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.
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:
Restaurant: Beasly’s Chicken + Honey
Location: 237 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601
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.
Restaurant: Sister Liu’s Kitchen
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.
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
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
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.
Restaurant: Northern Lights Bakery and Coffee
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
City: Greenville, South Carolina
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.
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
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.