This is the list that no one asked for but we’re here for it anyways because we want you to know about these good eats made by some amazing folks. We’ve always been about eating local and have mad love for all cuisines and all ranges of dining experiences, and we didn’t let 2020 stop us from continuing to do so–as safely as we possibly could, of course! We definitely ate our way through the Queen City to show our support for our community; and while we had so many great meals to choose from, we each picked our top FIVE bites of 2020 in CLT. These are each of our personal lists so while we’re prepared to hear it…don’t @ us. LOL.
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@CLT.Remedy) to check out what we’re currently eating!
First up: Manny’s list (and ‘in no particular order’, he says!)
- Heirloom Restaurant – Our friends, Karen and Adam of @appetiteandadventure, invited us to join some friends for a tasting menu at Heirloom Restaurant. We have always loved what Chef Clark Barlowe built in HR and so glad to see that his vision continues on even without him. The Mushroom Bisque with grilled cheese was amazing and the star of the tasting menu that evening.
- Sun’s Kitchen – Get your noods & dim sum more fix at this ghost kitchen from City Kitch. We absolutely have enjoyed everything we’ve had from Sun’s Kitchen but this Hot & Dry Noodle is the clear winner for Manny.
- Bardo Restaurant – Who does a complete rebrand in the middle of a pandemic?!? Chef Michael Noll and the team behind Bardo does because that’s just how innovative they are. We enjoyed one of their tasting menus and the Reinvented Vietnamese Banh Mi was Manny’s pick of the night.
- Jon G’s BBQ – Brisket & links are a must! [Yes, it’s not quite CLT but when Manny first had it at the beginning of 2020, Amanda of @LocalCarolinas introduced it to us at a CLT brewery–so they count as a CLT bite. They’re definitely worth the roadtrip to Peachland though for sure! Pro-tip: the brisket. You’re welcome.]
- Jimmy Pearls – Uncle Gene’s Fish Sandwich [need we say more–just look at it!]. The guys behind Jimmy Pearls are ending their ‘residency’ at 7th Street Public Market soon but we bet they’ll be coming back even bigger and better when they do! Follow their page to get up to date information on where they will pop back in next!
- Cibi Cibi Food Truck – So this is sort of not in the 704 but we can’t not include this HOT CHICKEN SANDO. It’s not just @Kenty_Eats approved, it’s Kenty_Eats ENDORSED! If you think you can handle the heat and you’ve been looking for a true hot chicken sandwich, then you’ve got to check out Cibi Cibi!
- Sea Level – This Fish Taco is inspired and true 🔥. Love the spice and the wonton taco shell! That’s one of the things we love about Sea Level–their seafood game is always changing with the seasons and you can tell they are always working with the best ingredients.
- Roof Top 21 – Chef Dave Feimster decided to spread some ‘aloha’ in the streets and opened up a food truck as an offshoot from Fahrenheit, and this chicken katsu sandwich was a winner! (Note: They did say spicy but we didn’t think it was–BUT the crispy chicken and all of the toppings more than made up for it. We just always kept telling ourselves that it was a katsu chicken sandwich!)
- Artisan’s Palate – Hands down, AP is the most underrated spot in the QC, but we know it won’t stay that way for much longer. Their kitchen and cocktail program is so well-traveled and intentional that honestly, it’s more than just a meal. Dining at AP is an experience–with an art gallery to peruse too after you dine. The Smoked Salmon Board is absolutely one of THE best brunch items in CLT!
- Haymaker – So, yes. Shawn loves chicken sandwiches and this Billy D’s Fried Chicken Sandwich is GO-OO-OOOD! I mean, just look at it. No, actually–just go. Go and get you some.
- Vana – Oh. Em. Pork cheeks: this was life. That’s all. No other explanation needed.
- Honey Bear Bakeshop – Hannah is a magician pretending to be a baker and her s’mores cookies is 🥳 🎉🎊. [While the lists are not ranked: K does say the s’mores cookie is her absolute best bite of 2020, bar none!] If you live in Charlotte and have somehow managed not to snag one of these sweet treats, we don’t know how you’ve done it, but you’ve been warned! Once you go HBB, you won’t go back!
- Your Farms Your Table – We absolutely could do without the word ‘pivot’ in our vocabulary going forward, but Chef Sam Diminich has absolutely earned the Best Pivot Award of 2020 if there ever was one. Chef Sam isn’t just a chef–he is a warrior of all sorts fighting for his community. He’s a voice for many with his efforts through YFYT and Ben’s Friends. One of his collab dinners with Chef Chris Coleman from Goodyear House gave us this COFFEE RUBBED LAMB. That whole dinner was so amazing (even as we got it for takeout) but there was something about the smoked onion and the sweet & sour pine nuts that lands this dish on K’s list!
- What the Fries CLT – Guess they don’t call it Yum Yum sauce for nothin’. Drizzled all over their chicken sandwich–boy is it truly YUMMMMY! We only wish the truck would come closer to us but eagerly anticipate their 2021 brick and mortar spot that we plan on frequenting!
- Ding Tea – obviously, Ding Tea was going to make K’s list especially with their Taro Boba Ice Cream. We may not have made it to NYC in 2020, but this brown sugar boba all over this taro soft serve was 💯 and gave us the NYC fix we desperately needed.
What was your fave bite of 2020? With so many options around the Queen City, we know it’s hard to pick but that’s a great problem to have. We are so excited to see Charlotte’s food scene grow and see so many creative chefs just show us what they’ve got. To many more food adventures!
Disclaimer: While some of these meals were comped or discounted, the fact that they were provided to us by the businesses did NOT affect their ability to be included in this list. Again, these were are PERSONAL favorite bites of 2020. To see many other CLT bites, check out our Instagram feed on @cltremedy