several other of their top picks around Charlotte, including these favorites below.

Lang Van Vietnamese
3019 Shamrock Dr.
Popular with a diversity of Charlotteans, Lang Van offers some of the best and most original Vietnamese dining around.

Mert’s Heart & Soul
214 N. College St.
Down-home, Cajun-inspired southern cooking in the most creative, inspiring dining room you’ve ever seen.

300 East
300 East Blvd.
A Dilworth icon for 25 years, with one of the most happening weekend brunches around.

Carpe Diem
1535 Elizabeth Ave.
Fine dining, local products and a style combine for a classic evening in Elizabeth.

Common Market
2007 Commonwealth Ave.
1515 S. Tryon St.
Part convenience store, part deli and part bar, Common Market’s two locations, including its original, iconic Plaza Midwood location, offer the best opportunities for hanging out with friends.

Flying Biscuit
4241 Park Rd.
7930-A Rea Rd.
This iconic restaurant chain offers some of the best new creations and twists on your favorite southern classics.