Global Restaurant's Chef Bernard grew up along the sun-soaked shores of the southern French village of Nice, where his grandfather was a pastry chef and his father owned a fish shop. This rich familial and Francophilic culinary heritage inspired him to take chef apprenticeships in Paris, the United Kingdom, Russia, and upon globe-roving cruise ships. His travels infused an eclectic edge into his cooking, which still incorporates traditional meals, fusion concepts, and a French spirit. His journeys also yielded him more than recipes — during one of his cruises, he met his wife, Shannon, whose experience with the front end of the food-and-beverage industry led the pair to open their own restaurant in Charlotte.
Inside the duo's creation, Global Restaurant, electric blues and oranges brighten the space, and crisp tablecloths lay a canvas for dishes with inventive flavors and artistic presentations. Chef Bernard's specialties include cauliflower-goat-cheese sauce, boldly splashed across a seared sea bass, and date chutney and caramelized apples that dance across an all-natural duck.
The menu, which is in many ways a travelogue of Bernard and Shannon's journeys, has snagged the attention of the Charlotte Observer and of WCNC's Charlotte Today, which invited Bernard on air for a live cooking demo, where he seared some of his famous diver scallops atop the weatherman's greenscreen.
It’s hard not to feel nostalgic at Jake’s Good Eats. For starters, the cozy eatery is housed in a converted 1930s gas station, and—with vintage Coca-Cola and motor-oil signs scattered across its whitewashed walls—it's decorated to match. But the nostalgia doesn’t hit full force until the first bite of Jake and Gordon Stegall's homestyle Southern food. Bone-in, maple-glazed pork chops dotted with candied apples, free-range barbecue chicken, and blackened grouper smothered in the house's original crawfish sauce are just a few menu highlights that have made Jake's worthy of a feature on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and a place on Guy Fieri's speed dial. And that’s just the Stegall brothers’ take on what they call “more refined country cooking.” They also assemble oyster po’ boys, pit-smoked barbecue sandwiches, and even hot dogs—in homage to their days as car-show vendors—topped with chili and slaw.
Best of all, from the brown sugar to the blackening rubs, the brothers make practically everything from scratch. And what they can't handle, their Mama Jean can; according to Creative Loafing Charlotte, she bakes all the biscuits and desserts, including banana pudding and chocolate-peanut-butter pies that “are everything to make your mouth happy.”
The textile warehouse had seen many uses since it was built in 1925, but it had been empty when Susie Peck and her friends moved in. They saw its hardwood floors, exposed brick, and massive timber ceiling beams as warm and rustic—the ideal setting for the new Pewter Rose Bistro. Named for a small, pewter tin the original Pewter Rose Bistro owner purchased on her worldly travels, the now collectively owned restaurant posits a distinctively American take on casual European fare, which the agile hands of head chef Cory Zupon bring to fruition at every service.
The kitchen blends southern-style comfort fare with Mediterranean dishes and other ethnic cuisines, with many dishes assembled from local produce and fresh seafood into risottos and finely cooked filets. Dishes pair with more than 170 wines, each handpicked to join the eatery's focused collection, which features California and European varietals. At weekend brunch, more than 25 à la carte offerings rise from foundations of egg, toast, and produce, which also evoke the eatery's signature creative touches. On some evenings, aromatic tendrils rise from tables to mingle with strains of live music from the laid-back Pewter Lounge bar area, where guests relax on padded couches or chairs to listen to acoustic strains and jazz on Wednesday and Thursday.
There’s nothing more quintessentially Irish than Guinness beer, a fact not lost on the chefs at Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub. Led by Deacon Ovall, recently featured on Fox Charlotte's Chef Spotlight, the kitchen staff pairs house-cured corned beef and cabbage with Guinness au jus, smothers flank-steak shepherd's pie with Guinness gravy, and batters fried cod fillets in Guinness batter. But the menu is nothing if not multifaceted, with offerings ranging from traditional Irish eats and hearty half-pound Black Angus burgers to nearly a dozen freshly tossed salads.
Diners can pair their upscale pub eats with a hearty selection of pours. Four of the eight draft beers on tap hail from Ireland itself, and the servers also mix up "Lucktinis," including the Spiced Leprechaun made with Bacardi Oakheart, sour-apple Schnapps, and pineapple juice. Big-screen TVs dazzle eyes as flights of Irish whiskey tantalize tongues. Every Wednesday at 9 p.m., rounds of trivia keep brains from forgetting little-known factoids, such as the name of George Washington’s least-favorite fruit.
A science lab calls to mind test tubes, bubbling flasks of chemicals, maniacally laughing men in white coats—but rarely ice cream. But that's exactly where Curt Jones, chairman and founder of Dippin' Dots, came upon the inspiration for the tiny flash-frozen beads of ice cream. A microbiologist, Jones spearheaded the flash-freezing process of cryogenic encapsulation, a method capable of trapping flavor and freshness.
Beginning as a retail shop in Lexington, Kentucky, the ice cream quickly began to quell the tantrums of Fortune 500 CEOs all over the country. Having won numerous awards since he created a new way to enjoy an old treat, Jones stays true to Dippin' Dots’ roots, making the ice cream at the company headquarters in Paducah, Kentucky. New additions to the Dippin' Dots family include Dots ‘n Cream, a treat similar to traditional ice cream.
Toast Café's resident chefs greet early and midday birds with a menu of New York–style brunch. Reward early rising appetites with the Sunrise burrito ($5.95), which ferries a triumvirate of scrambled egg whites, brie, and avocado into drowsy mouths. All manner of fresh fixins get wrapped up in an egg blanket on the omelet menu. The Northwestern regales taste buds with goat cheese and fresh herbs ($8.95), and the greek omelet, with its savory mélange of fresh spinach, tomatoes, and feta ($8.95), makes palates pop with an attic flavor combination more authentic than eating a kalamata olive wrapped in a first edition of The Odyssey. The eatery festoons tables with an updated take on a classic sandwich with the Left Coast BLT with a splash of avocado and slices of brie piled between slices of wheat bread ($8.95).