Center City Wing RoundupSeptember 13, 2017 12:23 pm
As a bonus to the Charlotte Center City Partners newsletter, we are adding a reoccurring feature that pairs the iconic foods of visiting NFL team’s with Center City restaurants offering them. Readers can look forward to finding out this season where they can find the best Viking food and cheese curd in Center City as well as finding out what Atlanta and Tampa Bay’s signature foods might be. Additionally, this series is not intended to be a comprehensive Charlotte restaurant list. Rather, it is limited to those restaurants within an easy, one mile walk of Bank of America Stadium. The reviews in this feature include brief descriptions of the selected establishments, short do’s and don’ts and alternative food choices all to optimize your game day experience.
The Panthers home opener is against the AFC East’s Buffalo Bills. In honor of the visiting Bills, their traveling fans and local Buffalo transplants, our feature includes the consummate guide to Center City’s best buffalo wings.
Eat like a local
Al Mike’s If you want to eat like a local, Alexander Michael’s (“Al Mike’s” if you are asking for directions) is a Fourth Ward mainstay. This neighborhood pub is nestled among 100-year-old Victorian houses in one of Charlotte’s oldest residential areas. Though Al Mike’s is near the one mile limit of our research, it is worth the walk.
Do: Try one of their Charlotte-based brews on tap.
Do not: Call for reservations – they don’t take them.
If not wings then try: the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.
Seoul Food Meat Company The wing round-up sleeper pick for this week is Seoul Food Meat Company. Fans of this South End gem understand why their “Korean-style, double-fried, finger-licking greatness” is on the list. For everyone else, what are you waiting for? It’s a meat company?!
Do: Get the Ramen Mac & Cheese side.
Do not: Knock the tofu wings until you have tried them.
If not wings then try: the Fried Whole Tilapia – it is the entire fish, and it is massive.
The Local Described as Uptown Charlotte’s Dive Bar & American Restaurant, The Local does not disappoint. Frequently offering live music and specials, this bar in the heart of Uptown is everything you want in a good dive including a couple long captain’s tables in the center of the bar.
Do: Try a sixer of Cheerwine BBQ sauced wings.
Do not: Let the chill lunch vibe fool you; this places rocks at night.
If not wings then try: the Pimento Cheese Burger.
Fuel Pizza Started by New Yorkers looking for a quality slice in 1998, the owners of Fuel Pizza have expanded to six location in the Charlotte area, three in Washington D.C. and have even brought New York pizza back to New York City with a location in Harlem. The College Street in Uptown by the Green is close to the stadium and could become your official tailgate caterer. Their online order form lets you purchase wings in increments of 8, 12, 20, 30, 50 and 100.
Do: Check out the story about their 15 school “pizza gardens.”
Do not: Call it New York-style pizza. New York invented pizza, their style is just called “pizza.”
If not wings then try: the Whole Engine pizza.
Eat like a Buffalonian, or like a “Buffalottean”
Bisonte Pizza Co. Bisonte is owned by Buffalo, NY transplants Jim and Steve DaPolito. Do we need to go any further? They opened their first restaurant in Matthews, NC, and recently opened a second Gateway Village on West Trade Street near Johnson and Wales. The winner of Charlotte’s Favorite Pizza in 2014 and Favorite Wings in 2017, these guys know what they are doing. *Pro-tip: “Bisonte” is Italian for buffalo.
Do: Try the Carolina Gold wings, they are sauced, charbroiled and then sauced again.
Do not: Feel bad if your friends from Buffalo make fun of you for eating wings with Ranch dressing.
If not wings then try: Beef on Weck – you’re welcome.
Tavern on the Tracks A South End staple since 2002, Tavern on the Tracks brings “a taste of the North down South”. With nine homemade wing sauces to choose from there is something for every taste from mild Parmesan Lemon Pepper wings to “put you to the test” Steam Engine wings. This Buffalo Bills, Sabres and University of Michigan bar is probably where Bills fans should go to drown their sorrows after losing the game on Sunday.
Do: Bring Fido to enjoy the game on their pet-friendly patio.
Do not: Wear your Ohio State gear.
If not wings then try: Sahlen’s Loaded Duo Dogs loaded with chili, cheese and onions served on sour dough rolls. (Sahlen’s is the official hotdog of the Bills and the Charlotte Knights).
Uptown’s Wing District
Adjacent to Romare Bearden Park in Brevard Court and along South Church Street, in what some have coined as Uptown’s Wing District (*no one calls it that), there are three great options for gameday. Valhalla, Brevard Court’s Viking-themed pub features great bar food and Valkyrie Wings. Also in Brevard Court is the French Quarter Restaurant. This long-time family-run favorite serves up great choices ranging from wings to London Broil. Across Church Street, Mello Mushroom is well-known for their pizza, but make sure to save room for their crisp, double-baked wings. Both places feature outdoor seating perfect for an early fall game day.
Do: sample some local beer from the 12 taps at Valhalla; try Greek Fries at French Quarter; try pretzel bites with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cheese dip at Mellow Mushroom.
Do not: be unhappy at Valhalla “Vikings won’t tolerate ill-behaved patrons”; come to French Quarter on Sundays when the Panthers or the Knights are away because they won’t be open; forget bruschetta is pronounced like brew-sketta at Mellow Mushroom.
If not wings then try: Valhalla’s English Breakfast; one of French Quarter’s burgers (voted “Best thing between two buns” by Elevate Magazine); Mellow Mushroom’s Holy Shitake Pie.
Wings with a healthy side of TV?
Wild Wing Café Located in the Epicentre, Wild Wing Café’s Uptown location features a weekday all-you-can-eat wingbar with different wing seasonings, fries and tots. On game day, you can sample one of their 33 made from scratch sauces while checking out all of the games on one of their many TVs throughout the restaurant.
Do: Go to lunch during the week and out eat your friends at the wingbar.
Do not: Forget to eat your side salad between trips to the wingbar.
If not wings then try: Baked potato soup and purloined tots.
Buffalo Wild Wings B-Dubs offers gameday visitors the comfort of familiarity with their food available across the country. Always a great spot to watch sporting events of all kinds, Buffalo Wild Wings features 16 signature sauces and 5 seasonings served on boneless and tradition wings. What visitors to the Uptown franchise has that is not available anywhere else is a location next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Do: Dine outside with a view of Glory Road in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Do not: Let Justin down.
If not wings then try: Another restaurant.
In the interest of full-disclosure, our evaluation criteria have no basis in science and have not been peer-reviewed by any governing board of food experts. Therefore, we encourage our readers to get out and judge for themselves.
Week 3 the Panthers play the Saints at home. Tag us on FB: @charlottecentercity Instagram/Twitter: @cltcentercity #CCCPiTeam and give us your recommendations for the best New Orleans-style/themed restaurants in Center City.