10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Graphic by Francesca Daly for Cardinal & Pine

By Leah Sherrell

February 14, 2023

To honor Black History Month, we’re highlighting Black-owned businesses across North Carolina, starting with a deep dive into the food scene in the state’s most populous city.

Welcome to Charlotte a.k.a. Queen City a.k.a. the most diverse city in North Carolina. Recently, Food & Wine Magazine named the city as one of “America’s Next Great Food Cities”. It’s a true melting pot, and the foodscape reflects it.

Here’s our list of must-try Black-owned restaurants and drink stops to keep in mind for your next visit or when you need to answer “what should I get to eat?”

Ms. Didi’s Caribbean Kitchen

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Port Au Prince vis Ms. Didi’s Caribbean Kitchen

The mother-daughter duo at Ms. Didi’s Caribbean Kitchen is bringing mouthwatering Haitian food to the Queen City in their food truck and catering services. The menu features signature items named after cities in Haiti like the Port Au Prince (Haitian style fried chicken with rice), Leogane (stewed chicken and rice), vegan options, and sides like mac-n-cheese, plantains, and beef patties.

Reviews:

“The food is ALWAYS delicious!!!! The customer service is on par with the food. I recommend 10/10.”

  • Martin X Squared

“Great tasting fresh food paired with excellent customer service! I love this food truck. You can expect fresh, authentic, well seasoned Haitian food.”

  • Trisitin Fleming Lowe

“The food is excellent!!! Authentic Haitian Food!! I will be back!! It was like being home!!”

  • Michelle Guobadia

Their location changes, so make sure to check their weekly schedule!

Lulu’s Express

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte
10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Fried Wings vis Lulu’s Express 5 oz. Crab Cake via Lulu’s Express

I’m not drooling, you’re drooling…ok we’re both drooling. Lulu’s Express serves Maryland style seafood and chicken, and their menu features dishes like the five ounce crab cake, wing platters, cajun salmon, chicken and waffles—and we haven’t even gotten to their incredibly appetizing sides.

Reviews:

“Not many places do crab cakes right outside of Maryland; Baltimore to be specific. The crabcake was great! I love how it came with the sides of rice and another of your choice BUT those honey-old bay wings is down right 🔥. Do your mouth a favor…You can’t go wrong with that at all.”

“This is a laid back, no-frills joint. Music was bumping and the energy is amazing. You know something special is going down in the kitchen as soon as you walk in.”

“The food was full of flavor and the portions were generous. This restaurant was an excellent choice and the food definitely made my soul happy. I ordered the grilled shrimp platter with collard greens and yams. 🔥 🔥”

Location: 2400 Tuckaseegee Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208

Queen City Wings

Check out Queen City Wings for your wing, burger, and hot-dog fix. The menu features 15 sauce options ranging from garlic pepper to teriyaki honey bbq. If you’re ordering for one, try out their six count combo, and if you’re ordering for a group they have a 100 wing + fry option to satisfy everyone.

Reviews:

“Awesome place to eat! Prices are fair, good selections of wings and other options to eat. Awesome sauces. Easily the best wings I’ve ever had. Really friendly as well. Great dive to eat at.”

  • Michael Frederickson

“The wings are sooooo good! This is one of the best “hole-in-the-wall” black-owned places to get some quick delicious lunch. Would definitely recommend.”

  • Tia Lee

“LEMON PEPPER WINGS!! Trust me. Also the bacon cheeseburger is amazing!”

  • Gavin Boulware

Location: 607 Baldwin Ave, Charlotte, NC

Abugida Ethiopian Cafe & Restaurant

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte
10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Vegetarian Sampler vis Abugida Cafe Abugida Tender Beef Tibs

At Abugida Ethiopian Cafe & Restaurant you can enjoy lunch out with friends or plan your next party! They pride themselves on delicious (and reasonably priced) Ethiopian food. The menu ranges from appetizers like tomato fitfit and sambusa, to main dishes like zelzel wet and gomen.

Reviews:

“So this was my first time having Ethiopian food. Good Lord this was absolutely DELICIOUS!! So many different flavors and textures.”

“Great food. Great place. The food is excellent. I am a very picky eater and they have exactly what I was looking [for]… Delicious, well seasoned food will have you coming back for more and more. They have food for vegetarians and meat eaters.”

“So amazing!! Vegetarian feast option with injera was delicious! Abugida feast with tender beef and just beautiful spices.”

Location: 3007 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

Renaldo’s Culinary Experience

Renaldo’s Culinary Experience is exactly that- an experience. Their menu includes gourmet pizzas (see the duck pizza), shrimp and grits, and the surf and turf burger (which has a beef patty AND and lobster claw), and so much more you’ll probably need a few trips to get the full picture.

Reviews:

“Renaldo’s offers a wide range of delicious foods that are always perfectly presented and freshly made. I have never had a bad dish from Renaldo.”

