No one likes to plan date night. No one.
But we can all agree they’re important. Whether meeting someone for the first time, reconnecting with your sweetheart or sharing an evening out with your couple friends, a night on the town helps build and maintain lasting relationships.
Also, date nights are (usually) fun.
Instead of the cliche “Charlotte” date (we see you, South End brewery date), opt for a foodie-focused evening in Plaza Midwood. There’s something for everyone — no matter who you’re making eyes at.
Check out our recommendations below for five types of dates.
The First Date
First dates are intimidating, but good food can make for easy conversation. Ditch the Lady and the Tramp fantasy of a romantic spaghetti dinner and head to Moo & Brew for a burger and a beer instead. There, you can start by sharing the Bavarian pretzels with house-made brew cheese ($8), paired with a couple of cold bevs.
Then order a burger: We suggest the Moo & Brew Burger (brew-braised onions, brew chili, brew cheese and yellow mustard, $11) or the Farmer’s Daughter (farm egg, peppered applewood bacon, cheddar, tomato, bib lettuce, Moo & Brew sauce, $12). These handheld classics help you avoid the awkward “which fork do I use” stress and cut straight to the chase.
If fast-casual burgers aren’t your thing, consider ordering an Instagram-famous roll from Sushi Guru. The new Plaza Midwood location offers the same selections as its sister spot in SouthPark, but also adds Asian fusion dishes and poke bowls.
Try one of the unique flaming rolls like the D’Commonwealth Roll (flamed spicy tuna, avocado, lump crab, Guru aioli, sweet soy, jalapeño, $15) or a signature poke bowl like the Hawaiian Ahi Bowl (tuna, masago, shallots, pineapple, cilantro, macadamia nuts, sesame kimchi sauce, $14).
The Healthy Date
If you’re watching what you eat, there are plenty of eateries in the neighborhood that will have you leaving feeling good about yourself. For fresh bites coupled with a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, head to The Common Market.
Sample a crisp salad like the Scoop Salad (choose scoops of chicken, tuna, hummus, tabouleh or egg salad over mixed greens with tomato, cucumber and carrots, $6.75+) or a popular sandwich like The Olympian (turkey, feta cheese, olive tapenade, red onion, green pepper, tomato, lettuce, $8.25). Then, take a freshly prepared juice from the Juice Bar for the road.
Or, head to Coaltrane’s, a South-American-inspired rotisserie and char grill, for local chicken, stuffed avocados, and other scratch-made items. Start with a stuffed avocado (wide rice, quinoa, queso fresco, red peppers, salsa roja, $7.99) then order a Fresco Bowl (pulled rotisserie chicken, black beans, avocado, arugula, shaved carrots, pickled red onion, queso fresco, quinoa, wild rice, $9.50).
The Double Date
So you’ve finally matched schedules with your favorite couple friends, and Plaza Midwood is where you’ve agreed to meet. Try Pure Pizza, a crowd favorite with classic, specialty, gluten-free and vegetarian options to suit everyone in your party. Order some to share, like the “She-Rex” (mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, peppers, greens, lemon vinaigrette, $12+) or the Pepperoni Supreme (tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, pickled red onions, pepperoncini, garlic slices, $12+).
If the group is craving a down-home barbecue meal, head to the original Midwood Smokehouse location, serving up smoked favorites in a cozy setting. Get the pimento cheese fries to share ($6+), then try a classic BBQ plate like the Burnt Ends (brisket topped in cola BBQ sauce, served with a side of hushpuppies and choice of side, $14.50+).
The Date for Drinks
If you’re forgoing food altogether for drinks, start the night at Thomas Street Tavern, known for its patio ping-pong, corn hole and super chill vibe. Beers on tap ($4.50) include local favorites such as NoDa Jam Session, Triple C IPA and OMB Copper.
After saying hey to all your friends at Thomas Street, move on to enjoy a (brief) brewery tour. Legion Brewing’s live music and seasonal craft beer set the tone for a crisp fall evening on the patio, while Pilot Brewing Co. is known for its small-batch beers and unique selections like the “Keeping IT Calder Cream Ale” prepped in collaboration with the Charlotte Checkers.
If you’re craving a cocktail, The Workman’s Friend offers a selection of $10 cocktails. Try the “Evelyn” (watermelon-basil-infused tequila, jalapeno agave, fresh lime, fresh orange juice) for an explosion of flavors.
The Dessert Date
A dessert date never goes out of style. Consider stopping by Two Scoops Creamery’s original location for a unique scoop of ice cream with a vibrant mural backdrop. The crowd favorite — Cookie Monster — will turn your tongue blue and make for a memorable evening of laughter and fun.
Or, head to The Diamond, an old-fashioned diner in operation since 1945, for a homemade, Southern-style dessert. Its celebrated pie slices are only $4.50, so you and your date can order a bunch to share (options include peach cobbler, pecan pie and apple pie).
Bonus: Experience Midwood is offering a selection of discounts at local businesses through Oct. 31 for $35 (think: free pints and half-off apps). Grab one of the booklets here before your night out.