Where to find Cajun food in Center CitySeptember 22, 2017 12:15 pm
Week 3 of the NFL season has the Panthers hosting their NFC South rival the New Orleans Saints. For this Charlotte Center City Partners reoccurring newsletter special feature, we are pairing the iconic foods of visiting NFL team’s with Center City restaurants offering them. In honor of the visiting Saints, their traveling fans and local New Orleans transplants, this week’s feature includes the consummate guide to Center City’s Cajun/Creole dishes, Southern comfort food and places to catch the Queen City’s best live Jazz this weekend.
Freshwaters With a large offering of Cajun/Creole food in the “A Taste of New Orleans Louisiana Cajun Corner” section of their menu, Freshwaters also offers classic Southern dishes for lunch or dinner. If mouthwatering food isn’t enough to tempt you, they also offer live Jazz on Friday nights.
Do: order the Vegetarian Delight Platter, this way it is easier to pick between their nine great vegetable sides.
Do not: miss their blackened fish entrees.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: try the crabcakes and catfish fritter appetizers as a meal.
The King’s Kitchen Perhaps more Southern than specifically Cajun/Creole, The King’s Kitchen serves food with a mission. Their locally grown foods and ingredients from around the Carolinas support local farmers. The King’s Kitchen also donates profits and proceeds to feed the poor, and they operate the on-site job-training and life-skills development program offered to interns through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Dream Center.
Do: try The King’s Kitchen gumbo.
Do not: come hungry. Everything on the menu is fantastic, and you are eating for a good cause.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: order Grandma Bennon’s Braised Pot Roast.
French Quarter Restaurant What is more New Orleans than the French Quarter? This Brevard Court anchor is an easy walk to the stadium, and offers a wide range of dining options.
Do: try the Cajun Chicken Wrap for a lighter lunch.
Do not: forget they offer great chicken wings.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: try the Greek salad.
Wu’s Cajun Sea Food A relative newcomer to South End, the name says it all. Wu’s offers the “perfect fusion of mouth-watering, tongue scorching spices and low country goodness.” Seriously, what are you waiting for, don’t wait for the Saints to come to town as a reason to try this food.
Do: order the “WU” Boil with crawfish and Chunky Cajun flavor.
Do not: come expecting lame cocktails. Wu’s has an incredible Sake-driven cocktail menu.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: try their house-made Ramen served warm or cold.
Tupelo Honey Another Southern fine food establishment, Tupelo Honey has comfort food that will not disappoint. Located across from the East/West Station on the Blue Line, this is a quick and easy ride to the game.
Do: take advantage of their outdoor dining. Their veranda is the perfect setting for a meal here.
Do not: forget that meals come with made-from-scratch biscuits and homemade blueberry preserves.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: try the Cackalackie Pork Shoulder Steak.
Magnolia’s Poboys (food truck) This local food truck has serious New Orleans bone fides. The owner, Chef Katz was born and raised in New Orleans, is a Johnson and Wales graduate, and worked in some of the finest restaurants in New Orleans. After evacuating due to Hurricane Katrina, he eventually found his way to Charlotte. Katz now brings authentic poboys and other New Orleans favorites to Charlotte’s streets.
Do: order a poboy (duh).
Do not: forget to check where the truck will be located on any given day.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: order a cold poboy, but seriously, order the Fried Gulf Shrimp Poboy.
Bojangles This is a gameday no brainer, except perhaps the tie-in to New Orleans. However, perhaps plugging them in our newsletter we can score a sweet branded Bojangles Cornhole game for the Charlotte Center City Partners office.
Do: get the Cajun Filet Biscuit, and pity those areas of the country without a Bojangles nearby.
Do not: forget Bojangles’ roots when they offered a Cajun-spicy fried chicken like in this 1980’s commercial.
If not New Orleans-inspired fare, then: get pretty much anything other than the Cajun biscuit.
You can enjoy great, live Jazz in the Center City many nights of the week. A few options this weekend include: Jazzy Friday at Freshwaters, Jazzin’ on the Terrace at the Mint Museum, and definitely check out the Crew Love Tour on Friday night. While enjoying live music, make sure to tag #MusicEverywhereCLT in your social posts from area live music venues.
As always, 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. (Ok, we broke the rule this week.)
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.
Next Home Game
Week 6 (Thursday, October 12) the Panthers host the Eagles. 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.