Food & Drink

Here’s what’s missing from Eater.com’s list of 22 ‘must-visit’ N.C. restaurants

Eater.com could surely find a little food worth eating in a city this size, couldn’t they?
Eater.com could surely find a little food worth eating in a city this size, couldn’t they? Observer files

Dear Eater.com:

We were so excited to see your June 13 headline, “Road-Tripping North Carolina: The 22 Must-Visit Restaurants.”

After all, Eater.com is known for its award-winning restaurant coverage. And yes, it’s true, we here in Charlotte can sometimes feel the sting of being dismissed as just the banking city, a place no more than the sum of its skyline.

We thought things were starting to change, though. With the Southern Foodways Alliance bringing its summer symposium to Charlotte June 22-24, and with more national attention being paid by Charlotte-area restaurants like Kindred, Heirloom, Heritage, Stoke and The Asbury, we thought maybe we were starting to have a restaurant scene that actually earns the name “scene” from national reports.

But to be a scene, you have to be seen. And apparently, Eater.com, that’s not to be. One look at the map with the story shows that while Eater.com’s writers did find 22 restaurants that met their approval, the path through our state sticks as close to the Virginia border as a shy child to a mother’s hem.

The route travels through Asheville to Lexington (for barbecue, of course), then through Durham and Raleigh, dips down to Kinston for the Chef & the Farmer (always worthy of attention) before ending in Ayden (for more barbecue, of course).

Oddly, despite the article’s claim that the motivation was to see if North Carolina “has evolved far beyond barbecue,” five of the 22 restaurants, or just shy of a quarter, are barbecue restaurants. And while the map includes 10 cities and towns, one city is conspicuously absent:

Charlotte.

Largest city in the state. Home of the biggest airport in North Carolina. (How did you get here, Eater.com? Did you run straight to the rental-car counter and make a beeline out of town? You couldn’t stop for lunch? A snack? Ovaltine?)

And so while we are in complete agreement with writer Bill Addison‘s opening statement, “For the food-obsessed, I wager that no Southern road trip itinerary brings more pleasure than a west-to-east trek across North Carolina,” we also feel a little ... lonely.

The article posted this week apparently is based on a trip Addison made in 2015. We had hoped that in two years, maybe Charlotte had gotten a little more worthy of attention. Alas, no.

Come back, Eater.com. Come and see Charlotte. Drive out to Waxhaw for Heritage, fight for a parking space in NoDa for Haberdish, jump in the line for Price’s Chicken Coop, grab a pizza at Alino in Mooresville on your way to – yes, yes – Kindred in Davidson.

We’ll leave a light on for you. We’re easy to spot: Just check your own map for the biggest blank spot.

Love, Kathleen.

Kathleen Purvis: 704-358-5236, @kathleenpurvis

  Comments