Beer is booming in the Queen City; late-night craft pints deserve day-greeting breakfasts that transcend Southern standards like biscuits and gravy.
By Graham Averill
Charlotte’s business is banking, and Harvest Moon Grille, located street level in Uptown’s boutique Dunhill Hotel, puts you in finance central. Expect to dine with suit-and-tie regulars, but also expect the most sustainable breakfast in Charlotte: Not only does Harvest Moon follow a strict “100 mile” harvesting policy for all of its ingredients, chef/owner Cassie Parsons is a farmer herself. Look to the large blackboard on the wall to see where your veggies and meats come from, then order a dish that’s heavy on pork, which arrives directly from the chef’s own farm. Try the Pork “Spitzer” Benedict, two poached farm-fresh eggs with crispy pulled pork, topped with hollandaise.
This 24-hour bakery, a favorite with locals living in the hip NoDa neighborhood, feels like your bohemian French aunt’s living room—comfy couches, plaster busts of famous Europeans, and mountains of tarts and pastries stacked on platters. Amelie’s pastries regularly cause food writers to gush, and have even enjoyed a cameo in “The Hunger Games” (see piles of sweets in train car). But we like the savory side of the menu, which focuses on French café staples like the Croque Monsieur, a dressed-up ham sandwich that’s been dipped in egg and grilled. It has hangover cure written all over it.
First thing you’ll notice about the edgy 5Church in Uptown is the vaulted ceiling, which has passages from “The Art of War” painted all over it. The profound graffiti lends a certain weight to the plate of eggs in front of you. Luckily, the brunch is as ambitious as the décor, with innovative approaches to classics like shrimp and polenta (not grits), topped with a thin tomato and doused in bacon gravy, and a tender lamb burger that’s rapidly gaining a cult following among city burger-philes. Bonus: Brunch doesn’t start until 11 a.m. on weekends, so feel free to wash it down with a carafe of mimosas.
Late-night nosh: The Crepe Cellar’s NoDa location makes it easy to transition from a pub to a feast that leans heavily on European street food. The kitchen is open until people stop ordering food, which means a 2 a.m. Steak and Guinness Pie is going to happen.