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Food & Drink Readers’ Pick Winners: Best in the Nest 2022

Best of Charlotte's food scene chosen by Queen City Nerve readers

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Best in the Nest Readers’ Picks were chosen exclusively by readers through a one-month nomination process followed by a one-month voting process. The nominations were not tampered with by Queen City Nerve staff at all — save for removing ourselves from a few categories to proactively dispel any notions of favoritism. In other words, if you disagree with these ones, that’s on your fellow reader, not us.

Back to all categories


 

BY NEIGHBORHOOD

 

BEST BALLANTYNE RESTAURANT

Winner: Midwood Smokehouse
Runner Up: Sanctuary Bistro

 

BEST BELMONT RESTAURANT

Winner: ACE No. 3
Runner Up: Sweet Lew’s BBQ

Ace No. 3
Ace No. 3 in the Belmont Neighborhood (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST EAST CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Portofino’s Italian Restaurant

 

BEST MATTHEWS/MINT HILL RESTAURANT

Winner: Kabab-Je Rotisserie & Grille
Runner Up: Lam’s Kitchen

 

BEST NODA RESTAURANT

Winner: Haberdish
Runner Up: Brooks’ Sandwich House

 

BEST NORTH CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Plant Joy

 

BEST NORTH MECKLENBURG RESTAURANT

Winner: Kindred
Runner Up: 131 MAIN

 

BEST PINEVILLE RESTAURANT

Winner: What The Fries
Runner Up: Thai House

 

BEST PLAZA MIDWOOD RESTAURANT

Winner: Supperland
Runner Up: Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria

Supperland
The Supperland interior. (Photo by Kenty Chung)

BEST SOUTH END RESTAURANT

Winner: Living Kitchen
Runner Up: Yunta

 

BEST SOUTHPARK RESTAURANT

Winner: Little Mama’s Italian Kitchen
Runner Up: Steak 48

 

BEST STEELE CREEK RESTAURANT

Winner: Harry’s Grille & Tavern
Runner Up: Sweetwater Sports Bar & Grill

 

BEST UNIVERSITY CITY RESTAURANT

Winner: Thai House
Runner Up: Boardwalk Billy’s Raw Bar and Ribs

 

BEST UPTOWN RESTAURANT

Winner: Alexander Michael’s
Runner Up: The Cellar at Duckworth’s

Alexander Michael's Restaurant
Alexander Michael’s Restaurant (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST WEST CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Pinky’s Westside Grill
Runner Up: Rhino Market & Deli

Pinky's Westside Grill
Pinky’s Westside Grill (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

 

BY CONCEPT

 

BEST BAKERY

Winner: Suárez Bakery
Runner Up: Amélie’s French Bakery & Café

 

BEST BARBECUE

Winner: Midwood Smokehouse
Runner Up: Sweet Lew’s BBQ

 

BEST COFFEE SHOP

Winner: Summit Coffee Co.
Runner Up: Enderly Coffee Company

Summit Coffee
Summit Coffee (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST DELI

Winner: Common Market
Runner Up: Rhino Market & Deli

 

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANT

Winner: Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Kindred

 

BEST FARMERS MARKET

Winner: Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
Runner Up: Matthews Farmers Market

 

BEST FOOD TRUCK

Winner: Soul Miner’s Garden
Runner Up: Tin Kitchen

 

BEST GOURMET/SPECIALTY FOOD STORE

Winner: Pasta & Provisions
Runner Up: Reid’s Fine Foods

Pasta & Provisions
Pasta & Provisions (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE

Winner: Sprouts Farmers Market
Runner Up: Berrybrook Natural Foods

 

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP

Winner: Two Scoops Creamery
Runner Up: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Two Scoops Creamery
Two Scoops Creamery (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST INTERNATIONAL FOOD STORE

Winner: Super G Mart
Runner Up: Cedar Land

 

BEST JUICE BAR

Winner: Green Brothers Juice & Smoothie Co.
Runner Up: Viva Raw

 

BEST SEAFOOD

Winner: The Waterman
Runner Up: Sea Level NC

Looking onto a patio from the lawn, a few people sit at a table with lights strung above them leading to a large sign that reads The Waterman, with blue sky above.
The Waterman Fish Bar in Cornelius (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST SOUL FOOD

Winner: Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Mert’s Heart and Soul

 

