Charlotte RestaurantsCharlotte's restaurant scene has its critics and its fans -- it's been called "grim" and it's been called "a revelation". (See the story here.) The truth is somewhere more towards the revelation side of things --this is an up-and-coming cosmopolitan city with a dining to match. There's plenty to sample here, from down-home favorites like Price's Chicken Coop, a to-go only fried chicken establishment that you smell before you see, to funky creative Zada Jane's best known for brunch where you can get your proteins in soy versions should you so desire, to upscale Halcyon, in the Mint Museum, best known for its cocktails.
Another great way to explore Charlotte's restaurants is to visit during the city's Restaurant Week, called Queen's Feast. (Charlotte's nickname is the Queen City, as it was named in in Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of British King George III.) Although it takes place during the sultry summer -- the last edition was in July -- more than 100 restaurants were offering three course dinners for $30. For more details on the Restaurant Week concept, check out this primer.
While most southern states have an allegiance to certain style of barbecue, usually relating to the type of meat, the cut of meat, and the composition of the sauce, North Carolina is a house divided by an invisible line that divides the state from west to east. From Charlotte, it's easiest to sample Western style barbecue in the town of Lexington. Learn more about the North Carolina barbecue wars, as well as restaurant picks so you can make up your own mind. One smart choice is a place known as Honey Monk's, although it can be very difficult to find. Details here.