Black history and food culture are deeply intertwined. With their innovation and creativity in the kitchen, many Black Americans significantly contributed to American cuisine. Examples include Leah Chase, known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” who popularized delicacies like gumbo and jambalaya and George Crum, credited with creating potato chips.
The following list showcases 15 Black-owned Charlotte restaurants that provide delectable food and a distinctive dining experience.
- Mert’s Heart & Soul – This Southern-style soul food restaurant serves classic low-country cookin’ such as fried chicken, shrimp & grits and award-winning mac and cheese. They have been featured on Food Networks’ “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and hosted multiple celebrities and presidents.
- Leah & Louise – Founded and owned by a CLT power couple, this “modern juke joint” has a menu featuring southern dishes and cocktails inspired by James Beard nominated chef, Greg Collier.
- Lulu’s Express Fry House – Formerly known as Lulu’s Maryland Style Chicken and Seafood, this family-owned restaurant specializes in Maryland-style dishes with a southern twist – the crab cakes are a must!
- What the Fries – An elevated fry experience with inventive menu items such as Shrimp Hibachi Fries, Buffalo Chicken Fries, and Smokey Bacon Fries.
- Roy’s Kitchen & Patio – A popular spot in NoDa for island flare, rotisserie chicken, and a tropical cocktail.
- Two Scoops Creamery – With five locations in the CLT area and over 100 flavors, this homemade, freshly churned ice cream will cure your sweet tooth. Their recipes are a family secret, and everything is made with love!
- Weathered Souls Brewing Co. – A recent CLT craft beer scene addition! Weathered Souls is best known for their barrel-aged stouts and collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face regularly.
- Jimmy Pearls – A chef-driven, fast-casual restaurant serving coastal cuisine. Jimmy Pearls celebrates and sustains Afro-Southern food through dishes such as Uncle Gene’s Fish Sandwich with homemade hot sauce and fried seafood.
- Sub-One Hoagie House – A CLT staple offering hearty subs and sandwiches. A customer favorite is the New Jersey steak hoagie.
- Romeo’s Vegan Burgers – 100% plant-based burgers, fries, and shakes. They also serve refreshing, organic, house-made lemonades and tea. This delicious menu is loved by both vegans and non-vegans alike!
- The Peoples Market – A bakery, bar, and coffee shop all in one! Guests enjoy a wide variety of breakfast items, deli favorites, entrée salads, and handmade personal pizzas.
- 1501 S. Mint – This neighborhood cocktail lounge located in the heart of Southend is a popular place to grab a drink before evening plans. 1501 S. Mint offers classically crafted cocktails, cigars, hookahs, and food trucks.
- Abugida Ethiopian Café & Restaurant – Specializes in delicious, authentic Ethiopian cuisine, including fresh vegetables, top-quality meats, and exotic spices. Abugida also has a large selection of vegetarian dishes. If you are in the mood to indulge in something new, the staff is very helpful, friendly and happy to walk you through the menu.
- 7th Restaurant & Lounge – An eclectic Southern American dining experience in Uptown. 7th Restaurant & Lounge prides themselves in providing great vibes with a chef-inspired, low country menu. Best known for their brunch items such as Chicken and Red Velvet Waffles.
- Archive CLT – A coffee shop with a story. Archive CLT is a communal space that celebrates Black history and culture. Owner Cheryse Terry is fascinated by vintage magazines depicting black lives, experiences, challenges and accomplishments.
The recognition and celebration of Black history and food culture is a meaningful way to honor the contributions and achievements of Black Americans throughout history.