Food & Drink

Best of Charlotte 2016


Best Pastry Shop

Renaissance Pâtisserie

Amélie's may have a French name, but Renaissance Pâtisserie has a French heart. Or, to be more precise, the Frenchest Frenchman that ever lifted an eyebrow. Sylvain Rivet has cooked for some pretty illustrious audiences, and now he's brought true French pastry to Charlotte. Yes, this is the bakery you're looking for, even if the dingy-looking strip mall doesn't seem appropriate. Step into the cheery yellow space and feast your eyes: true croissants, Napoléons and the famous Kouign Amman that are driving pastry connoisseurs wild. Rivet sources many of his fruits locally, and also includes some Franco-American fusions, like pear Danishes and French cheesecakes. Vive la gourmandise! (2809 South Blvd., 980-819-8771,

Best Breakfast

The Yolk @Dawn

For the past several years, folks looking for the best breakfast in town have actually headed south of the border. But this year Gregory and Subrina Collier graced the Queen City with its own version of Rock Hill's The Yolk@Dawn, a coffee-shop styled eatery in Steele Creek's Ayrsley development. Subrina oversees the quirkily decorated dining room while Greg mans the grill. Locally sourced ingredients, house-cured bacon and Greg's proprietary PerfectTN seasoning create a real eye-opener of a menu. These revamped versions of waffles, grits and Benedicts will make you take breakfast seriously. And listen: someone at the table must order pancakes. You're welcome. (2130 Ayrsley Town Blvd., 980-201-9839,

Salmon cakes and egg scramble with fruit at Letty's (Critics' Best Brunch)
  • Salmon cakes and egg scramble with fruit at Letty's (Critics' Best Brunch)

Best Brunch


Owner Letty Ketner makes everyone feel at home in this casual spot along Shamrock Drive. The eggs salchicha, two poached or fried eggs on a biscuit topped with sausage patties and gravy with grits or potatoes, doesn't look very appetizing but it tastes good. Salmon cakes and egg scramble and the fried green tomato benedict, which includes two fried green tomatoes and soysage topped with two poached eggs smothered with creole sauce and served with grits or potatoes, are other tempting selections. (2121 Shamrock Drive, 704-817-8702,

Best Small Mall Kiosk Turned Food Truck

Cafe Ganache

Before we would have voted Cafe Ganache as "best reason to make a trip to SouthPark Mall," but now that the pastry shop is on wheels, it's worth a trip to whatever neighborhood it stops at. Sadruddin Abdullah and his wife spend a lot of time in the kitchen where they create macaroons, flaky pastries and cronuts, the latter coming in simple plain form and special monthly flavor with extra garnishings, fillings and glazes. (706-614-5911,

Best Food Truck for Korean Goodness


Since Korean restaurants in Charlotte aren't all that plentiful, we were pretty stoked last year when HiYa launched. Daniel Pitre, who is part Korean, uses the truck for his Korean fusion blends. While you'll find Korean staples like bulgogi, there are also unusual twists like the Carolina bulgogi burger. (

Best Smoothies

Carolina Smoothies

While you can't ever go wrong with Smoothie King, we still find our taste buds most tantalized by the delicious concoctions blended together at this venerable East Boulevard shop. In fact, their smoothies are so fantastic, you might find yourself heading there not only during the summertime but also during those months when the average temperature is well below 95. (1408 East Blvd., Suite D, 704-358-0006)

Best Cheese Plates

Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop

While a lot of Charlotte restaurants and bars offer cheese and charcuterie plates for you to snack on, you're going to get a great selection of cheeses and the best bang for your buck at Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop. Craft's cheese plates aren't just pretty to look at, they are also affordable; for just $9 ($6 on Wednesdays!), you'll get a selection of artisan cheeses from both local North Carolina purveyors and some abroad paired with local North Carolina honey, nuts, fresh bread and olives. Order a charcuterie plate (also just $9) and wash it all down with a pint of craft beer and you've got yourself a pretty delicious meal! (1320 S. Church St., Suite 100. 704-207-3716,

