Charlotte's South End Area (the area immediately south of downtown) is an eclectic mix of retail, dining and housing. Born in the mid 1800's with Charlotte's first railroad (it connected Charlotte with Columbia and Charleston in South Carolina), the area thrived on textiles and manufacturing until the 1970s. After falling into decline, it was rejuvenated in the 1990's with developers discovering the appeal of the many old mills and warehouses.
Many of these old building have been converted into some of the city's best dining today. These restaurants are home to some of Charlotte's best food and drink, with options ranging from upscale dining to your local pub.
300 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
Serving the South End and Dilworth for 25 years now, 300 East is an independent, family-owned casual dining establishment offering creative American-Eclectic cuisine in a fun and quirky setting. This spot has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” with Guy Fieri, and has a menu that ranges from Grilled Hanger Steak to an Asian Tuna Burger.
The Liberty Gastropub
1812 South Blvd
There’s a reason The Liberty is called one of the top beer locations in Charlotte. Over 20 craft beers are on tap and close to 50 by the bottle. Several Charlotte-area breweries (Olde Mecklenburg, Foothills and Big Boss to name a few) are represented for a taste of the local crafts.
Add in 30 available wines and there’s plenty to raise your glass to. This restaurant claims to bridge the gap between fine dining and casual. With options ranging from standard pub fare to variants like pork belly sliders and vanilla cole slaw, it hits its target squarely.
Price's Chicken Coop
1614 Camden Rd
Featured on many TV shows and national magazines, this is the best fried chicken in the city. It’s in the middle of the “trendy” South End, but the restaurants looks just like it did when it opened over 30 years ago. Some of the world’s most mouth watering poultry is what these guys are about. The price is excellent, too. Fried chicken is what they’re known for, and fried chicken is about all you can get. There are limited seafood offerings, but that’s not what made them famous.
There are several things to know about Prices’ though, before you go. First, it’s carry-out only. Also, no credit/debit cards are accepted – just cash (there is an ATM on site). And, there are only two drink offerings – iced tea, sweet or unsweetened and coffee. There’s actually a vending machine for those who want other choices. And, this isn’t somewhere to visit if you’re short on time. The line is almost always out the door.
1928 South Boulevard
One of Charlotte's top options for fine dining is Sullivan's. Here you'll find the best steaks in town and extremely professional service to match. The sides are plentiful and tasty, and there's a nice wine selection (even the "cheaper" wines are high quality).
A lot of Charlotte's power players dine here, and with good reason. Sullivan's prides itself on service, and it provides a refined, high class atmosphere that avoids being stuffy or uppity. Whether you're a bank CEO or a couple celebrating their 25th anniversary (or just out for an evening meal) you'll feel like royalty. Visit Sullivan's, and you'll probably see a Carolina Panthers player, a huge music artist touring through town, or a couple simply celebrating an anniversary.
Know in advance, this is one of the pricier places around town. Dinner and drinks for two can easily eclipse $150. That's the standard for this caliber of restaurant, so don't be shocked by the check. It's still not the most expensive place in Charlotte, but it's high on the list. You do get your money's worth here, though, so if price isn't an issue, then you can't go wrong.
Make this your choice for special occasion dining.
Tupelo Honey Cafe
1820 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
Tupelo's motto is"Creative Southern Food That’s Good for The Soul," and that's about the only way to really describe what you can find here. Their menu is constantly changing depending on what's in season and what's popular. The food is simply some of the city's best. It's not you mama's southern cooking, but southern cooking with an artisan twist.
Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop
1930 Camden Road
Inspired by the soda shops of decades ago, Pike's has the best mikshakes around. Along with great burgers and desserts (you simply can't ignore the dessert display), there's also a surprisingly delicious brunch buffet. Add comfort food like mac and cheese and meatloaf, plus homemade potato chips, and there's definitely more than "soda shop" food here. Throw in a relaxing atmosphere, friendly staff, and a funky retro decor, and Pike's is sure to be a hit.