AdventureEat & DrinkThings to Do

What’s New in Charlotte (Winter ’18)

posted by Beth Castle January 24, 2018
Hello, Sailor – Photo by Eater

Charlotte is a city on the rise. Tastemakers, trendsetters, thrill seekers and inspiring creatives – they’re all here. And more are arriving every day.

While our city is ever-evolving, we tracked the city’s trending topics so you’ll know what’s hot over the next few months.

Photo courtesy of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen


Hello, Sailor – Photo by Eater


Need to Know
What’s notable and what’s newsworthy
Go Now
Charlotte newcomers to visit ASAP
  • Cantina 1511
    Opened: October 2017
    Location/Concept: Uptown. The third location of this popular restaurant now sits where Blue Restaurant & Bar used to be.
  • JJ’s Red Hots
    Opened: January 2017
    Location/Concept: Uptown. Located on the corner of Church Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the restaurant is an extension of the popular hot dog joint.
  • The Loyalist Market
    Opened: November 2017
    Location/Concept: Matthews. This cut-to-order shop and deli slices N.C. cheese and offers other regional specialties, including chocolate, coffee, olive oil, beer and wine.
  • Mangos Caribbean Restaurant
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: NoDa. Venture to this casual Caribbean food restaurant for dinner, late-night meals or tropical drinks—one is served in an actual coconut.
  • Nest
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: Uptown. Located off 6th Street, this restaurant serves new American dishes like shrimp and grits and herb-roasted chicken and boasts three bars.
  • The Red House Cafe
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: NoDa. Serving dishes like baked ziti, lasagna and eggplant parmesan as well as meatloaf, pulled pork and succotash, this Italian-American restaurant joins North Davidson Street’s fast-paced food scene.
  • Reigning Doughnuts
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: NoDa. Frying cake varieties of Charlotte’s favorite breakfast indulgence, this tiny shop is set up in an old storage space behind Growlers Pourhouse.
  • See’s Candies
    Opened: November 2017
    Location/Concept: South Park. The San Francisco-based candy company has opened its first North Carolina offshoot: a stand in SouthPark Mall.
  • Zeppelin
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: South End. Serving small plates, cheese, charcuterie, wine and craft cocktails, this upscale spot sits in the same complex as the space where South End’s revamped Common Market will be.
  • Zinicola
    Opened: November 2017
    Location/Concept: Ballantyne. This upscale Italian eatery serves freshly made pastas, seafood dishes and flavorful meats in Ballantyne Village.
Save the Date
The best of the yet to come
  • Bang Bang Bites
    Opening: February 2018
    Location/Concept: South End. Like it’s big sister, Bang Bang Burgers, Bang Bang Bites will plate decadent burgers, but with a focus on 2-ounce sliders.
  • Bulla Gastrobar
    Opening: 2018
    Location/Concept: South Park. Spanish-inspired dishes and tapas make this chain, with locations in large cities throughout the South, an anticipated addition for brunch and dinner.
  • Davidson Ice House
    Opening: February 2018
    Location/Concept: Davidson. This fast-casual restaurant will serve grain bowls, naan bread sandwiches, soups, salads and more.
  • Fast-casual sushi from The Indigo Road
    Opening: 2018
    Location/Concept: Uptown. To be located in Bank of America plaza, this fast-casual sushi spot comes from the folks behind O-Ku, restaurant group The Indigo Road.
  • First Watch
    Opening: 2018
    Location/Concept: Matthews. Replacing Fuddruckers is a hearty breakfast chain dishing out breakfast tacos, avocado toast, pancakes and more.
  • Holler & Dash
    Opening: March 2018
    Location/Concept: Sedgefield. This Tennessee chain dresses biscuits with sweet and savory toppings like fried chicken with pimento cheese or whipped Creole cream cheese with strawberries and whipped cream.
  • Shake Shack
    Opening March 2018
    Location/Concept: South End. This much-anticipated burger chain is known for its delicious fries and inventive shakes.
  • Comida in Plaza Midwood. The restaurant will reopen as a part of Little Spoon Eatery in Myers Park sometime early in 2018.
  • Fud at Salud. After years of bodega-style service at Salud Beer Shop, Jeff McElwee, the owner of this inventive eatery, will take his creativity to new arenas, namely Uptown’s new coffee shop Queen City Grounds and a food truck. Salud itself plans to expand its kitchen.
  • Fuel Pizza in Park Road Shopping Center. The two-story restaurant will be replaced by Cava, a fast-casual Mediterranean chain out of Washington, D.C.
  • Joe’s Doughs. NoDa’s popular doughnut shop closed in December.
  • Nolen Kitchen. The high-end restaurant, a Charlotte staple, closed in November.
  • Taste of Europe. The popular Polish restaurant closed in October. RIP pierogis.
  • Tavolo. Uptown’s family-style Italian restaurant closed in December, less than a year after opening.


