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Food & DrinkThe Best in Charlotte - Best in the Nest

Food & Drink Readers’ Pick Winners: Best in the Nest 2021

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.

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BY NEIGHBORHOOD

 

BEST BALLANTYNE RESTAURANT

Winner: Midwood Smokehouse
Runner Up: Ma Ma Wok

 

BEST EAST CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

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

Lang Van Charlotte
Lang Van is an OG of the vegan game in Charlotte. (Photo by Jayme Johnson)

BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT GROUP

Winner: High Tide Hospitality
Runner Up: FS Food Group

 

BEST NODA RESTAURANT

Winner: Haberdish
Runner Up: The Goodyear House

 

BEST NORTH CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Livy’s Neapolitan Pizzeria

Leah & Louise
Leah & Louise (Photo by Aerin Spruill)

BEST PLAZA MIDWOOD RESTAURANT

Winner: Soul Gastrolounge
Runner Up: Dish

 

BEST SOUTH END RESTAURANT

Winner: Hawker’s Asian Street Food
Runner Up: The Waterman Fish Bar

 

BEST SOUTHPARK RESTAURANT

Winner: Little Mama’s Italian
Runner Up: The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Prime ribeye at Little Mama’s. (Photo by Remy Thurston)

BEST STEELE CREEK RESTAURANT

Winner: Sabor Latin Street Grill
Runner Up: Mac’s Speed Shop

 

BEST UNIVERSITY CITY RESTAURANT

Winner: Boardwalk Billy’s
Runner Up: Passage to India Indian Cuisine

 

BEST UPTOWN RESTAURANT

Winner: Alexander Michael’s
Runner Up: Fin & Fino

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

BEST WEST CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Pinky’s Westside Grill
Runner Up: LuLu’s Maryland Style Chicken & Seafood

 


BY CONCEPT

 

BEST BAKERY

Winner: Suarez Bakery
Runner Up: Sunflour Baking Company

Suarez Bakery
Suarez Bakery (Photo courtesy of Suarez Bakery)

BEST BARBECUE

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

 

BEST COFFEE SHOP

Winner: Not Just Coffee
Runner Up: Smelly Cat Coffee

 

BEST DELI & MARKET

Winner: Common Market
Runner Up: Rhino Market & Deli

Common Market (Photo by Justin LaFrancois)

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANT

Winner: Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Haymaker

 

BEST FARMERS MARKET

Winner: Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
Runner Up: Kings Drive Farmers Market

 

BEST FOOD TRUCK

Winner: What The Fries
Runner Up: Tin Kitchen

Greg Williams and Jamie Barnes of What the Fries. (Photo by Peter Taylor Photography)

BEST GOURMET/SPECIALTY FOOD STORE

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

 

BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE

Winner: Earth Fare
Runner Up: Berrybrook Farm Natural Foods

 

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP

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

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FOOD STORE

Winner: Super G Mart Charlotte
Runner Up: Compare Foods Supermarket

 

BEST JUICE BAR

Winner: Green Brothers Juice Co.
Runner Up: Clean Juice

 

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Winner: Sea Level NC
Runner Up: Fin & Fino

 

BEST SOUL FOOD

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

 

BEST STEAKHOUSE

Winner: Beef ‘N Bottle Steakhouse
Runner Up: Steak 48

 

BEST TAPAS & SHAREABLES

Winner: Soul Gastrolounge
Runner Up: Good Food on Montford

Soul Gastrolounge in Plaza Midwood
Soul Gastrolounge in Plaza Midwood (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST VEGAN FOOD

Winner: Oh My Soul
Runner Up: Luna’s Living Kitchen

 


BY DISH

 

BEST BAGELS

Winner: Poppy’s Bagels
Runner Up: Einstein Bros. Bagels

 

BEST BREAKFAST

Winner: Zada Jane’s Corner Cafe
Runner Up: The Original Pancake House

 

BEST BRUNCH

Winner: 300 East
Runner Up: Bistro La Bon

300 East
300 East is located at 300 East Boulevard, hence the name 300 East. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

BEST BURGER

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

 

BEST DESSERT

Winner: Amelie’s French Bakery & Café
Runner Up: Villani’s Bakery

 

BEST DOUGHNUTS

Winner: Duck Donuts
Runner Up: Pepperbox Doughnuts

 

BEST FRENCH FRIES

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

What the Fries
Flaming hot fries by What the Fries (Photo courtesy of WTF)

BEST FROZEN TREAT

Winner: King of Pops
Runner Up: Popbar

 

BEST HANGOVER FIX

Winner: Midnight Diner
Runner Up: Billy Jack’s Shack

 

BEST HOT DOGS

Winner: JJ’s Red Hots
Runner Up: Pinky’s Westside Grill

 

BEST LUNCH

Winner: Rhino Market & Deli
Runner Up: Mama Ricotta’s

 

BEST PHO

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Phở Hoà Noodle Soup

 

BEST PIZZA

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

Sals Pizza Factory
Sals Pizza Factory (Photo by Jayme Johnson)

BEST SANDWICH

Winner: Rhino Market & Deli
Runner Up: Crispy Banh Mi

 