BEST STEAKHOUSE

Winner: Beef ‘N Bottle Steakhouse
Runner Up: Supperland

 

BEST TAPAS AND SHAREABLES

Winner: Good Food on Montford
Runner Up: The Artisan’s Palate

 

BEST VEGAN FOOD

Winner: Oh My Soul
Runner Up: Plant Joy


 

BY DISH

 

BEST BAGELS

Winner: Poppy’s Bagels & More
Runner Up: The Good Wurst Company

 

BEST BREAKFAST

Winner: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Runner Up: Eddie’s Place

 

BEST BRUNCH

Winner: Cafe Monte French Bakery and Bistro
Runner Up: Eddie’s Place

 

BEST BURGER

Winner: ACE No. 3
Runner Up: Pinky’s Westside Grill

 

BEST DESSERT

Winner: Villani’s Bakery
Runner Up: Move That Dough Baking Co.

 

BEST DOUGHNUTS

Winner: Pepperbox Doughnuts
Runner Up: Reigning Doughnuts

Pepperbox Doughnuts
Pepperbox Doughnuts (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST FRIES

Winner: What The Fries
Runner Up: ACE No. 3

 

BEST FROZEN TREAT

Winner: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Runner Up: Popbar

 

BEST HANGOVER FIX

Winner: Waffle House
Runner Up: Eddie’s Place

 

BEST HOT DOGS

Winner: JJ’s Red Hots
Runner Up: The Good Wurst Company

 

BEST LUNCH

Winner: YAFO Kitchen
Runner Up: Common Market

 

BEST PHO

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Pho Hoa

 

BEST PIZZA

Winner: Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Runner Up: Sal’s Pizza Factory

Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Inizio Pizza Napoletana (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST RAMEN

Winner: Futo Buta
Runner Up: JINYA Ramen Bar

 

BEST SANDWICH

Winner: Common Market
Runner Up: Rhino Market & Deli

 

BEST SPECIALTY/SIGNATURE DISH

Winner: Loaded nachos – Soul Miner’s Garden
Runner Up: Short rib – Cafe Monte French Bakery and Bistro

 

BEST SUSHI

Winner: New Zealand Cafe
Runner Up: O-Ku

 

BEST TACOS

Winner: Tacos El Nevado
Runner Up: Sabor Latin Street Grill

 

BEST WINGS

Winner: Moosehead Grill
Runner Up: Seoul Food Meat Company


 

BY CUISINE

 

BEST AFRICAN CUISINE

Winner: Enat Ethiopian Restaurant
Runner Up: Abugida Ethiopian Cafe

 

BEST CARIBBEAN CUISINE

Winner: Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria
Runner Up: Mama’s Caribbean Grill

Calle Sol ceviche
Classic ceviche at Calle Sol. (Photo by Kenty Chung)

BEST CHINESE CUISINE

Winner: Ho Ho Cherry House
Runner Up: Ma Ma Wok

 

BEST FRENCH CUISINE

Winner: Cafe Monte French Bakery and Bistro
Runner Up: La Belle Helene

 

BEST INDIAN CUISINE

Winner: Copper
Runner Up: Curry Gate

 

BEST ITALIAN CUISINE

Winner: Mama Ricotta’s
Runner Up: Portofino’s Italian Restaurant

 

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

Winner: O-Ku
Runner Up: Nakato Japanese Steakhouse

 

BEST KOREAN CUISINE

Winner: Seoul Food Meat Company
Runner Up: Let’s Meat KBBQ

 

BEST MEXICAN CUISINE

Winner: Three Amigos Mexican Kitchen & Cantina
Runner Up: La Autentica Mexican Restaurant

 

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE

Winner: YAFO Kitchen
Runner Up: La Shish Kabob

hummus from Yafo Kitchen
Hummus with falafel from Yafo Kitchen. (Photo by Remy Thurston)

BEST THAI CUISINE

Winner: Thai House
Runner Up: Thai Taste

 

BEST VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Pho Hoa


 

MISCELLANEOUS ACCOLADES

 

BEST CHEF

Winner: Gregory Collier – Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Barry Horton – Sanctuary Bistro

 

BEST LATE-NIGHT EATERY

Winner: Midnight Diner
Runner Up: Sir Edmund Halley’s

 

BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT GROUP

Winner: Moffett Restaurant Group
Runner Up: FS Food Group

 

