Cory Wilkins, the food lover behind @dailyspecialclt on Instagram and @blackguyscook on TikTok, shares his Guide to some of the best Black-owned eats in Charlotte. "Not all these places are soul food," says Wilkins, "but all these places have soul."Less
"This is one of the most popular restuarants in Charlotte right now. The chef, Brandon Collier, is great. He has been a James Beard semi-finalist for a few years now. All the dishes are very unique, chef-driven, and you get great service here as well. They also have a bar with one of the best mixologists in Charlotte."
"This is one of my favorite Jamaican restaurants in town. He has both traditional Jamaican dishes that are done really well, and then he also does some very unique dishes as well. He has blown up for his oxtail cheesesteak, which people love. He has a very unique take on his heritage and lots of cool dishes for people to try."
"The name pretty much explains the vibe you get here: It’s a culinary experience. It’s takeout only, but each of his dishes is very unique, and it does give you an experience. One of my favorites on the menu is his duck pizza."
"Archive is a bookstore slash coffee and tea shop. It’s really cool because she has a lot of collectible items in there for sale. All of the old Jet magazines and Ebony magazines—all of those old covers are for sale in there. The decor is a huge celebration of Black culture. And of course the coffees and the teas are really good as well."
"Bird came up with their own unique pizza dough, and it’s phenomenal; it’s the best pizza in Charlotte I think. This small piza shop is local, family-owned, run by a husband-and-wife team; it’s just a window, and they do pre-orders and walk-ups, and their signature thing is they add hot honey to their pizza, if you ask for it, and that makes it really good."
"The owners of Jimmy Pearls are originally from Virginia, and they are bringing their upbringing to Charlotte. They have the best fish sandwich in the city, and it’s huge. Everything is made fresh, and it’s really good seafood. They put their own unique twist on everything."
"The Premiere Chef blew up last year becuse he has fall-off-the-bone turkey legs. He has a huge grill out front, and he does turkey legs and different barbecue items, and people just go crazy for the turkey legs becase you can just pick the turkey leg up and the meat falls right off. He has other barbecue items as well, like beef ribs, chicken wings, and all the other barbecue fixings."
"Cuzzo's is kind of a Charlotte staple here. If you're visiting Charlotte, Cuzzo’s will pop up as one of the places to visit. They do a soul food menu, and they also have a Sunday buffet for people to go and enjoy. They have two locations now; it’s one of the more popular, well-known Black-owned restaurants in Charlotte.
"As you would imagine, What The Fries does all kinds of unique, culinary-driven loaded fries. They’re all really good. The popular ones are the lobster mac-and-cheese fries, and also the steak and shrimp hibachi fries are very popular. They also do burgers and wings, and a lot of people love their milkshakes as well. And they have bread pudding tots—so instead of just getting standard tater tots, they have this dessert that’s shaped like their tots but it’s actually bread pudding."
"This one is very unique. She is only open on Sundays, and she has very unique funnel cakes. The one that I love is the red velvet cheesecake funnel cake: a slice of red velvet, a slice of cheesecake, on top of a funnel cake, drizzled with strawberry sauce. She also has banana pudding, all kinds of funnel cakes, and fried Oreos. She’s only open on Sundays though!"