Food & Drink

Charlotte's Best Restaurants Are Cooking Thanksgiving So You Don't Have To

Published On 11/16/2016

Passion8

Elizabeth

This popular, farm-to-table restaurant takes it above and beyond when it comes to holiday dishes -- the creative flavor combinations found on Passion8’s three-course Thanksgiving menu will leave you wanting more, no matter how full your stomach is. Opt for a mouthwatering first course of acorn squash shrimp grits or beet gnocchi before digging into your entrée of choice (options include local turkey with brown butter gravy or a breaded pork chop with apricot bacon stuffing). An array of additional family-style sides are included, but just make sure to leave room for Passion8’s one-of-a-kind sweets like the peanut butter & jelly cheesecake or pumpkin chocolate chip bread pudding.

Price: $42/adult; free for children under 8
Hours: 2pm - 8 pm; call 704-910-3161 for reservations.

The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille

Uptown

The Capital Grille is no stranger to quality meats, and this year they’ve got slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing. Thanksgiving dinner here comes with French green beans and cranberry pear chutney, as well as mashed potatoes to share and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. For those at your table not as thankful for turkey, no need to force it -- the full a la carte menu of steaks and seafood also offers plenty of delicious options.

Price: $38/adult; $15 thanksgiving children’s menu
Hours: 11am - 9pm; make reservations here.

Upstream Seafood

Upstream

South Park

Upstream is one of the best seafood restaurants in Charlotte, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cook up a mean bird for a turkey day display. In addition to the impressive sushi and shellfish bar, the restaurant will supply you with a whole roasted organic turkey and slow roasted prime rib offerings. Don’t even get us started on the side selection -- with more than 20 hot and cold accompaniments to choose from (deviled eggs, cornbread and duck sausage stuffing, and acorn squash, just to name a few), you’ll be lucky if you can manage a mosey over to the dessert and gelato bar when you’re done with your main meal. If you can, however, make sure to try a bite of the chef’s made-to-order bananas Foster.

Price: $39.95/adult, $19.95 for children 12 and under
Hours: 11am - 4pm; call 704-556-7730 for reservations.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

South Park

In addition to its exceptional regular menu, Del Frisco’s is offering a three-course prix-fixe menu for Thanksgiving. This steakhouse will be serving your pick of a seasonal soup or holiday salad to start, a slow-roasted turkey breast with all the traditional trimmings for an entrée, and your dessert selection of either pumpkin cheesecake or pecan pie. We recommend making use of Del Frisco’s expert sommeliers to pick out the perfect pairing from the restaurant’s extensive wine list.

Price: $49/person; $12 for a children’s turkey dinner
Hours: 12pm - 8pm; make reservations here or call or 704-552-5502

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Uptown

The four-course dinner at Fleming’s includes a shared amuse-bouche for the table, your choice of salad or soup, and a mixed herb roasted turkey breast with turkey gravy, housemade stuffing, butter-mashed sweet potatoes and green beans with bacon, almonds, and onion. Of course, you’ll get your pick of a seasonal dessert. It will all be dished out with exceptional hospitality and a collection of 100 wines by the glass to choose from. Fleming’s convenient Uptown location makes it even easier to hit up a bar on your way out the door to drag out the holiday festivities even longer.

Price: $39.95/adult, $19.95 children’s Thanksgiving menu
Hours: Starting at 11am; reservations may be made here.

Maggiano's Little Italy - Official Page

Maggiano’s Little Italy

South Park

Italian dinners are all about bringing the family together, and Thanksgiving is no different at Maggiano’s. This Italian-American favorite features a memorable family-style menu that is sure to please your entire household with its variations and serving sizes. After a first course plate of assorted bruschetta, your group will gather around their choice of two different salads, two types of proteins, two side dishes, two pasta plates, and two to-die-for desserts. The only battle will be trying to narrow it down between all the incredible options available. If you’d rather enjoy Maggiano’s comfort food from the courtesy of your own home, you can arrange a Thanksgiving carryout package if you place the order by November 21st.

Price: $39.95/person
Hours: 11am - 6:45pm; make a reservation here.