“Renaldo’s NEVER disappoints! We’ve tried this spot 3 different times and each time it’s been delicious. The Alfredo is perfection! And don’t sleep in the garlic parm bread.”

“Ohhh myyyy goodness!!! The food here is AMAZING!! …Renaldo and his staff are wonderful people. They treat you like family when you come to their restaurant.”

Location: 1540 West Blvd Suite #107, Charlotte, NC 28208

Nana Morrison’s Soul Food

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Meal via Nana Morrison’s Soul Food

This family-owned business was created to bring back the taste of home. When they moved to Charlotte, Kiana and Shawn Morrison decided to open Nana Morrison’s Soul Food and serve food based on recipes from Kiana’s grandmother. The menu includes classics like fried chicken, pork chops (fried and smothered), yams, curry chicken rice, and desserts like banana pudding, sweet potato pie, and peach cobbler.

Reviews:

“Baby, this soul food is on point! The curry chicken paired with stuffing collards and mac & cheese with a cornbread muffin, is savory and delicious.”

“Incredible. There’s not much more to it…My family is from New Orleans and we looooove us some soul food. This place was straight fire.”

“The food was AMAZING! We went through the line fairly quickly, and everyone was super friendly and courteous. If I’m ever back in NC in that area, I will 1,000% be back!”

Location: 2908 Oak Lake Blvd Suite #106, Charlotte, NC 28208

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte
10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Burger from Romeo’s Vegan Burgers Chili Cheese Fries from Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

Wth a brick and mortar and a food truck, Romeo’s Vegan Burgers is determined to serve you the best burgers, chili cheese fries, and milkshakes (all vegan of course).

Reviews:

“The food was great. The best vegan burger I’ve had in Charlotte.”

  • Jamel Wilborn

“The food here 🔥🔥🔥. The burgers definitely gave savory flavor and cooked with love. This place is easily a repeat eatery”

  • Elle Ward

“Best burger I’ve ever had! Even from pre vegan days. Cheez was melted perfectly. Quick and friendly service”

  • Curtis Scott Parmer

Location: 5518 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217

Derita Dairy Bar and Grill

Not sure about vegan burgers? We gotcha covered with the Derita Dairy Bar and Grill. From the menu, you’ll have your pick of beef burgers, hot dogs, philly wraps, chicken tenders and more. It’s an easy to miss corner grill, so keep it in mind for your next outing!

Reviews:

“Staff are one of the friendliest people in Charlotte and their food is simple and satisfying. They put a lot of love in their cooking and shows in everything they make.”

“Hidden gem for Charlotte. Everyone needs to go here an experience the amazing staff and great, fresh food. Love it. Have not eaten anything here I haven’t liked.”

“It’s a great local black owned business. I’ve been here twice now. You may miss it driving past if you’re not looking for it. You order from a window. The service both times has been top knotch”

Location: 2737 W Sugar Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262

Archive CLT

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Archive Coffee Grounds

Archive CLT is the brain-child of Cheryse Terry, and while it made its way onto this list as a coffee shop, that wasn’t originally Terry’s plan. Now a hybrid storefront selling coffee, books, and all things vintage, Archive CLT is, above all else, a communal space for Black professionals, Black creatives, and families.

Reviews:

“This place is a time capsule of black culture that needs to be displayed and explored. From the black art to menu, every detail was hand picked. Words cannot describe how amazing this cafe is to me.”

“The coffee was delicious! We ordered a Dirty Chai and a Vanilla Latte. The coffee was well balanced and perfectly spiced. The space is extremely cute and artistic.”

“This quickly became one of my favorite places in ALL of Charlotte. You walk in and the vibe makes you feel right at home. It’s a beautiful celebration of the black experience, and oh yea, the coffee is amazing!”

Location: 2023 Beatties Ford Rd Suite D, Charlotte, NC 28216

1501 South Mint

10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte
10 Black-owned restaurants to try in Charlotte

Cocktails from 1501 South Mint

Right in the middle of it all, 1501 South Mint is the place to be when you need a drink, whether that’s after work, on a casual night out, or when you need a “spot BEFORE the spot”. This chic cocktail, hookah, and food lounge was once a gas station, but now boasts $2 hookah Tuesdays, cigars, and Friday food trucks.

Reviews:

“The staff is super friendly and the drinks are AMAZING!! … Looking for a new place to vibe with a diverse crowd 1501 is a must visit.”

“I love everything about 1501. My favorite day to go is brunch on Sundays.”

“Nice spot to hang out and enjoy some drinks in the outdoor patio area.”

Location: 1501 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC 28203

BONUS

Of course, we can’t forget to mention Leah & Louise. The tweet below says it all.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cn2gMK4s3ge/

Author

  • Leah Sherrell

    Leah Sherrell is a multimedia reporter for Cardinal & Pine. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she's a resident of Kernersville with a background in video production and communication. Leah uses many forms of media to explore the multifaceted lifestyles and cultures present in North Carolina.

CATEGORIES: LOCAL CULTURE

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