Best Cure For The Late-Night Munchies

Benny Pennello's

Certainly, Amelie's will always remain the champ when it comes to seeking crisp sandwiches, soothing soups and perfect pastries deep into the night (and morning). But on some nights, nothing hits the spot like a food that's as sinful as the alcohol you've been guzzling, and for that, there's the pizza at this NoDa venue. Plus, the size of each individual slice is roughly on par with that of Rhode Island. (2909 N. Davidson St., Suite 100. 980-949-8398,

Best Place for Fried Chicken

Shell Gas Station (corner of South and East Boulevard)

Step aside, Colonel, anyone who's been in the city for a while knows that Price's is a local favorite. At night, however, our fave place to get fried chicken for the low low is the Shell gas station at the corner or South Boulevard and East Boulevard. A gas station?! That's right, cafeteria-style and everything. Get a couple pieces of chicken, potato wedges and a roll for like $5. Thank me later. (200 East Blvd., 704-333-0807)

Best Place to Get Brain Freeze

Two Scoops Creamery

Any of the ice cream flavors at this new joint in Plaza Midwood can be made into a milkshake, but for a more diverse tasting experience opt for a cone or bowl with two scoops. All the flavors pack a powerful punch, so you'll want to get brain freeze on more than one. Folks who want an extra kick should try the Cappuccino Kahlua or Rum Raisin (and yes, they contain alcohol). (913 Central Ave. 704-900-5792,

Best Streetcar Stop

Earl's Grocery

Whether you're pro or anti streetcar, you have to admit it passes one of Charlotte's culinary meccas as it trundles down Elizabeth Avenue. One part bodega, one part coffee shop/café, Earl's Grocery exudes a chill vibe and caters to the inner foodie in everyone with a diverse menu of dishes ranging from seasonal salads and grilled cheese to Bahn mi and noodles, as well as a deli case and grocery section boasting all sorts of high quality and unique foodstuffs, including bitters, spices, meats, cheese, beer and wine (and a whole lot more!). (1609 Elizabeth Ave., 704-333-2757,

Best Cheap Eats

Sabor Latin Street Grill

When you think of cheap, you usually think of a lot of things: sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, pizza. Next time you're looking for cheap dinner, think outside the pizza delivery box and head to Sabor for affordable quality, delicious, authentic grub. You can get a Latin street food feast for two people that's fit for a king for the small price tag of about $20. Go to Sabor and order the things you can't get anywhere else: arepas, empanadas, gorditas, and stock up on a variety of salsa from the salsa bar while you wait. And Taco Tuesday is a must do ($1 tacos autenticos: cilantro, lime and onion) but go early, there's usually a line out the door. (415 Hawthorne Lane (Elizabeth); 3205 N. Davidson St., Suite 105; other locations, too.

Curry laksa from Co. (Critics' Best Place To Sweat It Out)
  • Curry laksa from Co. (Critics' Best Place To Sweat It Out)

Best Place to Sweat It Out


This new Asian-fusion spot has a variety of dishes — from rice and noodle takes to handpressed sushi — but the curry laksa is pretty high up on the list of things to try. The dish, a Malaysian curry coconut soup with chicken and shimp, has a kick but it's nothing that seasoned foodies can't handle. Take it all in and drink extra water if you have to. It's perfect for fall/winter, but tasty enough to lap-up in the summer heat as well. (4201 Park Road, 980-237-4655,

Best Use of Balsamic

Goat Cheese Strawberry Balsamic doughnut from Joe's Doughs

If it sounds like an odd combination, that's because it is. But at Joe's Doughs, it's a hit and one of the many doughnuts that rotates in the shiny glass counters. For owner and doughnut master Joe Pepe, it's one of the doughnuts he's most proud of. The former pop-up business turned brick-and-mortar shop earlier this year. Salad purists might opt for a sweeter option — the peanut butter s'mores? (1721 N. Davidson St. 704-343-5234,

