Master sommelier Laura Maniec has fallen in love with Charlotte, North Carolina, where the new outpost of her incredible New York City wine bar, Corkbuzz, will open in June. Amid the madness of getting the new restaurant up and running (including setting up classes and events and creating a retail space), she shared her favorite spots to eat and drink in her new favorite city.
For a cozy dinner: One of my favorites is Good Food on Montford. It’s quaint and has a nice ambiance, but the food is the reason I go back time and time again. I love the steamed bun with pork belly and the garganelli pasta with house-made sausage. And I can’t forget about the mussels and fried oysters. They also have a great wine-by-the-glass list—a perfect mix of wines that are unique and interesting and some that are recognizable and well-known. goodfoodonmontford.com
For killer brunch: Heritage is amazing, especially for Sunday brunch. I’ve had an awesome duck potpie there, and I also really love their Hangover Helper: brioche with fried green tomato, bacon, pimento cheese, pulled pork, egg and onion rings. The fried chicken with scrambled eggs, grits and biscuits is phenomenal, too. When I go there for brunch, I like to drink Champagne—it’s really reasonable priced. heritagefoodanddrink.com
For crave-worthy ramen: If I’m craving traditional Japanese food, I always head to Musashi. I love to round up a group of my friends and order a bunch of appetizers like agedashi tofu and the Japanese-style potato croquettes. They’ve also got an amazing tonkotsu ramen that I’m obsessed with. musashi-nc.com
For picnic prep and cocktail essentials: Earl’s Grocery is a really great informal eatery and gourmet grocery store. They have delicious prepared foods, all sorts of condiments and great bitters and syrups for making your own cocktails. I love to pick up cheese and wine there for at-home cooking and entertaining. earlsgrocery.com
For stocking up on wine: Every time I’m in Charlotte I stop at the Wine Shop at Foxcroft because they have some of the best premium wine selections. What’s neat about this place is that you can either take the wine to go or you can drink it on premise. They’ve got some of the best German and Austrian wines. And I really love their lamb sliders. thewineshopatfoxcroft.com
For a craft cocktail: I like to sit at the bar and have a cocktail at Kindred. It’s got a great, welcoming atmosphere, and I think it’s so neat that the building was originally a pharmacy. When you’re drinking you’re bound to get hungry, and when that happens you must order the Chicago-style hot dog. kindreddavidson.com