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Uptown & South Park

Ruth’s Chris is your answer for a reliable and satisfying traditional turkey dinner among a high-class dining environment. The special three-course menu served on Thanksgiving will certainly not disappoint, with sausage and herb stuffing, homemade gravy and cranberry relish complementing your recently de-feathered friend. Your choice of starter and sides like sweet potato casserole or creamed spinach round out the perfect plate. Finish up with the ultimate fall favorite of pumpkin cheesecake with vanilla ice cream before you call it a night.

Price: $39.95/adult; $12.95 children’s menu
Hours: Starting at noon; reservations can be made here.

Bistro La Bon

Plaza Midwood

Known for featuring locally sourced dishes with international influences, Bistro La Bon is tucked amid a Central Ave strip mall and is an under-the-radar holiday spot that should top your must-try list. There’s something for everyone when it comes to the Thanksgiving buffet of this beloved neighborhood eatery. Choose from a large array of oven-cooked favorites like roasted turkey and brioche stuffing, as well as cold selections like beet and apple salad or grilled asparagus salad and a dessert spread consisting of pastries, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and more. Act fast, though; this small, vintage space will fill up quickly.

Price: $35/adult; $12 children 12 and under
Hours: 10am - 6pm; make reservations here.

Sullivan's Steakhouse - Charlotte

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

South End

We expect nothing short of success when this South End steakhouse brings its carnivore skills to holiday scene. Sullivan’s fixed menu for Thanksgiving includes sweet onion apple-sage stuffing and cranberry relish, alongside its hand-carved turkey. Sullivan’s will also offer sides such as garlic horseradish mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole with a pecan crust, and sweet finales like chocolate pecan pie and bananas Foster bread pudding.

Price: $39/adult; $17.95 for children under 12
Hours: 12pm - 8pm; make a reservation here, or call 704-335-8228

New South Kitchen & Bar

The Arboretum

Get your hands on a Southern-inspired smorgasbord here at this casual, contemporary spot that includes, you guessed it, a deep fried turkey. The Lowcountry contribution doesn’t stop there -- this Thanksgiving buffet features rosemary crusted rib roast, sweet tea brined pork loin, sausage and cornbread stuffing, mac & cheese, and collards for your feasting. Oh, and did we mention there’s a bourbon-soaked bread pudding?

Price: $35/person
Hours: 11am - 7pm, reservations can be made here.

The Palm Restaurant

Palm Restaurant

South Park

Eat Thanksgiving dinner out in style this year at this chic South Park steakhouse. The special three-course prix-fixe menu features a main course of slow-roasted, hand-carved turkey with all the fixings and your choice of an individual portion side. The goat cheese whipped mashed potatoes and charred Brussels sprouts with lemon brown butter both sound like winners as they offer up unique twists to traditional fall favorites. It’s no doubt you’ll feel pampered by the time you head back home -- a welcomed feeling on a holiday that can so easily leave you cursing the craft of cooking.

Price: $55/adult; $24 for children under 12
Hours: 2pm - 7pm; make reservations here.

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

BLT Steak

Uptown

Appetizer choices like butternut squash soup are up for grabs to start off this quality three-course prix-fixe meal within the renowned Ritz-Carlton hotel -- a host that will extend much-deserved indulgence for your holiday out of the house. Choose between seared Scottish salmon or roasted prime rib for your main course, or opt for a more traditional dinner of roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing. Side dishes like Brussels sprouts, glazed carrots, and mashed potatoes are served up family style at your table, and decadent dessert options of warm apple crisp, pumpkin cheesecake, or caramel pecan pie will be awaiting your sweet tooth. We recommend stopping by Hidden Wine on your way out of the hotel to grab a bottle to go -- you’ll most likely need it to endure the ongoing family festivities still in store at home.

Price: $75/person
Hours: 3pm - 6pm; reservations can be made here. (Last reservation is at 5:30pm.)

Courtesy of The Liberty

The Liberty

South End

This is The Liberty’s Eighth Annual Thanksgiving feast, and Charlotteans have come to rely on The Liberty as a great option for holiday feasts. Casual and comfortable, this South End gastropub offers up an ideal atmosphere for a family outing.  Start off with a starter course of Crispy Fried Bluepoint Oyster Salad or Roasted Pumpkin Gnocchi, then fill yourself up with Heritage Bronze Turkey or Cedar Plank Roasted Wild Salmon. Finish your scrumptious feast with a treat (you deserve it) like Pecan Pie Bread Pudding or Salted Caramel Budino.

Price: $35/adult; $12 for kids under 10
Hours: 12pm - 8pm; reservations can be made here.