Noodle dish from Rai Lay (Critics' Best Twist on Thai)
  • Noodle dish from Rai Lay (Critics' Best Twist on Thai)

Best Twist on Thai

Rai Lay

Take a tasty trip to Thailand's exotic Rai Lay beach, no passport necessary, with this South End eatery. Inspired by regional Thai street food, Rai Lay is a great place to stop for after-work tapas and drinks, or to sample a menu of authentic entrees. We recommend the Moo Ping — grilled pork skewers served with a chili dipping sauce and sticky rice! (1520 South Blvd., Suite 130, 980-207-0991,

The exterior of Kindred in Davidson (Critics' Best Reason to Drive on I77 NB)
  • The exterior of Kindred in Davidson (Critics' Best Reason to Drive on I77 NB)

Best Dumplings

The Dumpling Lady

Zhang Qian and John Nisbet met and fell in love in Chengdu, China. Four years later, she joined him here in the United States. Now, the residents of Charlotte are slowly but surely falling in love with the Zhang and Nisbet team. There's oftentimes a line coming from their red food truck, which can often be found outside of The Company Store in NoDa serving dumplings and noodle plates from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. While Zhang's dumplings are stuffed with magnificent meats like sweet pork belly or swordfish, the juices that the dumplings are served in might make you want to drink from the tin pan once the dumplings are gone. (

Best Indian Buffer for Overindulging

Persis Biryani Indian Grill

This buffet features some familiar Americanized Indian staples, but more importantly, it features other, more ethnic dishes native to India that you'll be hardpressed to find at some other spots around town. There's Indo-Chinese selections, too. Pace yourself and don't hold back. And if you don't know what something is, don't hesistate to ask. The friendly staff is glad to explain and they may even push you to eat outside your comfort zone. Trust us and take their advice. (3130 Driwood Court, 704-817-8198,

Chow bao taco w/ barbecue at Improper Pig (Critics' Best Barbecue Joint With An Asian Twist)
  • Chow bao taco w/ barbecue at Improper Pig (Critics' Best Barbecue Joint With An Asian Twist)

Best Reason to Drive on I-77 NB


The 30-minute trip north to Davidson is definitely worth it to enjoy a meal at Kindred. The refined yet carefree restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy cocktails and a spread of simple yet sophisticated tapas. You should order The Bartender's Choice, a custom cocktail made with your preferred liquor and flavor profile. And don't forget the milk bread and a slice of chocolate birthday cake. (131 N. Main St., Davidson. 980-231-5000.

Best Facelift of a Longtime Eatery

Showmars on Monroe Road

This long time Showmars location was renovated earlier this year and the results (outside and inside) look great. It's more chic, but still casual with great service, gyros and seasoned French fries to match. The veggie pita is a must-try for veg heads. (2004 E. 7th St. 704-376-0565,

Best Reason to Buy Frozen

Zone 7

This take-away shop, manned by husband-and-wife team, Chris and Emily Hoody-Russell, on Monroe Road is open for lunch during the week and cooks up delicious soups, sandwiches and ricotta rolls. While you're there, pick up something from the freezer (there are a variety of soups and pizza's all fresh with farm-to-table ingredients). Charlotte falls into zone 7 of the United States Department of Agriculture country zoning, hence the name. (4113 Monroe Road, Suite A,

Best Reason to Go Nuts

My Buddy's Nuts

Comprised of husband-wife team Phil Anderson and Bonnie Jones, this local brand of nuts is likely to make you go loco. The maple mustard is must-try, but there are other flavors, too. They make for great gifts and they're good to cook with. Look for them at a variety of shops around town. (

Best New Chef Who's Not New At All

Matthew Krenz (The Asbury)

