As summer creeps into the horizon, the days continue to grow longer and sunnier. Particularly during the work week, it can be challenging to always find simple ways to enjoy the summer weather and relax. The solution: the spectacular food offerings scattered throughout the Charlotte area with sunny outdoor seating options. So, pick a spot, call a friend, and spend a lunch break or an evening after work slowing down and enjoying your favorite dishes with a side of Vitamin D.
Mestizo Contemporary Mexican Cuisine: Located on Main Street in Davidson, Mestizo provides diners with an atmosphere and cuisine influenced by the richness of Mexican culture and an outdoor view of the Village Green and the College Church. For brunch, their Chulitacos combine pork, a corn tortilla, onions, mushrooms, chihuaha cheese, cilantro, and a smoked tomatillo sauce. For dinner, try the Carne Asada with Steak with ancho cream potatoes casserole, cilantro, chimichurri, black beans, and pico de gallo.
Maple Street Biscuit Company: Newly opened in Concord, this cozy spot’s menu emphasizes its namesake: biscuits. Perfect for a brunch or lunch spot and umbrella-shaded tables outside, The Squawking Goat is a flaky biscuit paired with all fried chicken, fried goat cheese, and house-made pepper jelly. Their Sticky Maple Biscuit combines fried chicken and pecan wood smoked bacon, covered with Bissell Family Farm maple syrup.
Fern: With solely vegetarian and vegan dishes, Fern offers quality-made meals in the shade of their outdoor patio. Their Tempeh Reuben is a classic that consists of breaded tempeh, rye bread, vegan thousand island dressing, house-made sauerkraut and vegan Chao cheese.
Zada Jane’s Corner Cafe: This Plaza Midwood spot is known for breakfast fare, all day, every day. With quirky local art within and a menu of Southern soul-food, Zada Jane’s patio is the perfect place for a summer afternoon or evening. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, consider the Amaretto French Toast, a dish comprised of challah slices coated with vanilla and amaretto batter, adorned with orange butter and toasted almonds. Or, for something savory, the Kool Kips’ Nachos featuring blue corn chips, a blend of grilled veggies, pepper jack queso, sour cream, guacamole and homemade salsa, with optional add-ons of chicken or shrimp.
300 East: Situated in Dilworth, 300 East serves outdoors on the intimate patio of the 1900 Victorian home. With an eclectic American menu, the Breakfast Pizza is topped with Wild Turkey Farms Chorizo, red sauce, cheddar-jack cheese, scallions, queso fresco and fried eggs. At dinnertime, their Bronzed Sesame Salmon blends sweet shoyu, coconut brown basmati rice and sautéed spinach.
Hello, Sailor: One of Cornelius’s recent openings, Hello Sailor has a breezy, relaxed atmosphere with a stunning waterfront view. For a lunchtime sandwich, the Lobster Roll features lobster, meyer lemon, and milk bread. Or, perhaps, for a hearty dinner, the Whole Flounder is served with mojo verde and chile mayonnaise.
Vivaci: With views of the Charlotte skyline, Vivaci’s authentic Italian cuisine is nothing but enticing. For brunch, order a Mimosa or Bloody Mary paired with Shrimp & “Grits,” a dish of parmesan polenta, proscuitto, roasted tomato, basil and parmigianno reggiano. For lunch, their Penne Alla Vodka is filled with sun-dried tomato vodka cream, sautéed shrimp, caramelized onion and rosemary.
Luna’s Living Kitchen: For something fresh and light, Luna’s Living Kitchen offers plant-based meals in both the South End and SouthPark area. For a refreshing pick-me-up, their “You’re Kale’in Me” Smoothie blends together kale, spinach, cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, and kale lemonade. Or, perhaps try a tasty lunch featuring their Macrobiotic Bowl with adzuki beans, quinoa, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, sauerkraut and a lemon tahini sauce.
Futo Buta: Near South End, Futo Buta serves ramen dishes wish a twist alongside specialty cocktails. Their Buta Bowl is filled with the absolute works: chicken and dashi broth, double noodle, pecan smoked pork belly, onsen egg, duck confit, spicy pork, ono chili sauce, sweet white corn, leek, scallion, cayenne pepper and threads.
The Fig Tree Restaurant: Located in the Elizabeth area across from Independence Park with a stunning veranda and patio outside of the pre-WWI home-turned-restaurant, The Fig Tree is the perfect spot for a dinner-dessert- wine combo. For your main dish, Sautéed Sea Scallops over artichoke, roasted red bell pepper, and Saffron Couscous with prosciutto, asparagus, and ramp pesto beurre blanc. Follow that with a dessert of their Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut French Silk Torte; it’s an indulgent creation of salt and pepper brittle, passionfruit, and hazelnut butter ice cream.