Uncommon Foods: Different Dining around Charlotte

Eating out in Charlotte can be delicious, fancy, decadent…and boring?  If you eat out a lot, and most of us do, you will see fairly soon that restaurants are very similar.  You can always count on calamari being in the appetizer section.  You know there will be a beef entree.  Creme’ brulee is definitely a featured dessert.  This can feel comforting…or boring.  If tonight you feel it is the latter, check out these “different” eating joints in and around Charlotte.


8300 IKEA Blvd.

Charlotte, NC 28262

Phone: 888-888-4532

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Yes, the store.  They have the most awesome cafeteria style restaurant and the food is good, really really good.  What impressed me most was their commitment to sustainability.  Everything you eat on or with here is reusable.  No disposable trays, plates, cups or cutlery.  Second, is the efficiency with which this is all administered.  On any given Saturday, it may appear to be crowded, but you’ll get through the line quickly, and will be most pleased with the bill at check out.  We love their Swedish meatballs and their fish dishes.  Bonus:  You get to shop after dinner (or before).  Date night, all in one place!  Click to read  my review on IKEA.


The Murder Mystery Company


grimprovheader Dinner and a show…all in one place.  Currently this theatrical culinary experience is held at Heirloom restaurant, on Bellhaven Blvd.  The current theme is called Best Laid Plans and it is billed as an old Hollywood murder mystery.  You get 3 courses, and an interactive show while you eat.  Your courses are salad, entree and dessert.  They do have vegetarian and gluten free options. Such fun!


Catawba Queen

Tel: (704) 663-2628 1459 River Highway Mooresville, NC 28117

Catawba Queen  Photo courtesy of Queenslanding.com

Catawba Queen Photo courtesy of Queenslanding.com

OK, so this isn’t in Charlotte. But, it is on the lake and you get to eat a delicious meal while you gently troll along the banks of the beautiful Lake Norman on a paddle boat.  Surely that’s worth a little drive?  They have a couple of boats, one goes out at lunch and you can opt for a picnic lunch (or just sight see) and then there’s the dinner buffet and slicing station cruise.  Tickets are $60 each, but it is truly an experience.  Here’s the menu for the chef served buffet and slicing station: Menu


The Melting Pot

901 S Kings Dr Ste 140B Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone:(704) 334-4400
Photo Credit: Melting Pot

Photo Credit: Melting Pot

Fondue!  While the Melting Pot isn’t always a budget friendly option, it is loads of fun to dip bread, veggies and meat into piping hot, gooey cheese.  And then, you get to cook your own meat in a delicious and aromatic broth.  But, they have saved the best for last.  Dessert!  You get all of these fabulous dippers: brownies, Rice Crispie treats, pound cake, bananas, strawberries, cheese cake and marshmallows rolled in yumminess.  On top of that, you have a bowl of smooth silky chocolate to dip these wonderful things in.  It’s magic.


The Cowfish

4310 Sharon Road Charlotte, NC 28211  Tel: 704-365-1922

Cowfish's Apple Wonton

Cowfish’s Apple Wonton

Are you looking for an eclectic cuisine that fuses two well loved foods into one delicious dish? No? Nor was I. I just wanted to try food at a place called Cowfish. So glad we did!  The eclectic menu is so diverse it is sure to please anyone in your group.  And don’t skip dessert…you’ll be full, but you won’t want to miss the Apple Wontons.  Amazing.  To read my full review of this restaurant, go HERE.


Chima Brazilian Steakhouse

139 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202


Seems like every (larger) city has a Brazilian steakhouse.  Chima is located uptown and is usually pretty packed whenever I visit.  Carnivores unite!  The shtick here is meat…lots and lots of meat.  You have a coin on your table, flip it up and they come by with meat on a stick.  Many many different kinds of meat.  Eat as much as you want!  Now, they have a beautiful salad bar to visit before the meat parade begins, but you know what that’s about…don’t fall for it!  This night is about the MEAT!  To read my full review on Chima, click here.


Willow Creek Inn

3083 Wyant Rd. Vale NC 28168




I’ve saved the best for last.  If you want a truly unique dining experience, you HAVE GOT to call Mansour Zand, head chef and owner of Willow Creek Inn to book a reservation.  He does do set events with a theme (Persian New Year, Frank Sinatra Night & Starry Starry Night to name just a few) but you owe it to yourself to get Mansour to make you a gourmet dinner for just the two of you or an entire party of folks.  It is a personalized, highly specialized experience that you can’t duplicate.  And well worth the money.  Here’s my full review of The Willow Creek Inn: WCI in Vale, NC


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Suzanne Zick

Suzanne Zick

Wife and mom who loves cooking, horror movies, reading and trying new restaurants.