Matthew Krenz's star has been rising for years, but it's remained hidden by his proximity to other local headliners. He was Luca Annunziata's right-hand man as Passion8 grew successful enough to move on up to the east side. At The Asbury, he helped Executive Chef Chris Coleman strengthen ties to local purveyors while bringing a fresh eye to seasonal plates. Now that Coleman has moved on to the Marriott, Krenz's talent is blazing forth, inspired by some of the most innovative chefs in the country. Yet the modest small-town kid remains, tied by his father's cattle ranch to the land that provides his ingredients. Keep your eye on this one; he's going places...quietly. (235 N. Tryon St., 704-342-1193,

Black Bean Hummus at Babalu (Critics' Best Place for Sharing Edibles)
  • Black Bean Hummus at Babalu (Critics' Best Place for Sharing Edibles)

Best Barbecue Joint with an Asian Twist

Improper Pig

This casual Cotswold hot spot can be complicated, but it's not the kind of complicated that's a bad thing. Imagine going on a perfect date that's followed up by a totally different, yet equally exciting date with another person. Get to know the eatery's signature staples — barbecue and Southern sides like collard greens, mac and cheese, baked beans, and more — as well as monthly Asian fusion bowls (think Pad Thai or curry and rice). The Chow Bao tacos that comes with your choice of filling (barbecue, salmon, etc.) and hoisin sauce is a good choice, too. The Asian twist is inspired by the location's former front as Mama Fu's. When the business closed they left their woks behind and we're so glad they did. We wouldn't blame you one bit for wanting a taste of both options. (110 S. Sharon Amity Road, 704-714-7878,

Best Chef to Follow on Social Media

Marc Jacksina (Earl's Grocery)

Marc Jacksina's Facebook profile photo reveals a sharpness of wit in his half-cocked eyebrow and nascent smile hidden under a salt-and-pepper mustache. He has been the wild-child talent at several Charlotte landmark establishments—Halcyon, Nan & Byron's, Lulu—but his abilities surge beyond the kitchen. Originally a student of philosophy, he tosses out deeply informed repartee on everything from national politics to skateboarding. He posts clever photos of his boxer Joe and outtakes from his pet project Order/Fire, the Queen City's own foodie film series. Lately he's been puttering with pottery, posting photos from his courses at CPCC that show innate talent. No matter the topic, Jacksina's brash take on the world breathes fresh air into a selfie-clogged scene. (@MarcJacksina on Instagram & Twitter, Marc C Jacksina on Facebook)

Grub from Nellie's (Critics' Best Off-the-Beaten-Path)
  • Grub from Nellie's (Critics' Best Off-the-Beaten-Path)

Best Place for Sharing Edibles

Babalu Tapas & Tacos

This new Dilworth spot has Latin-inspired fare that's good for sharing and while the tapas list is extensive, don't hesistate to add tacos (and damn good ones — try the Redfish — available in singles or sets of three) to the mix. But the most unexpected surprise at this joint is the Baba burger — with Aspen Ridge natural angus beef, roasted roma tomatoes, carmelized onions, white cheddar cheese avocado, smoked bacon, chipotle aioli that's all on a sweet sour dough bun that provides more width than height, making it easy to consume this bad boy. For the full experience, order it on your tapas outing and cut accordingly. (1511 East Blvd. 704-334-1511,

Photo by Grant Baldwin
  • Photo by Grant Baldwin

Best Off-the-Beaten Path


If you're looking for small town flavor, you'll find it on the menu at Nellie's. Founded by Carolina native Kevin Jonas (best known for fathering the Jonas Brothers), this trendy spot pays homage to its namesake, family matriarch Nellie, and her hometown of Belmont. The bacon-topped four cheese macaroni is worth taking a mini-road trip. (36 N. Main St., Belmont, 704-396-7169,