Stoke Charlotte

Stoke

Uptown

This rave-worthy restaurant within the newly remodeled Marriott City Center is serving up four fancy courses this Thanksgiving, allowing you the perfect occasion to check out the beautiful new interior of this Uptown hotel. Dinner includes a shared starter, your choice of appetizer and entrée, Stoke’s famous 1lb donut for dessert, in addition to plenty of family-style sides like bread pudding and green bean casserole to keep you satisfied. Just be forewarned, the stunning open layout will have you redesigning your own (slightly less gleaming) kitchen in no time.

Price: $50/person
Hours: Seatings at 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm; reservations can be made here.

Georges Brasserie

Georges Brasserie

South Park

This South Park establishment, known for its killer weekend buffets, features an extensive Thanksgiving assortment consisting of everything from egg benedict and French toast, to prime rib and mussels to turkey and corn pudding. Hit up Georges’ spread for whichever meal of the day best fits your Thanksgiving schedule, but come hungry. There’s also great drink deals to be had, from bottomless mimosas to wine bottle specials.

Price: $38/adult, $18/child under 12, free under 3
Hours: 10am - 5pm

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The Best Burgers in Charlotte, According to Our National Burger Critic

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C harlotte surprised me. I’ve been to Charlotte several times before, and I must admit I didn’t love it much in the past. Most of what I’d seen was new and sponsored by Bank of America -- the whole Downtown scene felt contrived and shaped out of some conventional vision of what a Downtown city should look like. And so I figured this would translate into some uninteresting cookie cutter burger joints. But man, I was very, very wrong.
In my 24 hours eating my way through Charlotte’s burger scene, I was able to see a huge range of classic places with long histories in beautiful areas I’d never ventured into. And that doesn’t even count my side trip to Davidson. After talking with chefs and food writers, I pared down a list to seven essential burgers.
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7. Small Block Burger w/ Cheese “all the way”

Diamond Restaurant

Address and Info

Plaza Midwood

You see the term “all the way” thrown around a lot in North Carolina burger joints, but as you’ll see later, it doesn’t always mean the same thing. Diamond, a sort of retro-refreshed diner that originally opened in 1945 and has been through three different ownership groups in the past 70 years, uses the term to mean “lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo, and pickles” on the burger.

My Small Block burger was good. The hand-formed, irregularly shaped patty had solid crust from the griddle and a pleasingly loose grind, but was overcooked and slightly under-salted. The composition of the toppings was balanced, but it lacked any sort oomph factor to move it higher. Still, if you’re starting with this burger at the bottom, you’re in pretty good shape.

Single Beef Burger | Laura Sumrak/Thrillist

6. Single beef burger w/ American, caramelized onion, and roasted garlic mayo on white bun

Kickstand Charlotte Burger Bar

Address and Info

Plaza Midwood

Poor Kickstand. There was construction right in front of the building when I drove up, and it took me two passes to figure out how to actually get into the restaurant. All of the signature burgers here were too stunty, so I opted to create my own. The flavor of the beef in the patty was good, the meat was cooked to a perfect, pink medium, and the roasted garlic mayo blended in with the American cheese. The meat gave the burger a solid balance, but there were a few issues: the bun, though well toasted, was too big and bulky for the size of the patty; and the caramelized onions were slightly underdone. Much like Diamond, the burger was good, but lacked an “it” factor to push it even higher.

jumbo cheeseburger | Laura Sumrak/Thrillist

5. Jumbo Cheeseburger

South 21 Drive-In

Address and Info

Elizabeth

Man, I loved coming to this spot.  As you drive up, you see a giant sign that says “serving Charlotte since 1955” in big red block letters. The billboards in the back of the restaurant alone are a reason to visit. Many of them hype the “Super Boy” burger, which is two patties, mustard, onions, lettuce, and tomato, but when I pushed the button to order, I opted for the Super Boy with cheese, which is sadly called the Jumbo Cheeseburger.

Post ordering, in one of the more meta moments of the trip I said, aloud to myself, “I missed my opportunity to say Super Boy aloud!”

As for the Super Boy with cheese, it is a very solid diner burger. The thin patties have great char, but not a ton of meat flavor. The main components you really taste are the mustard and onions, and that acid and tang could sometimes overwhelm the meat, but if you caught it just right, you’d get a delicious, salty, meaty balance, and feel pretty damn good about yourself. I am going to write Super Boy one more time just because it’s so enjoyable. Super Boy.

