Restaurant recommendations from Charlotte, NC food bloggers

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Charlotte food blogger Amber Owens poses at Icy-N-Spicy dessert shop in Miami. We asked her for some of her favorite restaurants to visit on a road trip.

Gooey pizza cheese pulls. Decadent desserts. Vibrant bowls.

Charlotte’s local food bloggers have a passion for finding the city’s best bites. They’re the culinary voices whose “phones eat first.” They visit new restaurants so you can get a taste of what to expect and share tips for ordering eye-catching dishes that will both enlighten the palate and satisfy cravings. From comfort food to cocktails and everything in between, these local bloggers and foodie influencers know where to go.

So, who better to trust when taking a road trip in the Carolinas? Maybe you’re seeking time away and want to know where to stop along the route. Or, if you’re like me, you’re planning a trip around restaurants known for certain specialties.

No matter where the road takes you, these food bloggers share their favorite spots, so you can find vacation-worthy food across the Carolinas from Raleigh to Charleston and beyond.

Kenty Chung

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Charlotte influencer Kenty Chung knows where to find great fried chicken and homemade dumplings near Raleigh-Durham. Courtesy of Kenty Chung

A local food photographer and influencer, Chung bridges his love of food with his passion for photography. You’ve likely seen his crisp, vivid work for local restaurants, bars and breweries. When out of town, Chung recommends:

City: Raleigh

Restaurant: Beasly’s Chicken + Honey

Location: 237 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601

Menu

What to try: Hot Chicken Sandwich

What to know: “The hot chicken sando is drenched in Carolina Reaper hot chili oil along with pickles, iceberg and buttermilk-herb dressing on buttermilk bread. Order the chili oil on the side and pour as much heat as you can take,” Chung said.

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Kenty Chung recommends ordering hot chili oil on the side during a trip to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. Courtesy of Kenty Chung

City: Durham

Restaurant: Sister Liu’s Kitchen

Location: 5504 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., #103, Durham, NC 27707

Menu

What to try: Dumplings, Chinese pork burger, noodles

What to know: “I had the opportunity to meet Liu herself, and she was an absolute gem. She reminds me of my aunt. She would always make sure that we are enjoying the food, fed and happy. She’s known for her homemade dumplings,” Chung said.

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Chung recommends ordering the homemade dumplings from Sister Liu’s Kitchen in Durham. Courtesy of Kenty Chung

Jessica Hodnett

Known for sharing the best spots for food, fashion and fun in the Queen City, Hodnett is a content creator and the owner of Sweet Seoul Media. She recommends:

City: Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

Restaurant: Obstinate Daughter

Location: 2063 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482

Menu

What to try: Peach Salad or Neapolitan pizza

What to know: “All of the ingredients they use are locally sourced, and the quality and service are top-notch,” Hodnett said.

Restaurant: Timberlake’s Restaurant

Location: 185 Chetola Lake Drive, Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Menu

What to try: Fried green tomato stack, ahi tuna nachos, miso-marinated sea bass

What to know: “Timberlake’s Restaurant is convenient because it is at the Chetola Resort. Executive Chef Matt Rivers does an amazing job with the menu and Pastry Chef Abigail Tetterton makes phenomenal desserts,” Hodnett said.

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The fried green tomato stack at Timberlake’s Restaurant in Blowing Rock is a must-try when staying at or near the Chetola Resort. Courtesy of Jessica Hodnett

Shay Jackson

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Shay Jackson is a full-time food and lifestyle blogger and graphic designer A Visual Design

Jackson is a food and lifestyle blogger who shares recipes, restaurant guides and DIY crafts on her blog. She also contributes to Charlotte Food Bloggers and Eat Black Charlotte. She recommends:

City: Corolla

Restaurant: Northern Lights Bakery and Coffee

Location: Light Town Center, 1159 Austin St., #109A, Corolla, NC 27927

Menu

What to try: Homemade doughnuts, muffins and Vietnamese coffee

What to know: “The bakery is family owned and operated. This is a local favorite and it’s always a long line, which is well worth it,” Jackson said.

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Shay Jackson knows breakfast looks different for everyone, and Northern Lights Bakery and Coffee in Corolla offers something for everyone. Courtesy of Shay Jackson

Amber Owens

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Amber Owens shares food and travel tips on her Instagram and also contributes to Eat Black Charlotte. Courtesy of Eat Black Charlotte

A local food blogger and influencer, Owens knows where to go for the best bites. She also shares bite-sized travel tips on her Instagram account and contributes to Eat Black Charlotte.

City: Charleston, South Carolina

Restaurant: Fleet Landing

Location: 186 Concord St., Charleston, SC 29401

Menu

What to try: Gumbo

What to know: “Do not skip out on the biscuits. They are heaven-sent,” Owens said.

City: Greenville, North Carolina; Clemson, Mount Pleasant and Summerville, South Carolina

Restaurant: Raising Cane’s

Location: Multiple locations

Menu

What to try: Finger Combo

What to know: “The toast and Canes sauce really top off the Finger Combo. This is a chain, but I will go out of my way to get it,” Owens said.

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Though Raising Cane’s is a chain restaurant, Owens recommends making the stop on your next road trip in the Carolinas. Courtesy of Amber Owens

Allie Papajohn

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Allie Papajohn is grateful for good food and meeting poeple through Eat Drink CLT. Courtesy of Allie Papajohn

One of Charlotte’s original food influencers, Papajohn shares the best spots to find snacks, drinks and photo-worthy pizza cheese pulls. When out of town, she recommends:

City: Greenville, South Carolina

Restaurant: Pomegranate on Main

Location: 618 S. Main St., Greenville, SC 29601

Menu

What to try: Duo, Trio or Chahr combination platters

What to know: “This Persian restaurant has been gracing downtown Greenville with its presence in 2017. Go with a group and order a combination platter for a taste of a variety of meats … and lots of Basmati rice, of course,” Papajohn said.

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Allie Papajohn recommends ordering a sampler plate to share at Pomegranate on Main in Greenville, SC. Courtesy of Allie Papajohn

City: Greenville, South Carolina

Restaurant: Jianna

Location: 600 S. Main St., #2, Greenville, SC 29601

Menu

What to order: Coppa Hero (sandwich with capicola, salami, tomato, Italian vinaigrette)

What to know: “Is anything better than house-made pasta? Get it and more, including oysters, burrata and various entrees, at this cute eatery located right across from Falls Park,” Papajohn said.

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Get a hearty sandwich with a view in Greenville, SC. Courtesy of Allie Papajohn

Cory Wilkins

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Cory Wilkins browses a menu for food and drink specials — his wheelhouse as @dailyspecialclt on Instagram. Erique Berry

The voice behind the Daily Special CLT blog, Wilkins compiles all the food, drink and activity specials at restaurants and bars around Charlotte, so you don’t miss out on any happenings. He currently has a list of over 1,500 specials and also contributes to Eat Black Charlotte. He recommends:

City: North Charleston, South Carolina

Restaurant: Nigel’s Good Food

Location: 3760 Ashley Phosphate Road, North Charleston, SC 29418

Menu

What to try: Geechie Wings

What to know: Order some sauce to go. “I absolutely love the Geechie wings; I even purchased some of the Geechie sauce to bring home for myself,” Wilkins said.


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Jessica is a writer fueled by coffee, cookies and long walks in the Magic Kingdom. She’s often found exploring the culinary scene (mostly pasta) and traveling. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jessicaswannie.