Around Town

9 popular eateries from the Uptown area that have expanded to the ‘burbs

Courtesy of Cantina 1511
Courtesy of Cantina 1511

This piece was first published in Jan. 2016 and was updated in Jan. 2018.

It all seemed to start with Cantina 1511. The prized East Boulevard fiesta of flavors expanded to a location at StoneCrest by 2006. I was a teenager living at my parents’ house in Piper Glen and I was overjoyed. At last, my Myers Park/Dilworth friends could come eat at our favorite restaurant on MY side of town. Gone was the constant need for me to truck toward the city to satisfy cravings for tostada salads, copious quantities of chips and guac, and nutella pie.

Here are 8 other popular eateries from the Uptown area that have expanded to south Charlotte’s ‘burbs, for your dining pleasure:

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar 

The first location of this casual burger mecca opened on East Boulevard in 2007 before expanding to the Ballantyne edge of town — five locations were opened by 2012. Black bean burgers for all!

Come here for: “Non-burgers” like the Chicken Club and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, a variety of salads, burgers like the Bad Ass Burger topped with buttermilk fried bacon and American cheese, and crispy sweet potato fries.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

The first Brixx opened in 1998 at the corner of East Boulevard and Scott Avenue, only to spread to 29 other locations, Blakeney shopping center included.

Come for: Classic pizzas like the Americo, veggie pizzas like the Quattro Formaggio, and Sunday brunch pizzas like the Italian Sausage Omelette Pizza. Wraps and salads are light, fresh options, too.

JJ’s Red Hots

This family-friendly hot dog joint first opened on East Boulevard (is there something in the water on this street?) before expanding to Ballantyne in 2013, not to mention Uptown in 2018.

Come for: Signature dogs like the JJ’s “No. 1” Red Hot (with hot relish, onion, mustard and a dill pickle spear) and the Char Heel (with chili, slaw, onion and mustard), veggie dogs, turkey dogs, sausages and fun salads (the Sonoron Salad is quite hearty).

Libretto’s Pizzeria

First opened in the EpiCentre in 2009, Libretto’s, an Italian kitchen that boasts authentic NYC pizza) has since expanded to locations like ParkTowne and Ballantyne.

Come for: Antipasti items like Mozzarella Frites and Eggplant Rollatoni, salads like Caprese and Tuscan Chopped, and specialty pizzas like the Harvest (with spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, roasted peppers, olives and tomato) and the Il Diavolo (with pepperoni, spicy sausage, jalapeno peppers and roasted garlic).

Viva Chicken

This Peruvian hotspot first opened on Elizabeth Avenue before expanding to Toringdon Circle Shopping Center, Waverly and beyond.

Come here for: Mountainous salads (try the Limena Chopped salad), the quinoa stuffed avocado, crispy yuca fries with queso fresco sauce, pulled rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, wraps and the creamiest array of sauces.

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Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse

This space actually originated in Mooresville before moving to Park Road and Uptown. And while the newer Duckworth’s at Ballantyne may not have The Cellar that Uptown does, it’s still a place that serves pizza and fajitas under one roof.

Come for: Burgers (from veggie burgers to hamburgers), beer (with plenty of Charlotte-based options), and crispy Mommoo’s Wings (with 17 different ingredients).

Midwood Smokehouse

The philosophy behind this Texas-style BBQ spot: “Barbecue is much more than a good meal in Texas, it’s a way of life,” Frank Scibelli, FS Food Group CEO, has previously said. That way of life now stretches from Plaza Midwood to Ballantyne to Columbia, SC.

Come for: The classic BBQ plates like the Carolina Pork and the Beef Brisket, and a side of smoked veggies and mac & cheese. Salad lovers can indulge in options like the Midwood Chopped (with smoked corn, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, carrots, cucumbers and cheddar on Romaine).


This NoDa establishment hits the sweet spot in south Charlotte with its salted caramel brownies and creamy coffees. Not to mention the wine and beer.

Come for: A seasonal selection of soups and salads (hello, Pumpkin Bisque and Apple, Bacon and Candied Pecan salad), tartines, macarons, coffees and beyond.


Photos: Charlotte Observer, Katie Toussaint