Executive chef and owner Jim Alexander has created an upscale dining experience worthy of a world-class New York or London eatery, with a menu of contemporary French cuisine that remains accessible to all diners. Educated at New York’s Culinary Institute of America, Alexander has been widely recognized within the restaurant industry, including earning a stint on the 1996 gold-medal-winning US Culinary Olympic Team. His mastery of the kitchen shines not only in the well-flavored meals, but also in Zebra’s characteristic artistic presentation. Most dishes benefit from ambitiously sculpted food combinations, each a brilliant array of colors, shapes, and textures.
When he was 9 years old, Steve Spoon started working at Bill Spoon's BBQ so he could be closer to his grandfather, the eponymous Bill Spoon. He began by cleaning tables for a dollar an hour, but as the years went by and he learned the family's decades-old recipes, he became more invested in the business. What started as a summer job and a way to bond with his grandfather steadily became his passion, and, as a 10th grader, Steve was already determined to run the restaurant someday.
Since taking over, he hasn't strayed far from his grandfather's legacy. His cooks still slow roast whole pigs on the cooker for 10 hours along with a fragrant mixture of hickory wood and they accompany each plateful with the family's signature vinegar-based barbecue sauce. This flavorful combination of succulent, handpicked pork and tangy sauce helped earn Bill Spoon's BBQ a spot on Zagat's list of the 10 U.S. Barbecue Meccas in 2011.
Along with pulled pork, the rich scents of hickory smoke and fried hushpuppies waft throughout the dining room, mingling with the aromas of made-from-scratch sides, such as baked beans and mac ?n? cheese, and desserts including housemade banana pudding.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
The chefs at Sweet Tea's Restaurant and Catering know that southern-style cuisine goes beyond collard greens and grits. Every day, they use high-quality ingredients to craft soups, salad dressings, and sauces from scratch, including the creamy white-pepper gravy that smothers mounds of housemade mashed potatoes and country-fried chicken or steak. Hand-battered shrimp are cradled inside po’ boys with made-from-scratch tartar sauce, while a homemade barbecue-ranch dressing tops offerings including the texas brisket and potato hush puppies.
The catering specialists, who catered for the contestants and crew of The Bachelorette when the show filmed in Charlotte, can arrange for many of the menu options to be created for parties, meetings, or jury-duty reunions. A complimentary jug of sweet or un-sweet tea accompanies all catering orders.
Bedder, Bedder and Moore is known as the go-to caterer for offices in the Charlotte area thanks to its sublime box lunches, sandwich baskets, and hot buffets. The catering team keeps stomachs full with hearty food including fresh-baked bread and soups and salads made from scratch. When BB&M isn't serving deli-style delights to workers on their lunch break, it operates comfortable restaurants?ideal for people who aren't confined to offices or a sand bunker after an executive outing to the golf course?and hosts events ranging from corporate meetings to last-minute lunches. When only hot food will do, its buffet satisfies cravings with chafing dishes loaded with lasagna, meatloaf, and a quesadilla bar.
This “B” might come last on Mac’s Speed Shop’s catchy motto of “beer, bikes, barbecue,” but it still draws people from miles around—including the Travel Channel’s Chuey Martinez, who stopped in to sample the dry-rubbed Carolina brisket for the series All You Can Meat. This tender brisket is slow-smoked for 12 hours and slathered with Mac’s signature red barbecue sauce, which won first prize at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in 2013. But Mac's succulent meats don't steal all the glory; CBS Charlotte reports that "the side dishes alone can make for a good meal."
Mac’s Speed Shop’s robust beer list features a brew for any occasion: a Mexican import to pair with the pulled pork tacos, a craft amber ale to sip with St. Louis–style ribs, or an organic offering to pair with a fresh salad. It’s no wonder that beer is such an integral part of Mac’s philosophy—the five owners even dreamt up the eatery over a couple of brewskis, according to Charlotte Magazine.
At Mac's, the motorcycle theme isn’t limited to kitsch such as Harley logos and bikes hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant caters to the community’s easy riders with ample motorcycle parking and regular Bike Night events. Although the clientele tends to lean more toward families than hardcore riders, Mac’s still pays tribute to the biker spirit by housing its flagship location inside a former repair shop.