Explore Charlotte

The Chefs Shaking Up Charlotte's Dining Scene

Your plate just got an upgrade.

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.

Chef Matthew Krenz
Chef Matthew Krenz (©Charles Umberger)

Matthew Krenz

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

Jeff Tonidandel
Jeff Tonidandel (Courtesy Jamie Brown)

Jeff Tonidandel

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

Chef Chris Coleman
Chef Chris Coleman (©Reuben Bloom)

Chris Coleman

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

Chef Scott Walker
Chef Scott Walker (Courtesy Scott Walker)

Scott Walker

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