Where to eat, things to do in the University town of Charlotte


Golden Owl Tavern's Devil's Eggs are topped with a hot Nashville chicken nugget ($ 9).

Golden Owl Tavern’s Devil’s Eggs are topped with a hot Nashville chicken nugget ($ 9).

University City was once best known for, well, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. But nowadays, that’s not all – a flurry of restaurants, hotels, lounges and other local hot spots have popped up over the years, making this neighborhood a place you should have on. your list to have a good time.

A great way to experience a neighborhood like University City is to give it a full day of exploring – from donuts to dinner, then onto drinks.

Here’s your guide to all of the best dining and neighborhood activities in University City:

Coffee on the go

University City has no shortage of caffeine in the area, and one of its most recent offerings is the mobile coffee truck known as the Detour Coffee bar.

Detour Café Bar

Location: Check their website or Instagram for their schedule.


Cuisine: Coffee and pastries

What to order: Apple Pie Chai (with oat milk)

What to Know: Detour Coffee Bar is a mobile cafe offering locally roasted coffee, espressos and other select drinks. It offers a mobile app for online orders and contactless payments for increased social distance.

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Detour Coffee owner Mike Hargett. Courtesy of Detour Coffee Bar

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day

It’s hard to find a good breakfast, but the University City area has a few options, including the famous Toastery. And, while it’s not technically on the University City map, if you don’t mind walking a few miles, you can Discover this restaurant located near Harrisburg:

Harrisburg Family Home

Location: 5429 NC-49, Harrisburg, North Carolina 28075


Cuisine: American / Greek (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

What to order: Greek omelette is a three-egg omelet filled with feta cheese, diced tomatoes and onions and is served with hash browns or oatmeal. Enjoy toast or a cookie with a side of butter and jelly.

What you should know: Breakfast specials are available daily. The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday.

To take a walk

Once you’ve refueled, take in the scenery at the Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve. Enjoy a morning hike or discover new trails with your pet.

Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve

Location: 2900 Rocky River Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28215

What you should know: Open Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Hike the trails at Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve. DIEDRA LAIRD [email protected]

Enjoy an afternoon snack

After a long morning stroll, refresh yourself with a boba tea from Binki Cafe.

Cafe Binki

Location: 9211 N. Tryon St., Suite # 5, Charlotte, NC 28262


Cuisine: Asian Fusion, Filipino, Japanese

What to order: Thai milk tea

What you should know: In addition to bubble teas and milk teas, Binki also offers fruit teas, smoothies, appetizers, rice bowls and stir-fried noodle dishes. Open Monday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Play a round of golf

Reserve a bay in one of Topgolf’s over 100 air-conditioned hitting bays. Additional features include a rooftop terrace, full-service restaurant and bar, and over 200 HDTVs.


Location: 9110 Drivers Way, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262


Cuisine: American

What to order: Signature nachos topped with pinto beans, pepper jack, cheddar, Monterey jack, chimichurri and jalapeño.

What to know: parties are half price every Tuesday. Visit the website to reserve a bay.

Taste Italian cuisine

Giacomo’s is a locally owned, family-owned Italian restaurant with a huge menu at affordable prices.

Pizzeria and Italian restaurant in Giacomo

Location: 10230 Berkeley Place Drive # 160, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262

Italian food


What to order: Grandma’s Pie, a square pizza with a thick, chewy crust, fresh buffalo mozzarella, garlic, basil, olive oil and sauce.

What you should know: Discounts are offered to UNCC students. Online ordering is available. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Have a beer at aperitif time

Armored Cow Brewing is a family owned brewery offering craft beer, cider, kombucha, and soft drinks.

Armored Cow Brewing Co.

Location: 8821 JW Clay Blvd., # 1, Charlotte, NC 28262


What to order: Shake that Ax, a full-bodied, crunchy and refreshing craft lager.

What you should know: Open Tuesdays, 2 pm to 9:30 pm; Friday-Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m .; and Sunday, from noon to 8 p.m. The brasserie is closed on Mondays. Check its website for a calendar of events.

Reward your palate with fine cuisine

Unlike downtown Charlotte, the University City district is not traditionally known for its high-end restaurants. Fortunately for the locals, things are changing. The Golden Owl Tavern is a restaurant offering Southern-inspired regional classics like shrimp and oatmeal, stuffed eggs, ribs, and Farm and Sparrow cast iron cornbread.

Golden Owl Tavern

Location: 9041 Robert D. Snyder Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262


Cuisine: South American

What to order: Scallops + Oatmeal, which includes crispy cheesecakes with wild mushrooms and a smoked tomato sauce.

What you should know: Open for breakfast Monday to Friday, 6.30 am to 10 am; and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Open for dinner Sunday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is open Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. Brunch is offered on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free valet parking is available to all Golden Owl Tavern Guests through the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

Courtesy of Golden Owl Tavern_Baby Back Ribs.jpg
The Golden Owl Tavern at Marriott Hotel UNC Charlotte serves upscale Southern specialties, including baby back ribs. Lauren Rubinstein / Courtesy of Golden Owl Tavern

The neighborhood comes to life after dark. Here are some activities perfect for date nights or just for a fun night out with friends.

Think about getting out of an escape room

After dinner, try your hand in an immersive and stimulating escape room with a group of friends. Team up to see how well your group works together to solve puzzles and uncover clues.

Exit Strategy – North End

Location: 9539 Pinnacle Drive, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28262

What you should know: The escape rooms last one hour. Choose and book your room on the company’s website.

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Team up with family or friends to plan your getaway to Exit Strategy North. Courtesy of Exit Strategy North

Have a nighttime snack

Ninety’s sandwiches and ice cream

Location: 9009 JM Keynes Drive # 4, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262


Cuisine: Desserts

What to try: Strawberry Shortbread Milkshake

Good to know: Open from Sunday to Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Stop by Ninety’s Sandwiches & Ice Cream for dessert. Courtesy of Ninety’s Sandwichs & Ice Cream

Enjoy the perfect nightcap

Wine cellar

Location: 9009 JM Keynes Drive # 1, Charlotte, NC 28262


What you need to know: Perfect for an evening of wine, beer and live music. Check the website for a calendar of events. Open Monday, 11 am to 4 pm; Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-10pm; Sunday, noon-10 p.m.

Have more time?

Try these other college town-based locations the next day in the neighborhood.

  • 1st and Goal; 7801 University City Blvd, Charlotte, North Carolina 28213; menu

  • King Fish Poke; 350 E McCullough Dr Ste C-110, Charlotte, NC 28262; menu

  • Passage to India; 9510 University City Blvd # 101, Charlotte, North Carolina 28213; menu

  • Picasso Sports Café; 230 E WT Harris Blvd, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262; menu

  • The University City Boardwalk / The Shoppes at University Place; 8929 JM Keynes Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262

  • UNCC Botanical Gardens; 9090 Craver Road, Charlotte, NC 28262

Courtesy of UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel _ Conference Center_Exterior.jpg
Marriott UNC Charlotte Lauren Rubinstein Hotel / Courtesy UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel

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Kadee Blakely is originally from Charlottean and has worked as a freelance writer for local publications since 2007. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading real detective novels and trying new recipes at home. Follow her on Instagram @kadeethescribe.


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