Thursday Sept. 9, 2010 | Charlotte Restaurant Critics

September 7, 2010 at 10:48 am | Posted in Coming Up | 10 Comments

Restaurant Critics
Businesses all over Charlotte have been affected by the recession and the restaurant industry is no exception. Our panel of restaurant critics and food writers includes Helen Schwab, Patricia Childress and Heidi Billotto. They are back to talk about the latest trends in the culinary world. Some of those trends include restaurant closings, but there are also new dining spots in town, favorites, changing menus and tips on hideaways that our restaurant writers will share with us. You are also invited to join us with your questions on the ever-changing restaurant scene in our region. We’ll also hear some music from Tom Billotto who plays music at area restaurants (he also happens to be Heidi’s husband.)
Helen Schwab
– Restaurant Writer, The Charlotte Observer
Heidi Billotto – Culinary Writer, Charlotte Living
Patricia Childress – Food Writer and Critic, Creative Loafing and Asst. Professor, Johnson and Wales University

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Some restaurants mentioned on the show:



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  1. Can you mention the “Dining in the Dark” event to be held that night, Thurs, Sept 9th, at Passion 8 Bistro? Raises money for a good cause–and a cool concept—all rolled into one…….you should attend and report on it!! Thanks!!

  2. I wish there were more vegetarian options. I always feel like I’m being a bother when I talk with the waitstaff about altering a dish to make it vegetarian or whether something is made with a meat-based stock or if the cheese has animal rennet in it.

    My non-vegetarian husband and friends have had wonderful things to say about the Charlotte restaurant scene.

  3. Hello Charlotte Talks. I have work in the a.m and will not be able to call in. I have a shout out speaking on restaurants affected by the recession.

    I would like to offer up praise to one of my favorite underdogs. Angela’s Italian restaurant is one who is able to sustain in these tough times of the restaurant business and do so even while having a few negatives working against them.

    They continue their sustainability in today’s economy despite their lonely no/low exposure location. They are in an area with absolutely no restaurant scene what so ever and never receive any of that buzz most restaurants of this quality deserve. A majority of those highly buzzed restaurants (of all price ranges) have come and gone even while having prime location, lots of exposure and support from some food writers/critics.

    I see Angela’s having none of those. They are a single, unfamiliar name, mom and pop shop, not involved with Groupon (ha ha), yet they continue to thrive. In my opinion they continually dish out some of the most consistent tasty Italian food (and pizza)in the Charlotte area.

    When the food is great along with the service and the price is right, you have a culinary trend that will never go out of style and is minimally affected by the economy when done right.
    Bottom line = restaurants like Angela’s will always be in fashion and worth seeking out.

  4. Wither the Charlotte Magazine representation, Charlotte Talks? Dining Editor and Dine & Dish blogger Sarah Crosland is missing from this panel of experts! If you’ve ever read her back page column in Charlotte Magazine, you know you’re missing out a funny, smart gal! Major oversight.

  5. Stone Table in momroe
    The guys name is Matthew and the store is “Nothingham”
    It is very good.

  6. Have any of your guests today been to the Green Tomato on Albemarle Road? I highly recommend it for good ol’ country/down home Southern cooking, especially with the vegetable selections. It is a buffet, which some food writers scoff at, but it is great Southern comfort food for a reasonable price.

  7. -Gianni’s Trattoria-

    I was in the restaurant business in Los Angeles for almost 20 years and gotta say, this place is fantastic and a very, very welcome addition to the rather sleepy Concord downtown.

    This restaurant is the real deal and while it is a steal for lunch (I ate there yesterday) it is well worth it for dinner. My parents willingly drove up from Rock Hill to celebrate my birthday a few weeks ago and it was one of the best meals I have had in Charlotte since I moved here.

    Gianni’s Trattoria
    16 Union Street South
    Concord, NC 28025-5010
    (704) 788-0595


  8. Since moving here 1 yr ago we find that the restaurants that tout to be the best/high end, are very dissapointing (Aria, Sonoma, Blue.) They are very expensive but avg food and service at best. We’ve not experienced any truly creative chefs developing unique dishes, creative ingredients, truly locally sourced food.) When will Johnston & Whales have an impact on the local culinary scene? Who will be the lead chefs as in other cities the size of Charlotte? What can give us hope for the future?

  9. I heard you on WFAE this morning and I just wanted to let you know about my company: A Taste for Life. We are located in a kiosk in the Carolina Place Mall. We have been open for almost 1 year and our business keeps growing. We specialize in Spain and carry olive oils, wine vinegars, wine, chocolate, and hopefully soon, cheese. We carry other products as well. We are on Facebook: A Taste for Life LLC

  10. I love the comfort and romance of dining near the water. The White Owl Tavern has location, service and delicious meals all wrapped into one spot.

    The Thai House in Gastonia – again excellent service and the food is lovely.

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