Food & Drink

Where do Charlotte chefs go for the best late-night eats?

Moosehead Grill, owned by Donnie Anderson and Chris Neilsen, is a favorite with a couple of chefs for Uncle Donnie’s Famous Blackened Wings.
Moosehead Grill, owned by Donnie Anderson and Chris Neilsen, is a favorite with a couple of chefs for Uncle Donnie’s Famous Blackened Wings. Staff Photographer

It’s true that Charlotte isn’t “the city that never sleeps.” New York still has that trophy. But we do stay up late. And when we do, we need a late-night nosh.

What’s the best game plan when you need food in the wee hours? No one knows better than chefs, who usually work late hours making sure the rest of us get fed.

We asked six chefs where they go and what they order when they get off late and hungry: Jamie Barnes of What the Fries and a co-founder of the Soul Food Sessions pop-up dinners; Amanda Britton, bar manager of Bardo; Shai Fargian, executive director of YAFO Kitchen; Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin; Kel Minton of Soul Gastrolounge; and Alex Verica, assistant chef at The Stanley. The biggest surprise? No one named Midnight Diner (it’s open until 4:30 a.m., after all). What did they pick?

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The Diamond, 1901 Commonwealth Ave. The winner for the latest sit-down hours: It closes at 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, but on Friday and Saturday, it stays open until 3 a.m. Giancarlo goes with the Diamond in the Rough (a waffle sandwich with scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese). Minton picks the waffle sandwich, too, with livermush instead of bacon. “My normal day starts at 2 p.m. after falling asleep around 6 a.m. It makes me feel semi-normal eating breakfast.”

The Halal Food Cart at Trade and Tryon streets uptown. Barnes goes with “lamb over rice, with extra white sauce!” Khuram Bashir of Mi Barrio, who owns the cart, says it stays open until at least midnight every night, but on Friday and Saturdays, it’s open much later, sometimes until 5:30 a.m.

Leroy Fox. The original, at 705 S. Sharon Amity Road, is open until midnight Sunday-Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, but the South End location, 1616 Camden Road, keeps later hours: Until midnight Sunday-Wednesday, 1 a.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Fargian heads there for late-night fried chicken.

Moo & Brew, 1300 Central Ave. Fargian picks it for burgers. It’s open until midnight Sunday-Thursday, and 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

Moosehead Grill, 1807 Montford Drive. Open until 2 a.m. every night. Britton and Verica both picked it, for the same order: Uncle Donnie’s Famous Blackened Wings. “Never not good,” says Britton. Verica likes the Reuben, too. “And they have cheap PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon).”

Roasting Co. The original, at 1521 Montford Drive, is open until midnight Sunday-Tuesday, but the 1332 Central Ave. location stays open until 2 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Giancarlo’s pick: The Jaco Pork Sandwich (with extra sauce).

Late night Kel
Kel Minton of Soul Gastrolounge Justin Smith

Soul Gastrolounge, 1500 Central Ave. Open until 2 a..m. every night, but they stop serving food at midnight. Giancarlo goes for the veal sticky ribs and pork belly tacos, and “whatever special sushi roll they are rocking that night.”

Thomas Street Tavern, 1218 Thomas Ave. It stays open until 2 a.m. every night. Giancarlo’s pick for “quick and affordable” are the dry-rub wings.

Kathleen Purvis; 704-358-5236.