Best Way to Eat Yourself into a Food Coma

FEAST Food Tours

Oh, sure. You could eat yourself into a stupor by scarfing down a whole frozen pizza. But it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as a FEAST walking food tour. FEAST owner Kristi Martin has the inside scoop on all the restos uptown and in the neighborhoods nearby. Her "Dives to Dining" tour of Plaza Midwood includes stops at Pizza Peel (where you'll discover the secret menu), Dish, The Diamond and more. Pizza and craft beer are followed by chicken and dumplings and sweet tea, which are followed by a slider and Cheerwine. And that's just the first half of the tour. At each stop, you'll meet an owner or chef and hear about their restaurant's history. Be a tourist in your own town – and enjoy eating your way through a neighborhood you only thought you knew. (

Best Place to Drink Craft Beer Outside

U.S. National Whitewater Center

The craft beer scene is one of the best things to happen to Charlotte; there's no shortage of breweries to hang out in and local beer to try. The Whitewater Center has a leg up on any old patio in Charlotte; you drink a beer after you've spent the day rafting or kayaking (refreshing). Or skip any form of outdoor activity, and just drink a beer outside next to some water while other people raft and kayak. Really there's nothing like enjoying a cold one next to the rushing water, with zipliners overhead, while the sun sinks behind the trees and over the Catawba River. Couple Charlotte beer with free live music (and a $5 parking fee) on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the summer and you've got one of the best events in the Queen City, River Jam. (5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, 704-391-3900,

Best Cheerleader for Local Food

Heidi Billotto (Charlotte Magazine, Heidi Billotto Cooks, Competition Dining, etc.)

Heidi Billotto is a walking trademark — tiny of stature, with blazing ginger hair and brightly colored cat's eye glasses, she is an energetic whirlwind who's hard to miss at any of a dozen food events. Whether in print, online or behind the camera, she never seems to slow down in promoting local chefs, farmers and products. To her cooking classes, columns and blogs highlighting local ingredients, she's added a tireless wielding of the bullhorn for the Competition Dining series and biannual Southern Ideal Home Shows. Yet she still somehow has the time to cruise through multiple farmers' markets every Saturday, stocking up for her next social media blast of delicious dishes. She doesn't just walk the local-food walk, she runs it. (, Heidi Billotto Cooks on Facebook)

Best Division Since the War Between the States

Duke's vs. Hellman's

When it comes to food, "southern" usually conjures up fried chicken, greens or grits. But the true test of a cook's culinary heritage comes in a mayonnaise jar. Charlotte-area chefs have recently fomented a friendly but boisterous rivalry between the two heavy hitters: hometown favorite Duke's and Yankee import Hellman's. Southern boosters claim Hellman's inclusion of sugar wipes it right off the table, while Duke detractors turn their noses up at its sharp acidity. The Piedmont Culinary Guild finally put them to the test in July, hosting a blind tasting and a feast of 'mater sandwiches. The winner by a landslide: Hellman's. Yup, even Block & Grinder's Georgia-born Ben Philpott, the de facto captain of Team Duke's, voted for his despised rival. Sorry, Ben, but that's the way the mayo slathers.

Best Coffee

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse & Roastery

This is the gasoline that fuels Creative Loafing. Our news editor usually gets his way in the debate about which blend to bring into the office (a specially made mix of Declawed Decaf and Black Cat brews), but everyone agrees that these are the only beans allowed in our blender. Also, don't sleep on the ice-creamy goodness of the mocha frappes ... or any other flavor for that matter. (514 E. 36th St., 704-374-9656,

Best Taco

La Revolucion

This critics' pick comes with a certain location bias. As we've sadly watched our lunch options dwindle here at the Music Factory with the closing of Mattie's Diner and Eight Sushi, we've welcomed the arrival of La Revolucion with open arms. Bias aside, we're all taco connoisseurs in our own right, both in and out of work, and we all keep returning to this hidden gem across the plaza. Office favorites: crispy chicken, ground beef or rajas con queso. (900 NC Music Factory Blvd. Suite 1, 704-716-2327.

