These are the best new restaurants in Charlotte for 2021.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can always count on good food. Restaurants in Charlotte had to pivot in the face of shutdowns, and despite occupancy restraints and strict curfews, many were able to make a comeback. Along the same line, many of these newcomers are already open, and some will be on the food scene soon. From South End to Dilworth, and under an array of different fusions, these are sure to become some of your go-to spots.
The man behind The Stanley now gives Charlotte an Italian restaurant in NoDa. Orto is just fancy enough, with pasta made in-house and square pizzas that are reminiscent of Chef Paul Verica’s childhood in Philadelphia. The menu is designed to be seasonal and produce-driven, so rest assured you’ll never want to get the same thing twice, unless you just can’t help it. Orto is set to open soon.
Recently opened in Dilworth, The Vintage is a whiskey and cigar bar just outside the South End that is sure to become the spot for engaging conversation. Relax and unwind with exceptional hand-rolled cigars and craft cocktails to match. Not a whiskey connoisseur? They also offer vintage wine and beers, along with a small selection of bites to munch on throughout your experience.
The Plaza Church has a long history. This building has been the site of numerous worship services before the congregation merged with another, leaving the building empty. Since then, it has played host to a frame shop and bead shop. Now, it will become the restaurant Supperland, where a “Southern steakhouse meets church potluck.” The stunning interiors are perfect for those Instagram foodie shots, and you can expect true Southern delicacies with an elevated twist. This will be one of the best new restaurants in Charlotte in 2021.
D9 Brewing Co.
Headed to Uptown from Lake Norman is D9 Brewing Co. The concept is unique for a city like Charlotte, since the brewery will be housed in a 90 square foot open, outdoor concept in the Second Ward. D9 gained popularity in 2014 for their sour beers but rest assured, the selection will be expansive. Similar to their original facility in Lake Norman, expect your food choices to come from select food trucks.
Newly open in Optimist Hall, Botiwalla specializes in Indian street fare. Whether you have always been a fan of this cuisine or not, you’ve got to give this one a try. The lamb burgers and chicken tikka are a highlight, and if you aren’t a meat person, the veggie kabobs also come nestled in a toasty, buttered naan. The fun doesn’t stop there, with options for boozy slushies and mango lassi (a yogurt-based delicacy made in house) to drink. Expand your palette with this new restaurant in Charlotte in 2021.
The Eagle Food & Beer Hall
Located in Atherton Mill, The Eagle graces Charlotte with their popular fried chicken all the way from its Cincinatti base. From the same restaurant group that brought us Bakersfield, this joint presents Southern fare for everyone. While fried chicken is the star, they also offer braised pork and various other options. You can’t miss out on their mac & cheese and collard greens sides, along with a pitcher of the Eagle Iced Tea (it’s spiked, so beware.)
This Atlanta-based restaurant has chosen Charlotte as the spot for its second location in Atherton Mill in the former Big Ben Pub space. You’ll have to wait until the summer to make your way to this new restaurant, but it’ll be worth it, with plans for a lounge vibe inside and an airy patio right on the lightrail. The Southern-inspired menu will include grits and burgers, of course, with seafood towers and boozy cocktails as well. Get ready for late-night gatherings and weekend brunch at this anticipated spot.
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Joining a slew of others flocking to Optimist Hall, this Charleston favorite plans to open in the spring next to Boxcar Betty’s. The menu focuses on Southeast asian cuisine by husband-and-wife duo chef Joshua Walker and Duolan Walker-Li. The okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake, is the most popular item from the Charleston menu, and will be featured here in Charlotte as well, with additional curries and fried rice to taste test.
The Goodyear House
One of the top restaurants of 2020 really didn’t get its time to shine with the pandemic. Located in NoDa in an old mill house, The Goodyear House is one of the best new restaurants in Charlotte to try in 2021. Request a spot in the botanist room if you can, and soak in the sunshine while you indulge in the shaken fry bag and smoked cashew mac. They also offer Sunday brunch, so if you are really wanting to impress your friends, make the reservations here.