Charlotte-Douglas International Airport
I am a bit of a Southern boy at heart. Being born in Missouri, which is not the South but pretty darn close to it (hello Ozarks!) and living for the past 11 years in Florida, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to take some quick trips around the region to soak in some Southern Hospitality and Bless your Heart, I absolutely love it! Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) is one of the key airports in the South, trailing behind ATL and DFW in what seems like eternal third place. Even with the volume of flights and massive space covered, the airport is relatively easy to navigate. The 5 concourses all branch out from a central Atrium area that offers some great amenities that will help the time fly. Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat the airport while in Charlotte.
Wine lovers, clear your schedule. This place is an absolute MUST for any wine loving, pavement pounding road warrior. Similar in concept to Vino Volo, Beaudevin offers a more local flair. The superstar here is the wine flights that are available- Three 4-oz pours of different wines, each with a unique story and flavor profile that will allow you to not only taste but also learn about some great wines. They also feature local Carolina wines, and it’s always a good idea to try some local flavor. Aside from the wines, the food is delicious too! From 5 star quality Charcuterie Boards to luxurious cheese plates and beyond, you’ll be feeling super fancy in no time. A few favorites are the Farmer’s Salad with creamy goat cheese, choice of protein (I go for Salmon) & pepitas, as well as the Large Cheese Plate (4 different cheeses, marcona almonds- YUM!, dried apricots & cranberries, jam, baguette). Excellent flatbreads and salads are perfect pairings for a wine flight. Décor is cute and the crowd is lively- this is my top pick for a CLT dining experience.
1897 Market (A/B Concourse Connector)
The biggest winner for this restaurant is service. Every time I’ve eaten here, I’ve felt at home. The atmosphere is warm and cheery, the staff is welcoming and fun. The food is the icing on the cake. This is where you will get an authentic taste of Charlotte without even leaving the airport. My favorite here is the Dirty Mac n Cheese- shells & cheese tossed with pulled pork, the ultimate comfort food best enjoyed on a cold winter day. Now cold days in the South aren’t the norm, so if you’re looking for something on the lighter side, they also offer a full raw bar. I tend to stay away from Oysters when I’m traveling, but the selection here is fresh, so if you’re feeling adventurous- go for it! Me, i’ll stick to a shrimp cocktail and some of that delicious MAC. Top it all off with an incredible selection of local beers and you have a winner! They are open for breakfast too- Bacon, Eggs and a Biscuit will power you through a busy day on the road.
Carolina Pit BBQ (Atrium)
While there is NO better BBQ in the world than Kansas City BBQ…this is a good option for some down home grub. Here, you can get your hands on just about any barbequed meat you could ask for- Brisket, BBQ Chicken, Pulled Pork, Turkey are all on the menu. You pick your meat(s) and then dress it up with sides- Fried Okra, Mac & Cheese, Cole Slaw, BBQ Beans, Cornbread, Fried Pickles, French Fries, Collard Greens, Mashed Potatoes, Corn and Green Beans are all ready for your plate. Talk about a complete meal! Wash it all down with some sweet tea and soak in the Carolina goodness.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the best amenities CLT has to offer, a row of comfy rocking chairs that line the front of the Atrium that connects all of the concourses. Snag a seat and take a load off, you’ll be amazed how quickly these chairs will relax you and you’ll also have a front row seat to some fantastic people watching. It’s rare to find an empty seat, so you may have to hover for a minute, but it’s worth the wait!