As more businesses reopen in Charlotte in the next month, employees will return to offices — and that means they’re going to need lunch.
While COVID-19 forced the shutdown of many uptown restaurants while those workers went remote, some new local food spots have opened in their place, serving coffee, pasta, salads and sandwiches.
Of course, some standby favorites such as the Halal Cart and Sandwich Club still sling flavor-filled bites throughout the week, so there’s plenty of options to find your next favorite lunch spot uptown.
From a nostalgic cereal bar to hot fried chicken, these uptown restaurants are open for a midday bite to eat and offer classic comfort food and options out of the ordinary.
The best spots to eat lunch uptown
Location: 303 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: The restaurant inside the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel is open for lunch on weekdays from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Don’t miss the Whipped Ricotta, with lavender honey, lemon oil, pistachios and Italian bread ($12).
How to order: Make reservations for in-person dining, takeout, 704-445-2540
What to know: When Vapiano closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it reopened under a new name: The Bella Ciao. The owner ended the franchise agreement amicably, so you can expect the same food items, plus a few new menu additions — quinoa bowls and spaghetti ice cream sundaes. All pasta, pizza dough, sauces, dressings and desserts are made in-house, so you can grab a fresh Italian meal on your lunch break or stay for dinner.
How to order: Dine-in, delivery, takeout, outdoor patio seating, (704)-332-2440
What to know: The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. weekdays, so you can pick up a Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad ($14) or a Cajun Chicken Sandwich ($10) for lunch. Gluten-free options are available.
How to order: Dine in person, takeout, (704) 332-3188
Location: 201 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: When you want to treat yourself to a fancy lunch, you can pick up a bowl of Lobster Bisque ($14) or a Seared Salmon salad with avocado, mango, tomato and champagne vinaigrette ($21).The restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. weekdays.
How to order: Make reservations to dine in person, takeout, (704) 348-1400
What to know: Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available at this gourmet burger spot that opens at 11 a.m.
Location: 127 Brevard Court, Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: While 2020 bid farewell to Melt in Your Mouth Cupcakes due to COVID-19, Day & Night Exotic Cereal Bar moved into the space, offering sweet breakfast treats for your lunch cravings. The idea initially started as a food truck in Los Angeles and has since expanded into Charlotte. Order a premade bowl, create your own bowl or grab a post-lunch cereal shake. You’ll find everything from Froot Loops to Honey Nut Cheerios, as well as exotic cereals from around the world.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, outdoor patio seating, (980) 298-6006
What to know: Part brewery, part coffee spot, D9 brewing brings fun to both your morning and evenings. Need a midday pick-me-up? Head to the Savoy apartment community on Stonewall Street to order a cup of Javesca Coffee, available from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Expect lattes, cappuccinos and cold brew.
How to order: Dine-in, delivery, curbside pickup, outdoor seating
What to know: Patio seating is available at this upscale spot near the Spectrum Center that opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays. Try the Lamb Kefta with tahini, hummus, red cabbage, grilled tomato, onion and zucchini ($15) or Braised Short Rib flatbread ($14) for a filling lunch.
Location: 330 S. Tryon St., Charlotte NC 28202
What to know: This breakfast and brunch restaurant closes at 1:30 p.m. right now, so plan accordingly.
How to order: In person, takeout, 980-237 8081
Location: 321 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: This Greek-owned spot that’s been serving Charlotte since the 1980s opens at 11 a.m. The menu features daily lunch specials, along with salads, sandwiches and burgers.
How to order: In person, takeout, 704-377-1715
What to know: You’ll find this pizza and salad spot inside 7th Street Public Market, but it’s closed on Monday. You’ll also want to pick up a few cinnamon sugar knots (3 for $3) to save for a mid-afternoon treat.
How to order: Delivery, takeout, 704-900-5202
Location: 601 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Cuisine: brunch, dessert
What to know: This locally owned ice cream shop opens and has the waffle irons cranking at 10 a.m. on weekdays, so you can carry out your fantasy brunch after finishing up your morning meetings.
How to order: In person, delivery, takeout, 980-949-6040
Location: 400 S. Graham St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: You’ll find a menu full of soups, salads, burgers and tacos at the restaurant near Bank of America Stadium, which opens at 11 a.m. Patio seating is available.
How to order: In person, takeout, 980-218-9228
Location: 309 W. 4th St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: Even though the property where Charlotte’s oldest restaurant sits is up for sale, owner Joanna Sikiotis doesn’t plan on going anywhere. It’s open from 7:30 a.m.- 3 p.m., to fulfill all your hot dog and burger cravings.
How to order: In person, takeout, 704-332-1786.
