My Top 5 Restaurants In Charlotte

The coronavirus pandemic has nearly killed the restaurant industry, with one in every four jobs lost being in food and beverage services. (1) Now, more than ever, local restaurants in Charlotte need our support to stay open and operating. Although you may not be comfortable going out to eat during COVID, there are still plenty of places offering takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery. 

Here are my top 6 restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina, I recommend adding to your list: 

1.) Lang Van

Lang Van is a little Vietnamese spot that’s the very heart and soul of Charlotte. This hole-in-the-wall joint has been around since the 1990s and thrives on word of mouth recommendations. The menu is extensive, offering up Vietnamese classics like pho, spring rolls, and fried tofu with ginger. My personal favorite is the vermicelli with grilled chicken (Bun Ga Nuong).

Lang Van’s owner, Dan Nguyen, almost had to shut its doors at the start of the pandemic, but the Charlotte community rallied together and raised over $60,000 on GoFundMe to keep it afloat. 

2.) Yafo Kitchen

Yafo Kitchen serves up mouthwatering Mediterranean street food that’s unlike any other in Charlotte. You can customize your meal by building your own salad, laffah wrap, hummus bowl, or grain bowl. Or try their signature rotisserie chicken with hummus and potatoes, Moroccan chicken tagine, or Arayes (Lebanese hot pocket). I’ve been here countless times and have yet to try something that isn’t absolutely incredible.

3.) Yume

No sense in choosing between sushi or ramen for dinner—you can have both at Yume, an upscale bar and eatery in Charlotte’s South End. Among its popular dishes are flavorful tonkotsu ramen, Thai coconut curry ramen, and a variety of unique and flavorful sushi rolls you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a ramen and sushi lover’s paradise. 

4.) Optimist Hall 

Optimist Hall is a food hall chock-full of small restaurants and specialty shops. It’s located in a cool converted warehouse with tons of (socially distanced) seating. You’ll find everything from authentic Italian and Asian street fare favorites to Indian food and modern Mexican cantinas. It’s easily the most unique spot to grab food in Charlotte.  

My family usually hits up Optimist Hall when we can’t agree on one place to order from.  Because of all the space between tables (inside and out), we feel comfortable eating there and will often bring some cards or board games to play as a family.

5.) World-Famous Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen has been serving up Italian and Greek fare on Charlotte’s west side since 1952—for nearly 70 years! It got its claim to fame as the first restaurant to introduce Charlotte to the original pizza pie. Can you imagine?!

It offers an extensive menu of pizzas, pastas, and classic Italian items, but perhaps its most popular dishes are the lasagna, chicken parmesan, and classic spaghetti and meatballs. You can’t go wrong. If you happen to pop into the World-Famous Open Kitchen, be sure to marvel at all the old memorabilia on the walls and ceiling. It speaks to just how long this gem has been around. 

6.) Rusty’s Deli

Rusty’s Deli is my go-to for a quick bite to eat at lunch. It’s two miles from my office and serves up delicious cheeseburgers and cold cuts. It’s been in business for 37+ years and was voted Best Sandwich Shop in Charlotte in 2015. Rusty’s is offering take-out and curbside delivery during COVID. They also have outdoor seating if you want to dine in. 

Want More Suggestions?

Whether you’d like to talk about food or finances, we at Calamita Wealth Management are here for you. We specialize in financial planning for diligent savers over the age of 50 who want to take the uncertainty out of when they can retire. If that sounds like you, schedule an introductory phone call using our online calendar or reach out to us at (704) 276-7325 or We’d love to chat.

About Todd

Todd Calamita is the founder and managing principal of Calamita Wealth Management, an independent, fee-only wealth management company that focuses on providing wealth management solutions to affluent individuals over 50 and their families. Todd has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is passionate about helping people have a better life by designing and implementing customized financial plans that bring clarity and confidence. Todd is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™(CFP®) and CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST® (CDFA®) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ohio University and a Master of Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He has authored a book, Plan Smart: Conquering 10 Common Money Traps, as well as numerous articles on wide-ranging personal finance topics, from taxes to retirement accounts. He has also been featured in a Financial Boot Camp TV series as a volunteer showing people how to make smart decisions about their money. When he’s not working, you can find Todd spending time with his wife, Teresa, and their two sons, Colin and Cameron. He enjoys rock climbing, swimming and traveling, and he has a black belt in Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art. To learn more about Todd, connect with him on LinkedIn.




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