Monday, March 12, 2007

Bars and restaurants Charlotte needs

Lots of people responded to my invitation last week for readers to vote for what types of bars and restaurants Charlotte needs, and where.

Here’s a sampling of responses:

“What it seems to me is lacking in Charlotte - all over town - are good places where married adults or couples, 30-40-50-year-olds, can go for an evening of dancing, where the dancing starts before 10:30 or 11:00 at night.” -Dick, Gastonia

“I think Charlotte could use a great vegetarian restaurant, something like The Laughing Seed in Asheville.” - Rob

“More vegetarian restaurants and martini bars.” - K

“The bottom line is that there are few, if any, restaurants located uptown that serve truly good and inventive food. I would travel anywhere for a great dinner, certainly uptown. A friend of mine once observed that Charlotte lacks a renowned restaurant. If someone you know is going to spend time here, there is no place where you will recommend that they ‘must go’ for a meal.” - Jim

“I would like to suggest a quiet bar/restaurant with adequate lighting and room between tables. Say something about $20-25 each for an entrée and glass of wine, maybe dessert. A place where friends can gather to enjoy a meal and good conversation in relative quiet.” - Cheri

“Diners, delis (uptown).” - Linda

“More mom-and-pop restaurants.” - BC

“A small uptown live music venue similar to the ones over in NoDa (” -Bettie Ann

“Charlotte really needs a good French restaurant. Ever since Patou changed hands, it’s lost its quaint bistro charm.” - Josane and John

“How about a high-end bar with large flat screens and very nice billiard tables, smoke-free, either downtown or near SouthPark.” - Sarah

And some interesting thoughts on our sports bar dominance: “The 30 - 40 year olds do not go out enough to even be able to support one bar that would cater to them. This is a banking town (read: wine and cheese crowd). Once people here start hitting 25, they have to start saving their money to afford their future country club membership or fear being left behind by the Jones’. So, they have a tendency to go out less with each additional year. Therefore, the majority of the market is 20-23 year olds. Bar owners know this and cater to this clientele because they are the ones paying the bills. Nationally, sports bars are the largest growing and profitable segment in the bar business, so Charlotte isn’t out of the norm.

The only thing that Charlotte hasn’t picked up on is the trend of having a combination of sports bar and dance club in one.

Other thoughts: A 24 hour downtown restaurant would be good. And, a restaurant that is committed to serving only low-fat, low-carb meals with portion control.” - Anonymous

(Tonya Jameson, the Paid to Party columnist, has a similar query on her blog about what’s needed uptown for those who want to weigh in: Click here.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish people would STOP promoting Mac's on South Boulevard. It has had way too much promotion lately, so much so that when we tried to eat lunch there last Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., we had to park on the street and when we finally walked in, there was a wait. I am NOT going to wait for lunch. Ridiculous..........

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay People , when I go to Washington D.C. I visit this SILVER DINER eating place that is real good , several locations near Downtown D.C.
They have old time juke boxes with oldies but great hits and the food is good. In New England States there is a old subway diner that stays open late and serves two hundred food plates. I saw this diner on the food channel and it looked great. Charlotte would do great to get more skyscapers and knock down the old dumps near the UPTOWN area; Charlotte needs to spread out and not jam in ; They could get rid of the Ghettos and create jobs for people at the same time. People are sitting on millions of dollars of property near downtown , they should relieve their poverty and offer a block wide settlement and buy it by "Eminate Domain " All those People could use $150,000 for their property. Its a win /win situation for them and the city.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte could be a TRAIN DINER TOWN ; THEY TAKE AN OLD SUBWAY CAR OR a polished silver metal and old juke boxes at every table . The food must be quick wholesome and stacked high and finally great tasting. Like its Charlottes People diners offer something for everyone from all over.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uptown can use a few diners, high-end billiards, BB King's Blues Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe', and a signature sports spot like ESPN Zone or NBA Restaurant.

The area needs variety also, a few street-level express style chain eateries such Popeye's Chicken, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut. A Times Square style Red Lobster and Chili's would be good family dining options. A good hotdog location like NY's Papayas would be good.

However, the restaurants would need brand name shops near by to be successful, because when people shop, they eat.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red Lobster and Chili's ?! Classy!

I agree that Charlotte needs more of the "you must go here" type restaurants, as well as restaurants that cater to the diverse population that is making up the city. I moved here from Washington, D.C. and one of the few things I miss about that area are the restaurants. Restaurants specializing in vegetarian meals, restaurants specializing in ethnic fair (Ethiopian food is amazing) cheap but delicious restaurants with a mom and pop feel, etc.

I also think Uptown needs more unique restaurants for special occasions, company dinners, etc. Capital Grille and Ruth's Chris are chain restaurants and while still tasty, aren't that special. There's no Citronelle or Cafe Milano in Charlotte.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


And a REAL market uptown.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone complaining about lack of unique destination fare in Charlotte has never been to -- or likely heard of -- McNinch House or to Bonterra.

An absolute empty void? QUALITY Tex-Mex. Even dumpy Richmond has a Rio Grande Cafe, a very selective chain with a handful of outlets in the country.

They actually serve fajitas at Rio Grande, which involves grilling whole chicken breats and flank steaks. Charlotte? Fajitas are evidently Mexican for "stir-fry." Horrid! And that is just the simple Tex-Mex fare -- forget cabrito (goat) or a proper chile relleno.

Worst of all, I've yet to find any place in Charlotte that does not get their tortillas off the same truck. A proper restaurant makes them in house, oh, and then makes chips with them.

Overall, Charlotte food is OK, but could be so much better.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte desperately needs a couple of Crazy Fire mongolian barbeque places. I came from Raleigh and I really miss it!

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay How about some real authentic CUBAN food Roast Pork Mojho featuring puerto rican rum and citrus like orange, lime and lemon ; How about a cuban sandwich Roast pork , ham and swiss cheese grilled and smaxhed down then pickles added on the sandwich; I now love the sandwich and am not a PINKO get it PINKO hahah CUBA communism I thought you d like that

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We really need a good, authentic Italian pizzaria in uptown. We have some very good ones out in the burbs but Fuel uptown just wont do.
We need a Palone's/Luigi's style pizza joint uptown. Only this time lets get an owner that supports light rail and Charlotte moving forward into the future. I stopped treking out to Palone's because the last time I was there the owner and local burbanites were bitching about the train.
Let me tell you, I am a true pizza lover. They have the best. Perhaps the best anywhere, even NY.
But if your politics are the exact opposite of rational then I'll have to do without your pizza.

Like I said, PIZZA !
A good mom and pop joint. Pastas, subs, etc.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte doesn't build these things, people build these things. So until someone decides Charlotte needs something bad enough to sink their own money into building it, then Charlotte doesn't need it.

10:59 AM  

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