The Queen City’s culinary scene is keeping steady pace with her constant growth, introducing newcomers and tried-and-true influencers sure to please the palates of visitors and locals alike. Here are four Charlotteans shaking it up.
Matthew Krenz is the creative brain behind the imaginative cuisine at The Asbury, a sophisticated establishment connected to the historic Dunhill Hotel in Uptown, a great spot to hit up before a performance at Belk Theater. Known for his appreciation for the process of sourcing ingredients—his family owns a ranch close by—he uses on-the-nest local ingredients and often orchestrates multicourse theme dinners, including the most recent, themed Gin + Watermelon. Where to eat: The Asbury, 235 N. Tryon St., 704.342.1193
Along with his better half Jamie Brown, Jeff Tonidandel owns three popular restaurants in the artsy North Davidson (NoDa) neighborhood. While he’s not technically a chef, the restaurateur is a Certified Cicerone—essentially the beer world’s official ranked counterpart to the wine world’s sommelier—and he knows a ton about hospitality, beer and food.
Following a backpacking world tour, he returned to the Queen City amidst the financial crisis of 2008 and, naturally, decided to open his first restaurant, Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub. Now, the French fare staple is a favorite among locals who stop by to sample savory crepes and signature Brie fries.
Next came Growlers Pourhouse in 2010, and in 2016 the couple expanded just up the road with Haberdish, an inventive culinary nod to the area’s rich mill heritage, serving up Southern staples like crispy fried chicken and North Carolina trout, in addition to more creative items like livermush toast and homemade biscuits and savory-sweet bacon jam. Where to eat: Crepe Cellar, 3116 N. Davidson St., 704.910.6543; Growlers Pourhouse, 3120 N. Davidson St., 704.910.6566; Haberdish, 3106 N. Davidson St., 704.817.1084
Appointed executive chef of Charlotte’s historic, high-end McNinch House at just 21 years old, Chris Coleman has continued to make a name for himself on Charlotte’s culinary scene.
Coleman is now the innovator behind the fare at Stoke at the Charlotte Marriott City Center. A new location in an Uptown hotel means Coleman keeps the traveler in mind and is constantly looking for inventive ways to showcase his work. Signature dishes include a charred octopus served with chorizo and crispy fingerling potatoes and a bourbon-barrel sherry-glazed duck served with smoked grape and carrot purée. Where to eat: Stoke, 100 W. Trade St., 704.353.6005
Gastropubs are popping up all over in this beer-crazed city, but Heist Brewery’s chef Scott Walker is taking pub fare to a new level with inventive go-tos and a popular signature weekend brunch; order from the menu on Saturday, buffet Sunday.
Recently featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Walker prides himself on his “twisted American cuisine,” featuring anything from his swoon-worthy housemade beer cheese—made with Heist’s on-site brews—to higher-concept dishes like a duck confit flatbread and sriracha chicken-and-waffle tacos with maple syrup and a hot-sauce butter—not what you’d expect from your everyday hop house. Where to eat: Heist Brewery, 2909 N. Davidson St., 704.375.8260