BEST LOCALLY FRANCHISED RESTAURANT

Winner: Viva Chicken
Runner Up: YAFO Kitchen

 

BEST PASTRY CHEF

Winner: Samantha Allen – Wentworth & Fenn
Runner Up: Michaela Moehring – Church and Union, La Belle Helene

 

BEST PATIO SPACE

Winner: The Goodyear House
Runner Up: Oh My Soul

 

BEST PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH

Winner: Link & Pin
Runner Up: La Belle Helene

 

BEST WAIT STAFF/SERVICE

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: The Crunkleton

Dan Nguyen stands with three other staff members inside Lang Van Vietnamese Restaurant, their arms interlocked.
Nguyen with staff members from Lang Van Vietnamese, including Orlean. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

 

FOR THE LOVE OF ALCOHOL

 

BEST BEER SELECTION

Winner: Salud Beer Shop
Runner Up: Common Market

 

BEST BLOODY MARY

Winner: Moo & Brew
Runner Up: Zada Jane’s Corner Café

 

BEST BOTTLE SHOP

Winner: Common Market
Runner Up: Salud Beer Shop

 

BEST BREWERY

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company
Runner Up: Resident Culture Brewing Company

The beer canning process
The canning process in effect. (Photo courtesy of NoDa Brewing)

BEST COCKTAIL

Winner: Dot Dot Dot
Runner Up: Idlewild

 

BEST DISTILLERY

Winner: Great Wagon Road Distilling Company
Runner Up: Muddy River Distillery

 

BEST MOCKTAIL

Winner: Haberdish
Runner Up: The Crunkleton

 

BEST NEW BREWERY (LAST 2 YEARS)

Winner: Vaulted Oak Brewing
Runner Up: Burial Beer Co.

Vaulted Oak Brewing
Vaulted Oak Brewing (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST NON-ALCOHOLIC MENU

Winner: Free Range Bar at Camp North End
Runner Up: Hattie’s Tap & Tavern

 

BEST WINE SELECTION

Winner: Dilworth Tasting Room
Runner Up: The Wine Loft


 

BY THE BREW

 

BEST BLONDE ALE

Winner: Triple C Brewing Company – Golden Boy
Runner Up: Birdsong Brewing Co. – All Knight Long

 

BEST BROWN ALE

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Co. – Lazy Bird Brown
Runner Up: D9 Brewing – Brown Sugar Brown Cow

 

BEST GOSE

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company – Passion Fruit Gose
Runner Up: Town Brewing Co. – Cruise to Nowhere

 

BEST HIGH-GRAVITY BEER

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Co. – Higher Ground
Runner Up: NoDa Brewing Company – Hop Cakes

 

BEST IPA

Winner: Legion Brewing Company – Juicy Jay
Runner Up: NoDa Brewing Company – Hop Drop ‘N Roll

 

BEST KOLSCH

Winner: Devil’s Logic Brewing – Komunity
Runner Up: Blue Blaze Brewing – Yellow Blazer

 

BEST LAGER

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Co. – Rewind Lager
Runner Up: NoDa Brewing Company – Lager Days

 

BEST MARZEN/OKTOBERFEST STYLE BEER

Winner: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery – Mecktoberfest
Runner Up: NoDa Brewing Co. – Oktoberfest

 

BEST PALE ALE

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company – Jam Session
Runner Up: Wooden Robot Brewery – Overachiever

 

BEST PILSNER

Winner: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery – Captain Jack
Runner Up: Protagonist Beer – Queen Charlotte

 

BEST PORTER

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company – Coco Loco
Runner Up: Birdsong Brewing Co. – Wake Up

 

BEST PUMPKIN BEER

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company – Gordgeous
Runner Up: Southern Tier Brewing Company – Pumking

BEST SAISON

Winner: Free Range Brewing – My Heart And Soul
Runner Up: Vaulted Oak Brewing – Spare Change

 

BEST SELTZER

Winner: Summit Seltzer – Toast to Charlotte
Runner Up: Town Brewing Co. – Loose Leaf (hard tea)

 

BEST SOUR

Winner: The Suffolk Punch
Runner Up: Town Brewing Co. – Broken Tarted

 

BEST SPECIALTY/ONE-OFF BEER

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Co.
Runner Up: Free Range Brewing

 

BEST STOUT

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Co. – MexiCali Stout
Runner Up: Divine Barrel Brewing – Apple brandy aged stouts


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