Best Non-Basic Fall Beverage

Windy Hill Orchard

Forget Pumpkin Spice Latte; the true taste of fall is day-drinking hard cider on a crisp autumn day while picking apples and eating cider doughnuts. All of those things (and more!) are on the menu at Windy Hill Orchard. Located in York, this just-outside-town fall mecca may be a bit of a hike for Charlotteans, but you'll know it's worth it once you're sitting on a bale of hay holding a cool glass of their signature Rusty Gold cider as a free-range chicken pecks at your Ugg boot. #FallForAll (1860 Black Highway, York. 803-684-0690.

Best Campus Cuisine

Feisty's Hot Dogs at UNCC

As a UNC-Charlotte alumni, my school pride is centered around one very specific campus institution. No, I'm not talking about the new-ish football field or the now-defunct Belk Tower. I'm talking about Feisty's. Located in the Prospector dining hall, this hot dog and fries stand is the unsung hero of campus cuisine: their fries are fresh cut and aren't dumped in the fryer until you order them, and they will put literally anything you want on a hotdog. (9201 University City Blvd. (Prospector building),

Best Kitchen for a Cause

King's Kitchen

The mission at King's Kitchen to feed the hungry — physically and spiritually — and the message of feel-good food doesn't end with the menu of southern comfort dishes. By partnering with local ministries, King's Kitchen is able to employ struggling Charlotte residents "in search of a new beginning," and donate 100 percent of their profits to serve the poor. (129 W. Trade St., 704-375-1990,

Best place to witness a Salad massacre


Although it may seem intimidating when you first enter, it soon becomes clear that Chopt is a well-oiled salad slaying machine. The hustle and bustle of the busy Park Road location is nothing compared to the slew of salivating folks that can't wait to get their forks into some custom salad art. Connoisseurs arrive early, as the lines are almost always long. (4125 Park Road, 980-321-9034,


* Best New Restaurant

Sea Level, 129 E. 5th St. 704-412-2616.

* Best Late-Night Eatery

Diamond, 1901 Commonwealth Ave. 704-375-8959.

* Best Hangover-Friendly Restaurant

Midnight Diner, 115 E. Carson Blvd. 980-207-3641.

* Best Farm-To-Table Restaurant

Heirloom, 8470 Bellhaven Blvd. 704-595-7710.

* Best Restaurant in South End

Futo Buto, 222 E. Bland St. 704-376-8400.

* Best Restaurant in NoDa

Cabo Fish Taco,

3201 N. Davidson St. 704-332-8868.

* Best Restaurant in Plaza Midwood

Soul Gastrolounge, 1500 Central Ave. 704-348-1848.

* Best Restaurant in Southpark

Cowfish, 4310 Sharon Road. 704-365-1922.

* Best Restaurant in Uptown

Dandelion Market, 118 W. 5th St. 704-333-7989.

* Best Waitstaff/Service

Crepe Cellar, 3116 N. Davidson St. 704-910-6543.

* Best Restaurant Patio

Moo & Brew, 1300 Central Ave. 980-585-4148.

* Best Breakfast

Zada Janes, 1601 Central Ave. 704-332-3663.

* Best Lunch

Sabor Latin Grill, 3205 N. Davidson, Suite 105 (as well as other locations). 980-207-3589.

* Best Brunch

Heist, 2909 N. Davidson, Suite 200. 704-375-8260.

* Best Doughnuts

Duck Donuts

, 1710 Kenilworth Ave., Suite 220. 704-910-5355.

* Best Barbecue

Midwood Smokehouse, 1401 Central Ave. 704-295-4227.

* Best Soul Food

Merts, 214 N. College St. 704-342-4222.

* Best Steak House

Beef & Bottle, 4538 South Blvd. 704-523-9977.

* Best Seafood

Sea Level, 129 E. 5th St. 704-412-2616.

* Best Tapas

Soul Gastrolounge, 1500 Central Ave. 704-348-1848.

* Best Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly

Luna's Living Kitchen, 2000 South Blvd., Suite 300. 704-333-0008.

* Best Ribs

Midwood Smokehouse, 1401 Central Ave. 704-295-4227.