What to know: This Stonewall Station restaurant will take your temperature for COVID-19 safety upon entering. The doors open for lunch at 11:30 a.m., when you can grill your own meats or pick a ready-to-eat set of Beef Sukiyaki Bibimbap ($10.95), Ramen ($10.95) or other options.
Location: 101 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Cuisine: Mediterranean, halal
What to know: The truck opens daily at 11 a.m. to serve up Lamb Gyro ($5.99), Falafel over Rice ($4.99) and more.
How to order: Line up in person or delivery via UberEats.
What to know: This casual spot in Two Wells Fargo is open for breakfast, as well as lunch, and closes at 3 p.m. Expect sandwiches, hot dogs, soup and salads.
Location: 329 S. Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28282
What to know: Though Horace’s hot fried chicken is based on the legendary “hot breakfast revenge,” you can order for delivery or pickup at the Visit Charlotte kiosk in the Wells Fargo Plaza from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. Expect fried chicken, sandwiches, wings and sides. Per the chef, you should order a side of ranch with your wings, and “you gotta try the pickles.”
How to order: Delivery, takeout, 980-579-9284
Location: 301 S. Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28282
Cuisine: Tex Mex
What to know: You’ll find this fast-casual spot under the Two Wells Fargo Atrium, down the escalators and to the right. It opens at 11 a.m. Pro tip: if you’re paying by cash, your burrito lunch will be 50 cents cheaper.
How to order: In person, fax in advance for pickup or 10-person minimum delivery, 704-371-4448
Location: 300 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: Though La Belle Heleneclosed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, The 5th Street Group gave the uptown space a second life. Led by Top Chef alumnus Jamie Lynch, the restaurant underwent some minor cosmetic updates and menu perfection prior to reopening in May 2021. Dine on lunches with Lynch’s twist on classic French cuisine prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
How to order: Dine-in
What to know: The well-known pizza chain opens at 11 a.m. weekdays. In addition to the pies, you’ll find salads, hoagies and sandwiches. Gluten free and vegan options are available.
How to order: In person, curbside pickup, takeout or delivery, 704-371-4725
Location: 214 N. College St.,Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: This staple for Southern comfort food has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” It opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays, and you can pick up family sized meals to feed a group.
Location: 201 W. Trade St., Charlotte NC 28202
What to know: This restaurant inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte features globally inspired flavors. Business casual dress is required.
How to order: Reservations are encouraged to dine in, 980-999-5550
Location: 128 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: Invite your favorite coworkers for a quick uptown lunch escape to MOA, a new Korean BBQ restaurant at the corner of South Tryon and West 4th streets. Lunch menu items include lunch boxes (protein, vegetables, stir-fried white rice, fried tofu roll, Mandoo and choice of soup or salad), bulgogi, bibimbap and Japchae. MOA will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, 704-503-9412
Location: 210 E. Trade St., Charlotte NC 28202
What to know: Expect to find standard diner fare at this restaurant located in the Epicentre. It’s open 24-7.
How to order: Dine in or takeout, 980-585-2867
What to know: You’ll find hibachi and sushi selections at this restaurant that’s closed Mondays. The rest of the work week, it opens at 11 a.m.
How to order: In person, takeout, 980-819-8837
Location: 150 N. College St., Charlotte, NC 28202
What to know: This locally owned restaurant featuring wood-fired cooking is closed on Monday, but you can stop in to grab lunch or pick some up starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Location: 435 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC, 28202
What to know: This fast-casual restaurant inside The Green is open weekdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and has seasonal specials.
What to know: The scratch-made comfort-food restaurant that serves brunch all day at Bank of America Plaza opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays. Street parking and nearby parking garages are available.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, 980-270-7268
What to know: After grabbing lunch at the Latta Arcade or in the French Quarter, you can now also get a caffeinated beverage from the nearby Waterbean Coffee (in the space formerly occupied by Parliament Espresso & Coffee Shop) to get you through the afternoon. This location, which is the eighth — and largest — for the brand, offers espresso, lattes and more.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, outdoor patio seating, 980-355-0513
New Uptown restaurants coming soon
Employees who work uptown can also look forward to new restaurants, coming soon, which will service French and global cuisine.
Location: 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
In December 2020, Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth closed its doors. The Mother Earth Group plans to reopen a new French fast-casual restaurant uptown in 2022.
Location: 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Spanish for butterfly, Mariposa represents evolution and will be based on creator Jill Marcus’ travels. This multicultural culinaria will serve mezze — or small shareable plates — including ceviche aguachile, piri piri chicken and gulluh paella.
Did we miss a spot? Let us know at [email protected]