BEST TACOS

Winner: Cabo Fish Taco
Runner Up: Tacos El Nevado

Cabo Fish Taco
Pedestrians sit on a bench in front of Cabo Fish Taco in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST WINGS

Winner: Moosehead Grill
Runner Up: Seoul Food Meat Company

 

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BY CUISINE

 

BEST AFRICAN CUISINE

Winner: Enat Ethiopian Restaurant
Runner Up: Red Sea Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine

Enat Ethiopian
Passport Plate with chicken tibs from Enat Ethiopian Restaurant. (Photo by Kenty Chung)

BEST CARIBBEAN CUISINE

Winner: Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria
Runner Up: Punta Cana Restaurant

Calle Sol
Rocoto from Calle Sol. (Photo by Kenty Chung)

BEST CHINESE CUISINE

Winner: Ma Ma Wok
Runner Up: Baoding Restaurant

 

BEST FRENCH CUISINE

Winner: Bistro La Bon
Runner Up: Cafe Monte French Bakery and Bistro

 

BEST INDIAN CUISINE

Winner: Copper Modern Indian Cuisine
Runner Up: Curry Gate

 

BEST ITALIAN CUISINE

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

Mama Ricotta's
Penne alla vodka from Mama Ricotta’s. (Photo by Remy Thurston)

BEST JAPANESE CUISINE

Winner: New Zealand Cafe
Runner Up: YUME Ramen Sushi & Bar

 

BEST KOREAN CUISINE

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

 

BEST MEXICAN CUISINE

Winner: Three Amigos
Runner Up: Paco’s Tacos and Tequila

 

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 SUSHI

Winner: New Zealand Cafe
Runner Up: Ru San’s

 

BEST THAI CUISINE

Winner: Deejai Thai Restaurant
Runner Up: Thai Taste

 

BEST VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Phở Hoà Noodle Soup

 


BY THE LOOK & FEEL

 

BEST CHEF

Winner: Greg Collier – Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Christa Csoka – The Artisan’s Palate

 

BEST LATE-NIGHT EATERY

Winner: Midnight Diner
Runner Up: JackBeagle’s

 

BEST PATIO

Winner: NoDa Company Store
Runner Up: Edge City Brewery

 

BEST WAIT STAFF/SERVICE

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Alexander Michael’s

Lang Van
Dan Nguyen has owned Lang Van since 2009. (Photo by Jayme Johnson)


FOR THE LOVE OF ALCOHOL

 

BEST BEER SELECTION

Winner: Salud Cerveceria
Runner Up: Common Market

 

BEST BLOODY MARY

Winner: Moo & Brew – Large Marge
Runner Up: Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen

 

BEST BOTTLE SHOP

Winner: Salud Cerveceria
Runner Up: Common Market

 

BEST BREWERY

Winner: Wooden Robot Brewery
Runner Up: Edge City Brewery

 

BEST COCKTAILS

Winner: Idlewild
Runner Up: Dot Dot Dot

 

BEST COCKTAIL MENU

Winner: Dot Dot Dot
Runner Up: Supperland

Dot Dot Dot
Dot Dot Dot (Photo by Peter Taylor)

BEST DISTILLERY

Winner: Great Wagon Road
Runner Up: Muddy River

Great Wagon Road
Great Wagon Road Distilling (Photo courtesy of Great Wagon Road)

BEST MARGARITAS

Winner: Three Amigos
Runner Up: Superica

 

BEST MOCKTAILS

Winner: NoDa Company Store
Runner Up: Elsewhere

 

BEST NEW BREWERY (LAST 2 YEARS)

Winner: Petty Thieves Brewing Co.
Runner Up: Edge City Brewery

The team at Petty Thieves Brewing
The team at Petty Thieves Brewing (Photo courtesy of Petty Thieves)

BEST NON-ALCOHOLIC MENU

Winner: YAFO Kitchen
Runner Up: The Artisan’s Palate

 

BEST WINE SELECTION

Winner: Dilworth Tasting Room
Runner Up: Rosie’s Wine Garden

 


BY COVID-19 ADAPTATION

 

BEST COCKTAIL KIT

Winner: Haberdish
Runner Up: Dot Dot Dot

 

BEST DELIVERY

Winner: Mama Ricotta’s
Runner Up: Fuel Pizza

 

BEST HEALTH PRACTICES (SOCIAL DISTANCING, ETC.)

Winner: Camp North End
Runner Up: Free Range Brewing

Gama Goat Building
The entrance to the food stalls outside of the newly renovated Gama Goat Building at Camp North End. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

BEST ICONIC RESTAURANT THAT CLOSED

Winner: Price’s Chicken Coop
Runner Up: Zack’s Hamburgers

 

BEST REHEATED FOOD

Winner: Mama Ricotta’s
Runner Up: Midwood Smokehouse

 

BEST TO-GO FOOD

Winner: Mama Ricotta’s
Runner Up: Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen

 


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One Comment

  1. Hi , This is Jackie from NZ cafe. Just wanna say thank you for emailing our reward certificate.
    Have a Happy New year!

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