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.
Legend has it that when The Flying Biscuit Cafe first opened, diners were so enamored with the kitchen's soft, flaky biscuits that they polished off the entire stock before 11 a.m., causing the restaurant to close its doors for the day. Today, the cheerful eatery has expanded to 13 locations across Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida, each one serving an average of 5,000 biscuits per week. Cooks are forever busy in the kitchens, slicing up the fluffy biscuits for breakfast sandwiches and folding farm-fresh and organic ingredients into a variety of American comfort classics. They dole out breakfast dishes all day long, from wood-smoked salmon scrambles to the gooey grits lauded by reporters from The Emory Wheel as "the most delicious cheese grits you’ve ever tasted (or ever will taste)". As the day wears on, the cooks turn their attention to juicy Angus beef burgers and Southern-style dinners such as chicken-fried steak and spicy jambalaya pasta. Committed to promoting healthy lifestyles, they also offer a variety of good-for-you menu items and modifications, whipping up omelets with egg whites, baking biscuits with whole wheat, and serving pancakes with a side of cast-iron kettlebells.
Selim Oztalay had been having sweet dreams of opening his own Italian gelato shop for many years. Growing up in Germany allowed him to not only be exposed to a variety of cultures, but also a variety of artisan gelato flavors that he missed when he moved to the United States. Hoping to expose American tongues to fine Italian flavors, he opened Gnam Gnam Gelato & Bistro. Named after the Italian saying for "delicious," Gnam Gnam makes visitors say just that with a rotating selection of more than 80 inventive gelato flavors made fresh and onsite daily. Servers heap scoops of the bistro’s namesake treat disguised as eggnog, tiramisu, and Nutella, and the spaghetti gelato reimagines its savory counterpart with vanilla gelato, strawberry syrup, white-chocolate shavings, and a longing for the old country. Those with larger hankerings can be sated with entrees from the full menu which features made-to-order artisan paninis, fresh salads, and combo meals.
Though high-school teacher Jason Knight had an “entrepreneurial spirit” and dreamed of opening a cookie and ice cream parlor, he also didn’t know “anything about making ice cream,” as he once explained to the Winston-Salem Journal. Intrigued by his friend’s dream and eager to support him on this endeavor, Edgar Everett—a chiropractor by trade—joined forces with his college pal, and the two immersed themselves in all things sweet, from ice-cream-making seminars to baking classes; thus Cookies + Cream was born, sating sweet cravings with batches of freshly baked cookies and housemade ice cream.
In the years since handing a freshly minted waffle cone to his first customer, Jason has spent countless hours perfecting the recipes for 45 different flavors of ice cream, including inventive options such as banana macadamia chip, cinnamon stick, and caramel latte. Warm, fragrant clouds of baked cookies and brownies escape the kitchen and flood the shop, and milkshakes and sundaes cool down mouths overheated from fielding crank phone calls from auctioneers. Guests can get their treats to go or snuggle into the seating area as they sip their coffees and plug into the shop’s free WiFi. Jason and Edgar also host fundraising events on a regular basis. For example, Doggy Day is a benefit for Stepping Stones Canine Rescue replete with doggy ice cream, face painting, and pet caricature drawings for pups able to laugh at the size of their snouts.
While flipping through television channels, you might spot Chuck Hayworth slicing up spaghetti squash or sculpting a vegan meatball on his own cooking show, Thankfully Local. The skilled chef is a passionate proponent of eating locally sourced foods, having overcome stomach cancer on a diet of farm-fresh produce and fruits. In the kitchen of Worth It Café, Chef Chuck works with a colorful array of fresh ingredients—95% of which originated from local North Carolina purveyors. To craft his signature "stuffwiches", Chuck packs hollowed-out farmhouse bread with barbeque pulled pork, crispy chicken, and house-roasted beef.
Diners gather around tabletops in the cafe's airy seating area, sipping freshly brewed iced tea and lingering over last bites of freshly baked brownies. Some opt to grab one of Chuck's takeaway dinners—such as chicken pot pie or spinach lasagna—to bring home and enjoy with their family or the pack of wild dogs they've come to love like a family.
At Steve's Sweet Treats Bakery, husband and wife team Steve and Joy Morris pass their days together baking a menu of made-from-scratch treats in a homey café setting. Between bites of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, or house-made snicker doodles, visitors can sip gourmet coffee and surf free WiFi as they bask in the shop’s comforting aesthetic, which pairs framed artwork and nostalgic knickknacks with mismatched antique furniture. Saturday mornings invite locals to linger longer over breakfast, and special orders allow customers to take a piece of the bakery home with them.
Custom cakes, cheesecakes infused with fruit or sandwich-style cookies, and cake pops that can be fashioned into edible cartoon characters are just a few of the shop’s sweet specialties, which may also be delivered locally to a home, office, or group of resourceful kindergarteners with convincing baritones.