* Best Juice Bar

Viva Raw, 7th Street Public Market at 224 E. 7th St. 980-275-3834.

* Best Pizza

Pure Pizza, 1911 Central Ave. 980-430-1701.

* Best Sandwich

Common Market, 2007 Commonwealth Ave. 704-334-6209.

* Best Burger

Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, 1626 East Blvd. 704-714-4888.

* Best Tacos

Sabor Latin Grill, 3205 N. Davidson, Suite 105. 980-207-3589.

* Best Hot Dog

JJ's Redhots, 1514 East Blvd. 980-225-8880.

* Best Wings

Lebowski's, 1524 East Blvd. 704-370-1177.

* Best Chinese

Wan Fu, 10719 Kettering Drive. 704-541-1688.

* Best Vietnamese

Lang Van, 3019 Shamrock Drive. 704-531-9525

* Best Japanese

(tie) Ru San's and Futo Buta, 2440 Park Road; 222 E. Bland St. 704-374-0008; 704-376-8400.;

* Best Thai

Thai Taste,

324 East Blvd. 704-332-0001.

* Best Korean

Pepepro, 10920 Monroe Road. 704-845-2107

* Best Sushi

Rusan's, 2440 Park Road. 704-374-0008.

* Best French

Lumiere, 1039 Providence Road. 704-372-3335.

* Best Italian

Portofinos, 3124 Eastway Drive. 704-568-7933.

* Best Mexican

Three Amigos, 2917 Central Ave. 704-536-1851.

* Best Middle Eastern

Kabab-Je, 2233 Matthews Township Parkway. 704-845-0707.

* Best Indian

Woodland's, 7128 Albermarle Road. 704-569-9193.

* Best Caribbean

Mama's Caribbean Cafe, 1504 Central Ave. 704-375-8414.

*Best Frozen Treat

King of Pop's, 2500 Dunavant St. 980-498-0737.

* Best Bakery


, 2424 N. Davidson St., Suite 102. 704-376-1781.

* Best Bagels

Poppy's, 2921 Providence Road. 704-366-8146.

* Best Place to Get Dessert

Amelie's, 2424 N. Davidson St., Suite 102. 704-376-1781.

* Best Gourmet/Specialty Food Store

Earl's Grocery, 1609 Elizabeth Ave. 704-333-2757.

* Best Health Food Store

Healthy Home Market, 1330 Central Ave. 980-267-3303.

Best Place to Buy International Items

Super G Mart, 7323 East Indepenence Blvd. 980-321-4048.

* Best Chef

Donnie Simmons,

* Best Food Truck

Tin Kitchen,

* Best Dessert Food Truck

Hart's Soda Shop,

* Best Burger Food Truck

Tin Kitchen,

* Best Food Truck Concept

Papi Queso,

* Best Farmers Market

NoDa Farmers Market, 701 E. 36th St. 704-906-1705.

* Best Ice Cream

Elizabeth Creamery, 1535 Elizabeth Ave. 704-376-3426

* Best Coffee Shop

Central Coffee, 719 Louise Ave. 704-335-7288. @centralcoffee

* Best Wine Selection

Common Market, 2007 Commonwealth Ave. 704-334-6209.

* Best New Brewery

Legion Brewing, 1906 Commonwealth Ave. 844-467-5683.

Best Brewery

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

,4150 Yancey Road. 704-525-5644.

Best Beer

Wooden Robot's Good Morning Vietnam, 1440 S. Tryon St., Suite 110. 980-819-7875.

Best Beer Selection

Salud, 3306 N. Davidson St. 704-900-7767.

Best Bloody Mary

Moo and Brew,1300 Central Ave. 980-585-4148.

Best Martini

Punch Room, 201 E. Trade St. 704-547-2244.

Best Margarita

Carrburritos, 445 S. Main St., Davidson. 704-237-3040.

Best Distillery

Doc Porter's, 232 Peterson Drive. 704-266-1399.