Need to Know
What’s notable and what’s newsworthy
  • Merchant & Trade, the bar atop Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, opened in November. The spot is swanky enough for a dress code—yes, it has one—and overlooks BB&T Ballpark and Romare Bearden Park.
  • Following a national trend, Cookie Dough Bliss, which serves edible cookie dough, opened in Concord in December. The shop serves 20 flavors of small batch cookie dough.
  • Not Just Coffee continues to take the Queen City’s caffeine scene by storm, opening its Dilworth location (the brand’s fifth and largest) in November. The stand-alone café boasts an expanded food menu as well.
  • Chapel Hill’s Gary Crunkleton, owner of his eponymous bar, announced he’ll open a bar in Elizabeth over the summer where comic book store Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find currently is.
  • Charlotte’s first cat café is officially open. Mac Tabby invites coffee lovers to come play with adoptable kitties while getting their daily fix.
Go Now
Charlotte newcomers to visit ASAP
  • Comic Girl Coffee
    Opened: November 2017
    Location/Concept: Plaza Midwood. As is to be assumed by its name, this LGBTQ-friendly and minority-focused newcomer marries coffee with comic books.
  • The Gin Mill
    Opened: January 2018
    Location/Concept: South End. After shutting down their original location, the neighborhood bar will reopen with a rooftop bar and patio in the space where Amos’ Southend used to be.
  • The Little Baker
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: Cornelius. A sweets bakery that also serves rolled ice cream.
  • Parliament Espresso & Coffee Bar
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: Uptown. In addition to a jitters-inducing coffee and espresso selection, this bar offers order-ahead service using an app and pastries baked in house.
  • QC Tea Bar
    Opened: December 2017
    Location/Concept: Steele Creek. Every tea variety—hot, Thai, flavored and iced—is poured at this café off Whitehall Park Drive.
Save the Date
The best of the yet to come
  • Queen City Grounds
    Opening: 2018
    Location/Concept: Uptown. The café off North Church Street is serving brews at popups around the city until its brick-and-mortar location opens.


  • Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel opened in December. With it came Angeline’s, a restaurant serving northern Italian fare, and rooftop bar Merchant + Trade, which overlooks BB&T Ballpark and Romare Bearden Park.
  • Park Road Shopping Center’s historic movie theater, Park Terrace Stadium, closed in December. The theater, which opened in 1964, had undergone a $2 million renovation in 1996.
  • The Station House, a 45,000-square-foot mixed-use space in NoDa, announced its first tenant: Charlotte Art League, which was formerly located in South End.
  • The 9.3-mile LYNX Blue Line Extension is set to open in March, connecting Uptown to University City. With the extension comes a perk for commuters: CATS plans to add more trains at rush hour.
  • New luxury hotel The Grand Bohemian, is scheduled to break ground in February. The 15-story, 254-room hotel off West Trade and Church streets is scheduled to open late 2019.
  • Charlotte Area Transit System is set to begin construction this summer on Gateway Station, the Third Ward transit hub meant to house Amtrak, local and regional buses and possibly a commuter rail.
  • While Healthy Home Market has gone out of business, Phoenix-based organic grocer Sprouts has announced its move to Charlotte. Sprouts’ first location will open in Ballantyne.

Things to Do

  • Dockless bike shares from companies LimeBike and Spin have left two-wheelers strewn around the city since the end of 2017. And in early January, Charlotte welcomed its third dockless bike share company, Mobike, which operates out of Beijing; the Queen City is the company’s second U.S. location. Another company, Ofo, plans to place 500 yellow bikes around Charlotte, too.
  • Ballantyne’s first escape room, Timed Out, opens this year.
  • Charlotte’s music scene is vamping up after multiple closers over the past few years. Jay Tilyard, formerly the owner of The Chop Shop, which is now closed, has been working on The Shed Amphitheater, a pop-up music venue that’s part of The Station House development in NoDa. And just after the New Year, Skylark Social Club opened, bringing rock and roll to Plaza Midwood.

Photo courtesy of Queen City Grounds

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