4. Skillet Burger

Kindred

Address and Info

Davidson

If you asked me to envision the most aesthetically pleasing neighborhood restaurant, it might not beat Davidson’s gloriously handsome Kindred. Long a darling of the national media, Kindred has all the instantly Instagrammable touches: beautiful leather on its bar chairs, a perfectly scuffed brick back wall, white tiles on the floor, and the sort of blue door you’d find in Bermuda.

I’d been here once before for dinner and knew the burger was only available on the lunch menu, so I made a point to stop into Davidson for lunch as I drove from Charlotte to Asheville. The Skillet Burger is a double burger, and though the two patties aren’t wide in diameter, they’re of a sort of middle width between a steakhouse burger and the diner version. The meat itself was victual glory -- salty, perfectly cooked, and buttery with a loose grind. The cheddar had some age and nuttiness to it as well, but there were a few small quibbles -- the aioli lacked a lot of flavor (it served more as a lubricant for the bun), and the “quick pickles” were too damn quick to provide suitable acid to combat that rich beef and cheese flavor. I think some slower pickles would go a long way here.

The Bang Bang Burger, single | Laura Sumrak/Thrillist

3. The Bang Bang Burger, single

Bang Bang Burgers

Address and Info

Elizabeth

I didn’t want to like Bang Bang. For one, it was in a strip mall that seemed designed to make it impossible to find parking. Second, its Black Angus beef is from NYC’s Pat LaFrieda, and that made me feel like it was a carpetbagger of sort (“Find some Carolina meat, dammit!” I shouted internally while looking at the menu, absentmindedly waving my fist).

But dammit if the burger wasn’t pretty damn delicious. The bun was perfectly griddled, toasted on the inside and soft on the outside, and the homemade pickle and “Bangburger” sauce had just the right amount of acid to balance the meat. I’ll be honest here, folks. There’s a reason LaFrieda is the most famous butcher and meat purveyor in the US: He knows what the hell he’s doing. That patty was seared up to a perfect medium, and the grind was spectacularly loose and salty and the beef flavor came through cleanly. Just a really, really solid burger. I just suggest you maybe walk there or something.

the zack's special | Laura Sumrak/Thrillist

2. The Zack’s Special

Zack’s Hamburgers

Address and Info

South End

Zack’s was the first place I went after getting off the plane from Charleston. I got there by 11:30am, and there was already a line snaking around the back of the restaurant, filled in equal measure with office workers and construction guys in neon vests. I sighed audibly and thought that this would mess with my finely tuned schedule, but somehow, after about 10 minutes of waiting in line, I got my Zack’s Special burger exactly seven minutes after ordering.

I sat under the red and white umbrellas outside and inhaled this burger, which tasted almost exactly like the homemade version of a Big Mac. Great grind on the patties, a well-toasted sesame seed bun that stayed the hell out of the way, shredded lettuce blending in with the sauce, hamburger dill pickles providing acid. Zack’s is a legend for a reason: It makes one of the truly great diner-style burgers in all of North Carolina.

Burger with cheese "all the way" | Laura Sumrak/Thrillist

1. Burger with cheese “all the way”

Brooks’ Sandwich House

Address and Info

NoDa

Have you been to Brooks’ Sandwich House, friends? Have you pulled up to a dusty red shack behind an overpass across from trendy developments on a patch of dirt and shrouded by trees, and looked at this little house with black bars on the windows and wondered just what sort of culinary witchcraft was happening inside? Did you see 20 people of every stripe -- hipsters and office workers and auto mechanics still in their jumpsuits -- all standing outside, patiently waiting for a specific number? Did you go inside and order the burger with cheese “all the way” and realize belatedly that this meant something different than you’d originally thought?

When you finally heard your number called, did you let out a cry of glee and retreat to the standing tables outside? Did you make weird audible groans of ecstasy as you bit into a burger with some of the best char you’ve ever seen mixed with the rich meaty flavor of a thick, subtly smoky chili, the crisp tang of diced white onions, and the acid from yellow mustard? Did you raise your hands in victory after you finished the burger and proclaim to yourself in your rental car that this was definitely the best burger in Carolina, and maybe one of the best in country?

Well then, it seems we shared similar experiences at Brooks’.